The imprisonment by Zionist security forces of a 14-year old boy with joint US-Palestinian citizenship has provoked widespread criticism amongst human rights groups. The boy went before a military court on Thursday accused of throwing stones at Zionist cars.
Mohammad Khalek, who was born in New Orleans, was officially charged Thursday, along with two other youths, of pelting Zionist military and settler vehicles with stones outside the village of Silwad in the occupied West Bank.
The boy was arrested in the early hours of April 5th when heavily armed Zionist forces entered the family home. During the course of the arrest the braces on his teeth were broken.
The case was adjourned until next week, and his father, Abdulwahab Khalek, has accused the US of not doing enough to help his son.
Randa Wahbe, an advocacy officer representing Mohammad, told media outlets that the boy has been potentially abused while in detention.
“In the case of Mohammad, he was told by interrogators that if he confessed he would be allowed to go home with his father, but when he confessed, his interrogation was extended for a further two days,” she said.
Mahammad has not been allowed to see his father since then, except in court.
Defense of Children International, a human rights group, said there are 236 Palestinian children aged 12-17 among a total of 4,800 Palestinians in Zionist jails.
A UN study in March this year showed that the entity of occupation systematically and gravely violated the rights of Palestinians.
“The Israeli military’s treatment of Mahammad Khalek is appalling and all too common. There’s no justification for shackling him for 12 hours and interrogating him while refusing to let him see his father or a lawyer,” Bill Van Esveld, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, told Reuters news agency.
The Zionist authorities insist they need to crack down on potentially lethal stone throwing.
“These kind of events show you that throwing stones is not a game – it endangers innocent lives. The throwers age doesn’t change the fact that these objects kill, and it’s something we take seriously,” said a Zionist army spokesman.
Palestinians living on the West Bank are subject to a strict military law, which in theory means someone can be sentenced for up to 20 years for throwing stones at vehicles.
However, Palestinians also complain that they are regularly pelted with stones by Zionist settlers but that security forces rarely intervene even when there are witnesses.