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Author Topic: Israel's Detention of Palestinian Minors Criticized
Babbler # 2878

posted 18 August 2003 03:43 PM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Rights activists decry a dual system that accords Jewish offenders more favorable treatment

DEIR ABU MISHAL, West Bank -- Sleep can be fleeting in this dusty Palestinian hamlet. The families here know that they might be jolted awake in the dead of night by a pounding at the door, the prelude to a search or the arrest of someone in the household by Israeli soldiers.

But Hakmeh Barghouti, who had seen three of her five sons hauled off on prior occasions, wasn't prepared when the army came for her youngest. Blindfolded, his hands tied behind his back, 14-year-old Mohammed was led away in the wee hours this spring after his mother frantically helped him get dressed.

"I never thought they would come for him," she said. "I thought they would take one of the older ones."

Thus began a frightening experience for Mohammed, marked by what he described as interrogations, beatings and squalid conditions inside an Israeli detention center for Palestinians accused of security offenses. In Mohammed's case, that meant throwing rocks at soldiers and armored vehicles that rumbled through his village.

The teenager appeared before a military judge and spent two weeks in custody — without a visit from his parents or a lawyer — before being released.

His situation is not unique. Human rights activists are alarmed by the number of Palestinians younger than 18 who are being locked up by the Israeli government as part of its crackdown on the nearly 3-year-old Palestinian uprising, or intifada.

From: Toronto | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 2878

posted 05 September 2003 11:43 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Holding Pattern: A Palestinian Teen Gets Sent to Detention—and Stays

Deheishe Refugee Camp, West Bank—On November 22, 2002, in the small hours of the morning, Muhammed el-Najar, then 15, was arrested at his home here in the Deheishe refugee camp, a few miles south of Bethlehem. His parents say the Israeli soldiers, their faces painted with camouflage, ordered the family with all seven children, even a two-year-old, into their small yard with its chicken coop and vegetable garden, before taking away both Muhammed and his 17-year-old brother, Mahmoud. They have not seen Muhammed since and have heard little about him from his lawyer.

Mahmoud was eventually charged with attempted murder, belonging to an illegal organization, throwing stones, and writing slogans. His trial has been postponed. Muhammed may not be even that lucky. He is an administrative detainee, held indefinitely in a military prison, on order from a colonel or brigadier general, because of secret evidence that allegedly proves him to be a security threat to Israel.

Currently there are about 1,000 administrative detainees—or as some call them, political prisoners—out of over 6,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons. According to Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, the number of administrative detainees has increased dramatically since Israel's Operation Defensive Shield began in March 2002.

The situation of Palestinian prisoners was not referred to in the U.S. "road map," but they have nonetheless become a key issue in the limping peace process. The hudna, or cease-fire, signed in July by the three major Palestinian militant groups, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, named the release of prisoners as the first of four demands. This is not surprising, because the hudna itself was partially negotiated from a military prison by Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti. On August 6, the Israeli government released 334 prisoners, around half of whom were administrative detainees; the step was instantly described by Yasir Arafat as "an act of fraud and deceit," and it was followed by several days of violence from the Lebanese group Hezbollah. And another cycle of violence followed. By August 19, a major bus bombing in Jerusalem had effectively ended the hudna.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) could provide no statistics on how many administrative detainees would be considered juveniles under both international and Israeli civilian law, because a military order treats Palestinians 16 years and older as adults. According to Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCI), an NGO that provides legal assistance in a majority of such cases, Muhammed is one of at least 30 youngsters under 18 currently held in administrative detention, up from only two or three in 2001. The total number of Palestinian juveniles in custody fluctuates (because many are arrested and released without any charges) but is over 300. Only 13 juveniles were on the list of recently released prisoners, and only four of those were administrative detainees. Neither Muhammed nor his brother was on the list.

From: Toronto | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 3807

posted 05 September 2003 12:13 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
His situation is not unique. Human rights activists are alarmed by the number of Palestinians younger than 18 who are being locked up by the Israeli government...

And of the hundreds of Palestinians killed by the IOF during the Intifada, most are minors.

State-supported, race-based child murder.

From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged

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