Rights group slams Israeli court system over Tamimi's conviction

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 23.03.2018 00:00

A deal reached between Israeli military prosecutors and jailed Palestinian teen Ahed al-Tamimi, which means the latter will serve eight months behind bars, reveals the court's role in "protecting" Israel's decades-long occupation, an Israeli rights group said yesterday.

"Every year, hundreds of Palestinian minors undergo the same scenario," B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, said in a statement, as reported by Anadolu Agency (AA).

"The interrogation [of suspects] often involves threats, yelling, verbal abuse and sometimes physical violence," it added. "Its sole purpose is to get [Palestinian] minors to confess or provide information about others."

"Minors agree to plead guilty as part of a plea bargain," the rights group asserted. "They sign it [the confession] so they can resume their normal lives as soon as possible after serving the prison sentence set out in the plea bargain."

Tamimi's detention highlighted the issue of arrests of Palestinian minors. Israel has detained 562 Palestinian minors since U.S. President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital last December, a report published yesterday said.

"The Israeli authorities have stepped up their arbitrary measures against child detainees since December of 2017," the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)'s committee on detainees said.

"During this period, 562 Palestinian children and minors were arrested from all over the West Bank and East Jerusalem," the report said.

It goes on to note that Israel's arrest policy appears to be aimed at "terrorizing children, distorting their reality and destroying their futures."

"Detained children were subjected to one or more forms of physical and psychological torture and were held in difficult conditions," the report added.

PLO also warned that such treatment would likely "affect their physical, mental and emotional development."

Defense for Children International-Palestine, a local group, said 331 Palestinians under the age of 18 were held in military detention as of May, according to the most recent statistics released by Israeli authorities, as reported by the Associated Press (AP). It said that in 2016, an average of 375 minors were in detention each month. The Israeli military was unable to provide data on the number of minors it is holding. According to Palestinian figures, more than 6,400 Palestinians — including some 300 children — are currently languishing in Israeli prisons.

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