Committee: ‘Overwhelming majority’ of Palestinian minors in Israeli custody are ‘tortured’

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RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The “overwhelming majority” of Palestinian minors held in Israel’s Megiddo and Ofer prisons have been tortured during their detention and interrogation, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said Tuesday, amid a marked increase in the incarceration and mistreatment of Palestinian children by Israel.

Lawyer for the committee Luay Ukka said in a statement that, after a visit to Ofer prison, he had noticed that the number of juvenile prisoners there had noticeably increased over the past month.
As of mid-October, he said, the number of Palestinian prisoners in Ofer under 18 years old reached 28, 14 of whom were under 14 years old.
According to rights group Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), Israel has also dramatically increased the use of administrative detention  — internment without charge or trial — against minors.
 
According to DCIP, over the last year 19 Palestinian minors were administratively detained. Prior to October 2015, Israel had reportedly not held a Palestinian child from the occupied West Bank in administrative detention since December 2011.
“The overwhelming majority”  of juvenile prisoners held at Ofer have been “tortured, beaten, and humiliated” during the raids carried out by Israeli forces to detain them as well as during their interrogation, according to Ukka.
Ukka also said that the majority of juvenile prisoners at Ofer prison were from Aida refugee camp and the town of al-Ubeidiya, both in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem.
Just last week, undercover Israeli forces detained eight Palestinian children from Aida refugee camp, as residents of the camp — particularly minors — have recently been subject to an intensification of violent military raids.Fourteen-year-old Tamir Abu Salem, who was detained about a year ago in Aida, told Ukka that the raid sparked clashes between local youth and Israeli soldiers, and that he was shot in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet before he was taken into custody, when he was also punched in the face.
Tamir said that the bullet rifted his skull bone and that “when I breathe part of my scalp puffs up and down.”The 14-year-old reported that the only treatment he had received from the Israel Prison Service (IPS) were occasional pain killers — a common complaint among sick and wounded Palestinian detainees as part of a deliberate policy of medical neglect by Israeli prison authorities.Separately, Hiba Masalha, another lawyer who also works with committee, reported in a statement on Monday that the number of juvenile prisoners at Megiddo prison had also recently increased.
“Most of the juvenile prisoners are being tortured and humiliated during detention raids,” she said, adding that Palestinian minors were also being strip-searched when they arrived to Israeli detention centers.The release of the testimonies came a day after DCIP published a report saying that at least five Palestinian minors have been imprisoned by Israel without being charged in recent months over Facebook posts that Israeli authorities alleged amounted to “incitement.”Meanwhile, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said in a September report that at least 1,000 Palestinian minors between the ages of 11 and 18 had been detained by Israel since January, a number of whom reported being abused and tortured while in detention.
According to prisoners’ rights groups Addameer, a total of 340 Palestinian minors are currently being incarcerated by Israel as political prisoners.Interrogations of Palestinian children can last up to 90 days according to Addameer, while in addition to being beaten and threatened, cases of sexual assault and placement in solitary confinement to elicit confessions are also reported, while confession documents they are forced to sign are in Hebrew — a language most Palestinian children do not speak.
 
(Source / 18.10.2016)

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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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