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Facebook posts land Palestinian teens in administrative detention

AFP photo 000 G675H 580x340 17102016

Israeli soldiers remove a Palestinian youth from a military vehicle in the occupied West Bank village of Burin on September 15, 2016

Ramallah, October 17, 2016—“He asked for my Facebook password,” said Ahmad H., 17, recalling his first interrogation at Ofer military prison on August 1. “I gave it to him. He logged in and said it had inciting photos.”

“I told [the interrogator] of my arrest earlier in April 2016 for 10 days, when I was interrogated [at Shikma prison] in Ashkelon about my Facebook account. I told him I deleted everything upon my release and the account is clean. I told him to check it.”

Ahmad told Defense for Children International – Palestine that his interrogator at that point accused him of “obstructing the interrogation, claiming that I had asked someone to delete the photos, but I denied it.”

The interrogation lasted one hour, during which he had no parent present or access to legal counsel.

On August 7, Ahmad was interrogated again, this time for three hours.

“[The interrogator] kept questioning me about posting inciting pictures on my Facebook account. I told him I had not posted anything after my release and I had not asked anyone to delete the ones I had posted.”

Three days later, on August 10, Israeli authorities placed Ahmad under administrative detention for six months.

“Israeli authorities must immediately stop using administrative detention against Palestinian minors,” said Brad Parker, attorney and international advocacy officer at DCIP. “Inability to file charges against children due to lack of evidence should never be grounds for holding them indefinitely without charge or trial.”

At least four other Palestinian teenagers, all below 18, received administrative detention orders following accusations that included inciting or threatening to commit violence in Facebook posts.

Fadi J., 16, spent nearly seven months in administrative detention for posting a picture of a rifle on his Facebook page. The interrogator accused him of plotting to carry out an attack.

“He showed me a picture of an AK-47 rifle that he downloaded from my Facebook page, but I told him it was just a picture,” Fadi told DCIP. “He then claimed that I threaten the security of Israel.”

On September 2, Israeli authorities released Fadi without filing any charges against him.

In mid-September, Facebook agreed to work with the Israeli government in tackling incitement on the social media network, the Associated Press reported. Palestinian activists claimed that Israel had effectively won the right to censor their freedom of speech.

Since unrest broke out in October last year, DCIP has documented the use of administrative detention against 19 Palestinian children. Six of them remain in administrative detention, including two that have since turned 18 years old.

Eleven of the children have been released without charge after spending between three and eight months in jail. Two have been charged, convicted, and imprisoned after three months in administrative detention.

Administrative detention permits military commanders or government officials to incarcerate individuals without charge or trial based on secret evidence.

In the occupied West Bank, where military law applies to the Palestinian population only, Israeli Military Order 1651 permits administrative detention for up to six months, subject to indefinite renewals.

Prior to October, Israel had not held a Palestinian child from the West Bank under administrative detention since December 2011.

Israeli authorities rely on the Emergency Powers Law to authorize the use of administrative detention in Jerusalem. In October 2015, Israel used administrative detention against Palestinian children from East Jerusalem for the first time.

Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes between 500 and 700 children in military courts each year that lack fundamental fair trial rights.

International juvenile justice standards, which Israel has obliged itself to implement by ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1991, demand that children should only be deprived of their liberty as a measure of last resort and must not be unlawfully or arbitrarily detained.

DCIP considers all persons below the age of 18 to be children in accordance with the CRC.

(Source / 18.10.2016)

Tags: #ICC4Israel

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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