Date of Incident: 3 May 2012
Location: Gaza City
Nature of Incident: Detention
On 3 May 2012, a 15-year old boy is arrested by Palestinian police and accused of theft.
On 3 May 2012, at around 10 am, R.K. was at his home in Gaza City when a Palestinian police arrived and arrested him. Taken without his family knowing, R.K was accused of stealing a laptop and mobile phone, and held at al-Abbas police station for around two hours before being led to the interrogation room. “[They] took me to a room where I saw two men with long beards wearing civilian clothes. I am not sure whether they were police or intelligence.”
Once there, R.K. describes being placed in a line-up with four other men, all of whom appeared nearly twice his age, if not older. “One of them was like 55 years old or something,” R.K. says. “The others were 25 to 35 years old. We all stood in one line. The man who owns the things I had stolen came to the room and started looking at the five of us and left the room with one of the plain clothed bearded men.”
“Two minutes later, the man with the long beard came back and let the four men standing next to me out,” R.K. continues. “‘Don't you want to confess?’ he asked me. ‘Confess to what?’ I asked and he slapped me. ‘The man you stole from picked you out of the line,’ he said before he blindfolded me with a piece of cloth. He started beating me; hitting my stomach, behind and back. He forced me to sit on the floor and started beating my feet with a stick. He was joined by another man. I was crying and shouting but no one cared. ‘Did you steal the laptop and the mobile phone?’ one of them asked me half an hour later.” R.K. admitted to steeling the laptop and mobile and agreed to tell the men where he had sold the electronics.
“The time I spent at al-'Abbas police station was the worst because I was beaten for about half an hour and could not see anything because I was blindfolded,” R.K says. At no point during his interrogation was R.K. allowed to consult with a lawyer or have a family member present. R.K. says that the interrogation was not videotaped, he was never told he had the right to remain silent and that he signed papers he did not read. “No one explained the accusation and I did not receive any legal consultation,” R.K. says.
After interrogation, R.K. was detained at Al Rabe’e juvenile detention centre. “The director, teachers and social workers at Al Rabe’e did not treat us well,” R.K. says. “They punished anyone for making mistakes. The food was not good. I saw food I have never seen before but I was too hungry to refuse it. The place was very clean but only because we [the children] cleaned it every day. We were allowed to play football.” R.K. was also allowed have family visits and see his lawyer during his time in detention.
Two days after his arrest, R.K. went before the court in Gaza, where he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 days in detention. He also had to pay a 300 shekel fine.
26 May 2012