3.7.08: Majed Jaradat, 13, beaten during interrogation and imprisoned for two months

3 Jul 2008

On 13 November 2007, soldiers arrested Majed Jaradat, 13, after he threw stones during a demonstration in Sa'ir Village, Hebron District. Jaradat's testimony to B'Tselem indicates that while he was detained, soldiers beat and kicked him in the back. The violence continued in the interrogation room at the Etzion police station, where the interrogator beat him. Following the interrogation, he was taken to the Ofer detention facility, in Israel.

In Ofer, the prison officials ordered Jaradat to choose which organization he belonged to - Popular Front, Fatah, or Hamas - and he was assigned to the Hamas tent at his choice. The youth was convicted of stone throwing and sentenced to two months' imprisonment, which he served among many adult prisoners and three other minors.

Since the beginning of the second intifada, the number of Palestinian minors held in Israeli custody has averaged 350-450 a month. At the end of June 2008, 311 Palestinian minors were in Israel Prison Service custody.

International human rights law requires separation of adult and minor prisoners and detainees. Israel meets the requirement with respect to Israeli adults and minors. In the case of Palestinians who are suspected of security offenses or have been convicted of security offenses, Israel breaches the requirement systematically.

Furthermore, international law explicitly requires special treatment of minors in detention or prison, taking into account the minor's special needs and age. For example, minors are to be allowed to continue their studies and receive psychological-social support and family visits.

Palestinian minors held in Israeli detention facilities are denied these rights. Only some of the facilities enable the minors to continue their studies, and then only in a few subjects. The educational material provided is not always consistent with the Palestinian educational program. Also, minors in distress are not given the psychological-social support needed, and many receive visits, as adult prisoners do, infrequently, only a few times a year.

As a result, many of the minors in prison are dependent on adult prisoners to give them lessons and provide social support. This situation, together with the IPS's requirement that the minor declare which organization he belongs to on his arrival at the facility, forces the minor to belong to an organization that Israel considers a terrorist organization - an affiliation that, following release, Israel deems a criminal offense for which offenders are subject to imprisonment.