(source: Palestine Info.co.uk)
Physicians for human rights (PHR)-Israel, Adalah center and Al-Mizan center for human rights issued a joint position paper against the extraction of false confessions under torture and extortion from Palestinian children and adolescents. This position paper addresses the extreme vulnerability of Palestinian children to specific conditions and practices of detention, and the illegitimate and cruel interrogation methods to which they are subjected by Israeli soldiers and interrogators, which result in extortion and false confessions. It also analyzes the legal framework as it applies to Palestinian children and adolescents, who are detained by the Israeli occupation forces.
The paper is based mainly on a psychiatric expert opinion written by Dr. Graciela Carmon, a psychiatrist and member of PHR-Israel’s board of directors, which was submitted to the military courts during legal proceedings in the case of a 14-year old Palestinian boy from the village of Nabi Saleh.
According to this paper, some 700 Palestinian children are detained by Israel each year, on average one or two per day. Palestinian children as young as the age of 12 are arrested, interrogated and put on trial in Israel’s military courts. Based on testimonies provided by 40 children who were detained and sent to military courts in 2010, physical and verbal violence was used against them during detention in 70% of the cases.
Most violent incidents occurred during their presence in military jeeps or during their wait at a military base or a police station, where the children are made to wait for hours often blindfolded, with their hands painfully tied behind their backs with plastic cable ties, and deprived of food, drink, access to a toilet and sleep.
Interrogations of Palestinian children and adolescents by the Israeli occupation forces are, in most cases, conducted without the presence of their parents or a lawyer, and carried out by several regular police interrogators, not by special interrogators for children and adolescents. The interrogators also use physical and verbal violence in aconsiderable number of cases, as well as deception and threats of harm against them and their family members.
The paper also noted that there is an almost absolute acceptance shared by almost all judges in Israel’s courts of the abusive conduct of the security and military forces towards Palestinian children and adolescents. This situation constitutes a flagrant violation of Israel’s obligations under international human rights law, including the UN convention on the rights of the child (CRC) of 1989, to which Israel is a state party, the paper underlined.
According to the CRC, the arrest of a child should be the last resort, and the best interest of the child should be the main consideration, the paper read.