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The tactic of arresting Palestinian children

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Arresting Palestinian childrenFrequently taken from their beds in the middle of the night, children have been interrogated without the presence of lawyers, their parents or other family members, and nearly all have been subjected to some form of either physical or psychological abuse during their arrest and questioning.

This practice violates both international conventions, such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Fourth Geneva Convention, and Israel's own laws related to the rights of minors.

According to The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Israel's Youth Law is routinely violated in the arrest and interrogation procedures of Palestinian children from East Jerusalem. More specifically, the law's provisions that arresting a minor should be avoided if possible, that a minor's arrest will be for the shortest possible period of time, and that "in any decision to arrest a minor, the suspect's age and the impact of the arrest on his physical and mental well-being and development must be taken into account" are regularly ignored.

Further, while the age of criminal responsibility is 12-years-old, children as young as seven have been arrested in Silwan and interrogated on the suspicion of stone-throwing. "Even when the police have been aware that the minor in question was under the age of criminal responsibility, they have made no distinction between these younger children and older ones in the way they have conducted their investigations," ACRI found in a March 2011 report.

"Children have been detained for hours on end, handcuffed, they have been threatened during interrogations, screamed at, and coerced by any means into revealing information about the incidents taking place in their neighbourhoods. In this context it is important to emphasise that the younger the child is, the greater the chance that he will experience trauma and psychological damage from such treatment," the report continued.


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