Friday, June 29, 2012

Not the way to treat children

Wissam Tamimi is 16 and was arrested for stone throwing. He says he was forced to confess in exchange for a shorter sentence of five months in jail.

He told Channel 4 News: "While I was in the jeep, they would beat me. I was held from six in the morning till one at night. At the end they took me to prison.

"When they took me from the car they tied my hands and covered my eyes, and they took me into a checkpoint.

"They grabbed my hands and tied them behind me... And covered my eyes. The cuffs were very tight."

He is talking about the Israeli Defence Force.

Though Israel says violence and threats towards children are forbidden, many child suspects say they have been blindfolded, physically and verbally abused, and forced to sign statements in Hebrew which they cannot understand.

When arrested, Palestinian children are not informed of their right to silence or a lawyer and are routinely held in solitary confinement.

This information comes from a report by a UK delegation of 9 lawyers from the fields of human rights, crime and child welfare, who travelled to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories last September, to assess the treatment of Palestinian children under Israeli military law. The trip was funded by the UK Foreign Office.

They concluded that Israel's treatment of child prisoners breaches both the Geneva conventions and the UN convention on the rights of a child.

The lawyers’ report shows how Israeli settlers and Palestinians are subject to different laws, so a Palestinian child can be held for up to 90 days without access to a lawyer and for 188 days without charge, whereas an Israeli child could only be held for 2 and 40 days respectively.

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