According to affidavits collected by DCI-Palestine, children from Areas A and B who end up in PA custody are reporting threats, beatings and neglect by forces during arrest and detention. Original article by Jessica Perkiss, a freelance contributor to Defence of Children International – Palestine.
The Palestinian police force states that PA security forces arrested 2,455 children last year, the majority of whom were boys, according to a report by the Alternative Information Center (AIC), in Beit Sahour:
A youth named Ahmad recalls being arrested during a 3 am raid by Palestinian security forces at El Far’a refugee camp in September 2013. 15 years old at the time, Ahmad was accused of throwing stones, burning tires and insulting members of the Palestinian security service. He was dragged from his house blindfolded, his hands bound by a plastic cord.
As he was being placed into a jeep, one of the arresting officers placed a lighter under his wrists to remove the cord, AIC reports: “I was screaming in pain. But he just kept doing it,” said Ahmad, recounting his ordeal to Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-Palestine), a children’s rights organization based in the West Bank.
The youth was then taken to the Palestinian Authority (PA) military intelligence headquarters in Tubas, northeast of the West Bank, described by one resident of El Far’a camp as “a nightmare for the civilians who go there.”
The following day, Ahmad was taken to a police station where he was interrogated by three officers — one woman asking questions, and two other officers sitting next to him who kicked and hit him repeatedly.
Ahmad: “Whenever I said I didn’t do the things they were accusing me of, one of them would hit me. I didn’t know which one it would it be, and sometimes they asked questions one after the other.”
Ahmad was threatened with further beatings, should he choose not to confess to the charges.
The sort of violations recounted by Ahmad are normally associated with arrest by the Israeli military, AIC further reports, which enforces military law throughout the occupied West Bank. In this case, however, it was the PA that was responsible for his ill-treatment.
The legal systems covering the three areas of the West Bank vary, according to AIC’s report:
In Area A, home to most West Bank cities, the PA has jurisdiction. Legal control over Area B is shared jointly by the PA and the Israeli military, and Area C, comprising 60 percent of the West Bank, falls under Israeli control.
Children from Areas A and B who end up in PA custody report threats, beatings and neglect by forces during arrest and detention, according to affidavits collected by DCI-Palestine.
Figures from the Palestinian police force show that PA security forces arrested 2,455 children in 2013, the majority of whom were boys. Ahmad’s story is just one of many.
Palestinian Deputy Attorney General, Ahmad Barak, says that the current law, which has no explicit component on juvenile justice, is outdated; those areas of the West Bank administered by the PA rely on a Jordanian legal system dating from 1954 in providing a legal framework for dealing with child detainees.
“It is from the 1950s, before the international system safeguarding children’s rights was really in place,” he says. “The current system deals with a child as the perpetrator, not as a victim. It also focuses on punishment and not on rehabilitation. There is a philosophy behind this that doesn’t respect the human rights of the child.”
This article originally appeared, in its entirety, on the website of DCI-Palestine: