The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) accused Israel of torturing Palestinian minors as young as 12 by locking them in cages and making them stay in them overnight outside in freezing temperatures. Almost three quarters of the 700 children a year who are subject to this. Some as young as 12 also faced violence and/or aggression upon arrest.
Not only are these children subject to grueling, inhumane conditions, but they do not get the benefit of a trial for their crimes (the majority of which is throwing stones).
An Israeli human rights organization has accused the country of torturing Palestinian minors, with reported cases of public caging as well as threats and acts of sexual violence.
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) condemned Israel’s failure to protect Palestinian minors from the alleged torture. The group demanded authorities introduce specific provisions for the protection of all children against torture in Israeli domestic law.
The human rights group states that international law against torture, as outlined in the Istanbul Protocol Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture, is not reflected by Israel’s domestic legislature.
The group’s report was published ahead of Tuesday's hearing by the Knesset's Public Petitions Committee on related issues. PACTI based their complaint on data from filed reports of abuses against children collected over the past decade.
The practice of placing the children in outdoor cages was stopped once Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni intervened following the discovery, the Jerusalem Post reports.
PCATI states that it continues to actively investigate cases concerning children's torture and ill treatment by IDF soldiers and interrogators. They are investigating threats and acts of sexual violence, caging prisoners in iron cages (including children), military conduct during detentions and arrests of Palestinians. Their collected data is also supported by a number of NGO’s also involved in documentation of torture allegations.
According to the Israeli Public Defender's Office, knowledge of people being kept in iron cages surfaced during a night-time inspection of a prison at the height of a recent winter storm. Children were found kept outside in freezing temperatures for hours overnight following their arrest, and until they faced court charges the following morning.
“During our visit, held during a fierce storm that hit the state, attorneys met detainees who described to them a shocking picture: in the middle of the night dozens of detainees were transferred to the external iron cages built outside the IPS transition facility in Ramla,” the Public Defender's Office wrote on its website.
“It turns out that this procedure, under which prisoners waited outside in cages, lasted for several months, and was verified by other officials.”
PCATI emphasizes that “failure to allow the arrested child or minor to full enjoyment of his or her rights, including the failure to allow for an attorney or accompanying adult at the time of arrest and interrogation places the child in a state of helplessness, distress and increases the pressure being applied to the child by the security forces in order to achieve a confession or information during the interrogation.”
The human rights association estimates that up to 700 P
alestinian children, some as young as 12 years-old, are subject to Israeli military detention system each year.
“The majority of Palestinian child detainees are charged with throwing stones, and 74 percent experience physical violence during arrest, transfer or interrogation,” according to evidence collected by Defence for Children International Palestine. Furthermore, “no Israeli children come into contact with the military court system.”