Two prominent international rights groups affirmed that at least 300 Palestinian teens are now routinely subjected to physical and psychological abuse in the jails of the Israeli Occupation Forces.
“The human rights groups said that most child detainees, once arrested, are interrogated by three separate branches of the Israeli government..”
The Geneva-based Defense for Children International and Save the Children, headquartered in Sweden, said that as of May 2004, 373 Palestinians under 18 were being held in IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces)detention centers and prisons.
The treatment of Palestinian child detainees by Israeli occupation authorities amounts to a pattern of violence that has gone unchecked for years, the groups said, according to AP.
The children are physically and mentally abused, and they are deprived of their family and an education, said Tov Myhrman, a program adviser based in Jerusalem for Save the Children-Sweden.
On Monday, both groups released reports that document hundreds of cases of Palestinian children, all under 18, who have been detained and imprisoned in Israeli jails. In the reports, many of them describe abuse.
Odeh Abu Zaanonah, 15, said that he was detained in the southern West Bank city of Hebron in the spring of 2003 for throwing stones at IOF soldiers. He said he was punched, kicked, interrogated, shackled, blindfolded and placed in solitary confinement for the first three days. He was not allowed to call his parents or a lawyer.
One of the soldiers threw me as hard as he could against an iron door and then banged my head several times against the hard iron, Zaanonah said in his testimony. The other soldier … was jamming the barrel of his machine gun into my back again and again.
Zaanonah said he was detained for 70 days. According to Defense for Children International, the vast majority of Palestinian child detainees in Israeli jails are detained for throwing stones, not serious crimes.
The human rights groups said that most child detainees, once arrested, are interrogated by three separate branches of the Israeli government, denied access to their families and legal representation during interrogation, and are held in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.
In 2003, more than 650 children were detained by the IOF.
More than 2,500 Palestinian children have been arrested and detained since the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada (uprising) against the 37-year-old Israeli occupation in September 2000, the groups said.
The Palestinian Health Information Center (PHIC) revealed in its monthly report for April that 61 Palestinians were killed by the IOF, including 22 children under 18.
Palestine Media Center PMC)