Israeli soldiers with arrested Palestinian youths. Photograph: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters
The Guardian published a scathing article over the weekend by Harriet Sherwood on human rights abuses suffered by Palestinian children in Al Jalame prison in northern Israel.
The report is a culmination of interviews conducted by the Guardian including descriptions of sworn testimonies of minors collected by Defence for Children International (DCI), a human rights organization that has collected hundreds of testimonies from Palestinian children since 2008. The Guardian also viewed rare audiovisual recordings of the interrogations of two boys from the village of Nabi Saleh. Their report is corroborated by B’Tselem’s study No Minor Matter, published last July. It’s a must read.
During interrogation, he was shackled. “They cursed me and threatened to arrest my family if I didn’t confess,” he said. He first saw a lawyer 20 days after his arrest, he said, and was charged after 25 days. “They accused me of many things,” he said, adding that none of them were true.Eventually Shabrawi confessed to membership of a banned organisation and was sentenced to 45 days. Since his release, he said, he was “now afraid of the army, afraid of being arrested.” She said he had become withdrawn.
Ezz ad-Deen Ali Qadi from Ramallah, who was 17 when he was arrested last January, described similar treatment during arrest and detention. He says he was held in solitary confinement at Al Jalame for 17 days in cells 36, 37 and 38.
“I would start repeating the interrogators’ questions to myself, asking myself is it true what they are accusing me of,” he told the Guardian. “You feel the pressure of the cell. Then you think about your family, and you feel you are going to lose your future. You are under huge stress.”
His treatment during questioning depended on the mood of his interrogators, he said. “If he is in a good mood, sometimes he allows you to sit on a chair without handcuffs. Or he may force you to sit on a small chair with an iron hoop behind it. Then he attaches your hands to the ring, and your legs to the chair legs. Sometimes you stay like that for four hours. It is painful.