Palestinian minors suffer abuse in Israeli prisons

With a sad look on his face, Shadi Farah, a 15-year-old minor, recalls abuses at the hands of Israeli interrogators in prison.

“Israel is using all heinous methods during interrogation from suffocation, beating to giving us hallucinogenic pills,” Farah told Anadolu Agency.

“I remember spending days suffering from nightmares and headaches because of the drugs that we were forced to take.”

The Palestinian minor was arrested in December 2015 and sentenced to three years in prison on charges of attempting to “inflict serious harm” on Israelis.

He was also ordered to pay a fine equivalent to $1,400.

According to the Defense for Palestinian Children rights group, Palestinian minors are often made to sign documents written in Hebrew despite the fact that they don’t know the language.

They are also often interrogated in the absence of their parents or lawyers, the rights group said.

Children are also often detained alongside adults, and minors frequently report being kicked, slapped and blindfolded during arrest and/or interrogation.

“Around 90 percent of detained children are subject to verbal abuse and humiliation by Israeli army officers,” Khaled Quzmar, the head of the rights group, said.

He said 30 percent of Palestinian minors held by Israel have suffered physical abuse while in custody.

According to Quzmar, 80 percent of detained children were denied access to legal advice before being interrogated.

Beating

Ahmad al-Zatari, a 15-year-old minor, said he was beaten and suffocated by an Israeli interrogator during interrogation.

“I remember it very clearly,” al-Zatari said, fighting back his tears.

“I stepped into the room and one integrator was there,” the Palestinian minor said. “He started asking questions and calling for quick answers.”

“I was only 12-year-old during the interrogation and the questions were not clear to me so I could not answer any,” al-Zatari said.

Thirty minutes later, he recalled, the Israeli interrogator turned off the cameras and started beating me.

“He jumped over me and put his hands around my neck and started yelling at me,” the minor said.

“It was a horrible experience,” the Palestinian child said. “I thought he was going to kill me. At that point, I started thinking about my family and that I would not see my mother again.”

According to the Palestinian Prisoners Society, an NGO, roughly 900 Palestinian minors have been detained by Israeli forces this year.

As of 2018, roughly 270 children continue to languish inside detention facilities across Israel.

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