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Human Rights Centre indicates Palestinian children face sexual abuse and other torture in prisons

Special to The Canadian

pisschild1.jpg

June 28, 2008

The Palestinian Prisoners' Support and Human Rights Centre ADDAMEER, declared that the Israeli forces have arrested almost 6200 Palestinians since the last Intifada started in September of 2000. 350 of those languishing in prison are children who, against international conventions, are still imprisoned in Israeli jails and detention centers.

Those youngsters undergo severe punishment and mental stress, living an extremely horrifying health and mental situation. Being subjected to torture, interrogation, beatings, humiliation, insults, degradation, and regular terrorizing, "such conditions will affect their mental well being forever, and will accompany them through their adult life," the report said.

The report published by the Palestinian centre on Friday 9 May 2008 revealed that hundreds of children were arrested while they were quite young, and detained in prisons. Some of them are now over 18 and still are imprisoned.

The Israeli occupation is enforcing military rule in those prisons, thus they consider a Palestinian child of 16 as an adult. They are willingly depriving them of their rights as children according to International agreements. According to international law, minors should be protected whilst detained.

350 prisoners are females, 20 are young Palestinian girls. Some children were born inside the Israeli prisons, and they are experiencing health problems. Mothers experience extremely difficult mental depression being subjected to humiliation, having to give birth while being chained by the wrists and feet. Such inhumane treatment is a clear breach of human rights.

Newborn babies are still in Israeli prisons, an example is 3-month-old Yosif Alziq, the child of the prisoner Fatima Alziq from the Shujayyeah neighbourhood in Gaza. Another example is Noor Ghanem, the child borne to the prisoner Manal Ghanem from Tolkarem camp; she was imprisoned while she was pregnant, and gave birth inside the prison in an extremely difficult situation.

The prisoner Khawla Zitawi also gave birth to her little girl Ghada inside the Israeli prison, and they are still imprisoned.

The freed prisoner Samar Subaih has delivered her son Bara'a inside the prison while her hands and feet were chained. Mervat Taha is another Palestinian mother who gave birth to her son Wael inside the prison.

The children are kept in an overcrowded place that is unsuitable for human living. Their needs are not provided for. The rights of imprisoned children are breached by Israeli forces according to all laws and international agreements for that matter, especially breast fed babies and toddlers.

Children prisoners are subjected to torture and investigations

The young Palestinian children are subjected to torture and investigations inside Israeli jails like Ofer, Megiddo, Etzion, the Negev, Jalama, Petah Tikva, and Ashkelon.

The children inside the prisons are not safe, as this torture is both physical and psychological. Their living circumstances are difficult and they cannot grow in serenity, as the frustration they experience is constant. The cells where they are kept are less than 1 metre by 1.5 meters in dimensions. Chained by their hands and feet and blindfolded, they are not provided with mattresses or covers. Living in the darkness, they are deprived of sunlight. The children suffer the humidity and lack of ventilation, except for a small hole used to provide them through it with small quantities of food.

Torturing children

The interrogation of children begins after 3 days of detention. Upon the third day, the child is deprived of all human necessities, besides being subjected to lengthy, successive, repeated sessions of interrogations. At such times the child is deprived of his right to sleep and is prohibited from using the toilet for long periods.

The study reveals that the children complained that they were subjected to pressures and negotiations to offer them relief in return of their cooperation and becoming their spies. Some children confessed they have already given in and just done that. They were told if they would not cooperate and become their spy, they would remain in prison forever.

Palestinian children documented in Israeli prisons in numbers

-- 105 are younger than 15
-- 322 are from the West Bank
-- 22 are from Jerusalem
-- 6 are from Gaza
-- 156 have been convicted
-- 187 are waiting for a trial
-- 7 are under 'administrative detention' - contradicting all laws and international agreements. -- 80 are very sick and are in need of medical treatment

Beatings, intimidation and organized terrorism against Palestinian children

The imprisoned Palestinian children have suffered greatly from beatings during arrests and investigations. Most children have been arrested from their homes in the middle of the night. The armed forces of the Israeli occupation use terrorist methods such as police dogs and other terrorizing methods are used to raise the children's fear and cause their parents to panic, not to mention the huge number of insults received by the child during the arrest.

The children are blindfolded during the arrests, their hands and feet are tied. And according to testimonies of detained children themselves, they were also kicked, slapped on their faces, beaten repeatedly by soldiers, and sometimes hit by the soldiers' rifles while being pushed inside the military cars.

Terrorizing the children during investigation is a breach of their human rights. The parents reported that their children were handcuffed, crouching down in the cold for many hours waiting to be interrogated, thus weakening their morale. Sometimes they are kept in solitary confinement to put the child under mental pressure.

Children were beaten up at different stages of interrogation, slapped on their faces by the interrogator, deprived of food and drink for periods of 12 hours. The guards were swearing at them, cursing them, and preventing them from using the toilet, or from changing their clothes for days.

Some children were terrorized by being threatened to be sexually attacked and some were touched in an inappropriate way. Such acts are a direct insult and clear harm to their innocence. Some physicians said that some of those children will never recover from what they have been subjected to. Especially some of them witnessed the beatings of their family members, and others witnessed the humiliation of their parents in their own homes by the soldiers.




Posted May 17, 2008


:: Article nr. 45275 sent on 29-jun-2008 11:39 ECT

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