Case studies: Children in the Palestinian Authority juvenile justice system

Jun 10, 2014

Name: Mohammad S, 14
Detained: September 2, 2013
Location: El Far'a refugee camp, Tubas

Mohammad S, 14, was detained on charges of assaulting security personnel.

At 9:30 pm, Mohammad ran from his home to the entrance of El Far’a refugee camp following a dispute with his father. He approached soldiers and shouted that he wished to turn himself in, but when the soldiers pointed their weapons at him he became frightened and fled.

He was quickly caught, and around 20 soldiers participated in a beating that included kicking and hitting him with clubs and flashlights. After three minutes he was put in a vehicle and asked to provide names of stone-throwers, before being transferred to Tubas police station.

Arriving at 2 am, Mohammad was slapped by a uniformed policeman and detained until 2 pm. His statement and fingerprints were then taken without the presence of a lawyer or a parent, and he was placed in juvenile detention. Mohammad spent 17 days in detention before being released on bail. He was eventually acquitted after four court appearances.

Name: Ahmad S, 15 
Detained: September 5, 2013
Location: El Far'a refugee camp, Tubas 

Ahmad S, 15, was detained in a night raid on charges of throwing stones and burning tires.

At 3 am, Ahmad was woken by soldiers entering his home. Two soldiers grabbed him and took him to a waiting military vehicle containing other men from the camp. He was handcuffed and his shirt was pulled over his eyes.

Shortly after, Ahmad was moved to an intelligence vehicle, where a soldier untied him by melting the plastic wrist restraints with a lighter, causing him to scream in pain.

Ahmad was then detained overnight at military intelligence headquarters, before being transferred to Tubas police station at 11 am.

There, he was interrogated without a parent or lawyer for around three hours by three police officers and subjected to threats of violence. Whenever Ahmad denied an accusation, he was slapped or kicked.

Ahmad was subjected to further physical violence throughout the day and detained overnight. The following morning he was interrogated again, where he signed but was not allowed to read a statement. In total he was detained for 15 days before being released on bail.

Name: Mohammad L, 11
Detained: December 1, 2013
Location: Balata refugee camp, Nablus

Mohammad L, 11, was injured in an explosion and detained overnight.

At 6 pm, Mohammad was in Nablus on his way to buy plastic bags for his father when he was caught in a crowd of men running toward Balata refugee camp. He tried to run but an explosion knocked him to the ground.

Severe pain in his right leg caused him to faint, and he awoke 15 minutes later in a neighbor’s house. His father arrived and took him in an ambulance with three other injured children to Rafidia Hospital, Nablus. Two Palestinian policemen arrived before he was treated to demand that Mohammad come to the police station.

Mohammad’s leg was X-rayed and he was found to have nine shrapnel wounds between his ankle and thigh. His leg was put in plaster.

The police insisted that Mohammad’s father take him to the police station immediately. There, he was interrogated with other children and in the presence of his father about the day’s events.

He was detained overnight against his father’s wishes, and released at 3 pm the following day after signing a statement.

Name: Mustafa M, 12 
Detained: December 1, 2013
Location: Balata refugee camp, Nablus

Mustafa M, 12, was injured in an explosion and detained for one week.

At 6:30 pm Mustafa was with his friend Mahmoud near the entrance of Balata refugee camp. He was caught in clashes with Palestinian security forces and injured by a grenade that landed near him. Mustafa’s right leg was bleeding profusely and he was taken to a health center.

Mahmoud was also injured, and both boys were taken to the emergency department at Rafidia Hospital, Nablus.

As they were being treatment, Palestinian police arrived and took Mahmoud away. Mustafa received five stitches and was guarded by two policemen in a hospital room overnight.

The next day Mustafa was taken to a court and detained in a cell for an hour. He was then asked to give a statement in the presence of a lawyer and his father, before being detained first with adults overnight in a prison.

Mustafa appeared in court on December 3, when his detention was extended. He was released on bail on December 8.

Military Detention
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