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War on Children

MPT: Asira al Qibliya

MPT followed up on an incident that occurred last month in the village of Asira al Qibliya. The case was dealing with a boy who had been forcibly taken from his home and sent to a prison for 22 days. Last month, MPT filed a human rights report to the United Nations within days of the incident.

After hearing the news that the boy was back with his family, MPT was invited to the family home to hear more about the ordeal the boy and his family went through. On June 10th, 2010 around 2am a young boy who had just turned 16, (this occurred on his birthday) was awakened by 50-70 soldiers who surrounded and entered the home by force. The soldiers took the boy away from the house and handcuffed him; put him in the back of a military jeep. All this was done without saying anything to the boy or the parents; he was just taken away.

The boy was present during MPT’s visit to his home and he gave some information, but at times seemed very despondent and agitated. The boy did not find out why he had been taken away until eight days after being detained and appearing before a court. The reasoning behind seizing him was that the boy was believed to have started a fire on Palestinian’s land in the village. Coincidently, there is an illegal Israeli settlement near the boy’s house where the fire had been started. There had been no witnesses or evidence that the boy had started any fire, only suspicion because he resides near the scene.

On the basis of suspicion the boy was taken in the middle of the night from his family’s home without any reason given. After the initial court appearance the boy and another village boy, age 15, were sent to the basement cells for holding. There, the boy was confined to a cell, 1 by 2 meters; where he ate and used the toilet for six days. The boy lost track of time and never knew if it was day or night. Although the boy was not beaten, he was verbally abused by soldiers who told him they were going to torture him with electric shock and hang him by his legs upside down, unless he confessed to starting the fires. To add to the bleak conditions and verbal abuse, the boy never knew when he was going to be released.

Finally, after the six days he was brought back to court for a trial where he was able to see his father. He had no recollection of how long he had been gone. When the judge asked the boy if he started the fires, he responded that he had not set any fires. He was held for several more days after he was found not guilty and let go.

It’s difficult to imagine that this sort of cruel and inhuman treatment can be done from one human being unto another, let alone in this case being done to a child. Through numerous human rights violations such as depriving the detainee of family visitation, and psychological abuse it seems Israel has taken a new front on scaring the future generations of Palestinians from having basic human rights.
Photo courtesy of Land Research Center

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