Abuse of Palestinian minors during arrest and detention continues unhindered: police officers and wardens act with brutality toward minors from East Jerusalem; rather than address these incidents and prosecute the guilty parties, the cases are closed one by one without investigation
The rights of minors, residents of East Jerusalem, are blatantly violated by the Israeli security forces as a matter of routine, in disregard of the fact that the minors are protected under the Israeli Youth (Adjudication, Punishment and Modes of Treatment) Law
of 1971, which stipulates that “the realization of the minor’s rights, exercise of powers and the proceedings against the minor shall be carried out while safeguarding the minor’s dignity”.
Affidavits HaMoked has collected from dozens of East Jerusalem minors, who were arrested by the Israeli security forces between October 2015 and November 2016, reveal a harsh reality: minors are arrested late at nights, transported handcuffed to the police station, while being subjected to physical and verbal abuse en route. While waiting for interrogation at the police station, the minors are kept handcuffed, without food or drink, often without access to the lavatory; the interrogation itself is carried out using illicit methods. All this without consideration to the minors’ age and in breach of due process, including the obligation to notify parents of their child’s whereabouts or allow the right to counsel.
Following the severe occurrences described in the affidavits, on December 28, 2016 HaMoked submitted on behalf of four minors complaints
against police officers and wardens for suspected wrong doing against a juvenile in detention. HaMoked demanded that the Ministry of Justice Police Investigations Department (PID) and the National Prison Wardens Investigation Unit (NPWIU) look into the severe violations described in the affidavits, including harsh acts of violence, denial of medical treatment and abusive and degrading treatment. In one particularly disturbing case, the minor – 14.5 year old at the time of arrest – was forced to completely undress and jump up and down to the amusement of police officers of both sexes who were present there.
At the same time, HaMoked contacted the Attorney General
on this issue, asking about his position on the severe and systematic violation of East Jerusalem juveniles.
Despite the succession of brutal and abusive acts related by the minors in their affidavits, the PID announced that all the cases had been closed – this without carrying out actual investigation steps. In one case the PID responded that “it has been found that no infrastructure has been laid as to a reasonable ground for suspicion of the commission of a criminal offence”, and on the same case, the NPWIU responded on March 26, 2017, that “the core of your application concerns the activities of undercover [police] personnel. Insofar as the allegations concern prison wardens, there is no medical record and/or reported incident known within the IPS”. In the case of the 14.5 year old boy, the PID answered laconically that the case was closed “because it concerns prison wardens”, and investigating suspicions against wardens was outside its jurisdiction. The NPWIU has not yet responded to this complaint.
The law enforcement’s shaking off of responsibility and their lack of efforts to investigate the events and mete out justice to the offending law officers, serve as a green light to police officers and wardens, signaling that the abuse of Palestinian teenagers can continue undisturbed, as they have the support of their supervisors.