“As in the case of adults, children are confronted to torture and mistreatments. They are more humiliated and tortured and are sometimes subjected to sexual assault. This is also a “more effective” means of obtaining confessions and denunciations and pressuring the entire family.
Each year, between 500 and 700 Palestinian children under 18 are arrested, interrogated and detained by the Israeli army and sentenced by military tribunals, which amounts to approximately 8 000 since 2000. From their arrest to their sentencing, Israeli authorities violate international laws.
Contrary to what Israeli law requires, Palestinian children are rarely accompanied by a parent and are not informed of their rights, in particular of their right not to plead guilty, to remain silent, and to be assisted by a lawyer during interrogations. They only see their lawyers at the time of sentencing.
Frequently, children arrive at the interrogation centres blindfolded and with their hands tied. They are deprived of sleep and toilets. They are humiliated by being subjected to searches during which they find themselves completely naked. More than three quarters of them also suffer physical violence between their arrest and interrogation: kicks, slaps, and in certain cases, electrical shocks via tasers. During the interrogation period, 20 % of minors are subjected to solitary confinement. Finally, the Israeli authorities threaten to target their families in order to compel the children to sign false confessions on documents in Hebrew, a language they do not know how to read. The confessions will allow the prosecutor to pass a sentence for charges that, most of the time, do not reflect the facts of what actually happened.
According to Israeli military law (Military order 1711 adopted in 2013), detention prior to court appearance should not exceed 24 hours for children aged 12 and 13, 48 hours for children aged 14 and 15, and 96 hours for children aged 16 and 17 (as in the case of adults). This is twice as long as for an Israeli child living in a West Bank colony and can be doubled in the case of “special circumstances”.“
For more information, consult the report “Enfances brisées” [Broken childhoods] (only in French) published in April 2016 by the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine.