Newsletter - August 2017
Detention figures delayed
The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) continues to experience difficulties in providing accurate and timely information regarding the number of Palestinian children in its detention facilities in accordance with an outstanding Freedom of Information application (FOI application). Although the IPS has not provided updated statistics since May 2017, it did provide some information to Ha'aretz Newspaper in August 2017, informing the paper that there were approximately 195 Palestinian children in detention. However, when Ha'aretz requested further details it was told to file an FOI application - the same procedure that the IPS has been unable to respond to in a timely manner since August 2016. In accordance with the FOI application, the IPS reports that as of 31 May 2017 there were 331 Palestinian children (12-17 years) held as "security prisoners" in its facilities, of which 74 percent were detained inside Israel in violation of Art. 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
More statistics >>
Written notification of arrest: update
Based on evidence collected in 2017, in 79 percent of cases where Palestinian children were arrested from home by the Israeli military in the West Bank it was reported that no written notification of the reasons for arrest or place of detention was provided. This is despite the military informing [pdf] UNICEF in April 2013 that a standard form written in Arabic and Hebrew must be given to parents of children arrested at home in every case (Arabic/English). In some cases where the standard form was provided, information relevant to that particular individual was handwritten in Hebrew. It should be noted that these forms still do not include any information about the child's legal rights while in custody, including the right to silence and the right to consult with a lawyer prior to interrogation.
Comparative Graph: evidence update
Based on 40 testimonies collected from children detained by the Israeli military in the West Bank in 2017, the situation remains largely unchanged compared with 2016. More than half of the children (55%) report being arrested at night while the use of summonses in lieu of night arrests was recorded in 3% of cases. The overwhelming majority of children continue to report being hand-tied (88%) and blindfolded (70%) while 60% of children also report experiencing some form of physical abuse during arrest, transfer and/or interrogation. On arrival at an interrogation centre, 21% of children report being informed of their right to silence, 15% report having access to a lawyer prior to interrogation in accordance with Israeli military law and 5% report being accompanied by a parent throughout their interrogation in accordance with the commanding officer's discretion.
Comparative Graph - Issues of Concern >>
The UNICEF Report: Four-and-a-half years on
In February 2013, UNICEF published the report - Children in Israeli Military Detention (UNICEF Report) [pdf] - which concluded that "the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process." UNICEF also made 38 recommendations. In response to the UNICEF Report, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it would "study the conclusions and work to implement them through on-going co-operation with UNICEF." While there have been a number of developments across a range of recommendations, only 1 recommendation appears to have been substantially implemented at this stage (Recommendation 21 - access by lawyers to medical records). This represents an implementation rate of 2.6 percent.
A child's testimony
On 3 July 2017, a 15-year-old youth from Kafr Qaddum, in the West Bank, was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 4:00 a.m. and accused of throwing stones. He reports the family was not given any written notification about his arrest and he was not informed of his legal rights prior to interrogation. "My brother woke me up at 4:00 a.m. and told me Israeli soldiers were surrounding our house. I quickly got up and put my clothes on because I had a feeling they had come for me. Soon the soldiers started banging on the door and my father answered. As soon as the soldiers entered the house they asked for me and I identified myself. The commander then told me I was under arrest. The soldiers did not give us any written documents and did not tell my father the reason for my arrest or where they were taking me. They only told him they were taking me for questioning and would return me home shortly."
Read more >>
A soldier's video testimony: "He was almost completely bound"
In this video a former Israeli soldier provides a testimony to Breaking the Silence about serving at Qalandia checkpoint located between Jerusalem and Ramallah. He describes how an adult male was placed in a tiny cell at the checkpoint with barely enough room to sit down. The detainee had arrived at the checkpoint with his children and was concerned about their whereabouts. "Another thing that was appalling is that there were very small cells for detaining people who cause problems near the checkpoint, metal cells almost completely sealed with very small windows. You can't lie down in them, they're intended for standing. You might be able to sit on the floor, maybe ... I witnessed someone being put in there. There was chaos at the checkpoint, I was on patrol ... there was stone throwing ... and someone was taken and put into that cell. He started yelling in there, making noise, going wild, knocking, so he was handcuffed with cable wires."
Watch video >>
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