Special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights Richard Falk condemned Israel’s use of solitary confinement against Palestinian children, and demanded the Israeli government to treat such detainees in accordance with international human rights laws.
“Using solitary confinement as a punishment for Palestinian children who wish to peacefully protest their situation, including by commencing a hunger strike against conditions of detention, is an appalling abuse of child prisoners,” Falk said.
The special rapporteur added that Palestinian parents are not allowed to accompany their detained children, and that family members are insulted, intimidated and at times physically assaulted.
“This pattern of abuse by Israel is grave,” he stated. “It is inhumane, cruel, degrading, and unlawful, and, most worryingly, it is likely to adversely affect the mental and physical health of underage detainees.”
There are still about 200 Palestinian minors between age 12 and 18 in different Israeli jails.
In a related incident, defense for children international (DCI) said it intends to file a complaint against the Israeli intelligence on behalf of a Palestinian 16-year-old boy who was exposed recently to maltreatment and isolation by Israeli interrogators.
On June 6, 2012, Mohamed, a minor from Shuweika village in Tulkarem city, was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 4:00 am, and held in solitary confinement for 12 days in Jalame interrogation center, according to DCI.
Sixteen-year-old Mohamed was woken up at 4:00 am by the sound of Israeli soldiers surrounding the family home, the international movement reported on its website.
The family was forced out of the house and ordered to present their ID cards. Once Mohamed was identified, his hands were tied behind his back with a single plastic tie and he was blindfolded. Mohamed was not informed why he was being arrested or where he was being taken.
“A soldier pushed me hard inside one of the jeeps and forced me to sit on the metal floor,” Mohamed recalled.
Mohamed was taken to a military base where he asked to use the toilet, but the soldiers refused to allow him to go. He was then transferred to Jalame interrogation centre, near Haifa, in Israel, in violation of article 76 of the fourth Geneva convention which prohibits such transfers.
On arrival at Jalame, Mohamed reports being strip searched before being taken to a windowless cell where the light was kept on 24 hours. “I spent 12 days in solitary confinement in cell no. 36,” Mohamed said. “I never saw anyone except the interrogator. I never knew whether it was night or day. I did not know what time it was. I did not even see the prison guard who brought me food; he slipped it through a flap in the door.”
Mohamed was interrogated six times while being at Jalame. “The interrogator would force me to sit in a small metal chair and he tied my hands and feet to the chair. It was really painful to sit in this position,” he remembered.
Mohamed was questioned without the benefit of legal advice and without one of his parents being present.
According to his testimony, the Israeli interrogator kept shouting and pounding the table, while accusing him of throwing stones and molotov cocktails.
During another questioning session, the interrogator brought one of Mohamed’s friends into the room and claimed he had confessed.
“I then decided to confess so I could get myself out of the cell,” Mohamed said. “I confessed to throwing one Molotov cocktail at a military jeep but it missed. I also confessed to throwing stones three times.” After confessing, Mohamed was taken to a policeman who took his statement in Arabic.
After 12 days in Al Jalame, Mohamed was transferred to Megiddo prison. He was strip searched on arrival, the DCI noted.