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2.10.2016

Nighttime arrests of minors in the West Bank: HaMoked calls on the military to stop this wrongful practice and the blatant violation of the rights of Palestinian minors

Despite the protections accorded to minors in international law and Israeli law, the Israeli military systematically violates the rights of Palestinian minors in detention, who are interrogated without their parents being present and without being allowed to consult with a lawyer. Although the security forces’ regulations stipulate that minors should be summoned for interrogation, rather than arrested at their home and taken for questioning, members of the security forces routinely rouse minors from their beds late at night, causing alarm to their family members, and take them on a difficult journey to the place of interrogation – unaccompanied of their parents, who don’t even know where their child has been taken. This harsh picture emerges also from affidavits recently collected by HaMoked from Palestinian juveniles from the West bank who were taken into arrest in the second half of 2015.

In 2014 the military began running a pilot program whereby Palestinian minors from the West Bank would be summoned in writing or by phone for interrogation, as an alternative to nighttime arrest. Following this, HaMoked sent the military applications under the Freedom of Information Law, for statistics about the pilot project and its progress. The military’s responses clearly showed that the pilot project was implemented only partially and narrowly, without monitoring or an attempt to estimate its effectivity.

Data from the military on the implementation of the pilot program in 2014, showed that only 68 minors were summoned for questioning that year, out of the hundreds of minors arrested that year. Despite the small number of summons, the military did not have the basic figure of how many minors arrived actually for questioning. Therefore, in 2015, HaMoked contacted the military to ascertain whether the pilot project was still running and whether the military was at all reviewing the effectivity of the summons, given that it had not bothered to record the findings. The military’s response clearly suggested that the pilot project was scaled down: only 29 minors were summoned in the first half of 2015, and of them at least three arrived accordingly. The military claimed it had no data for the second half of the year “due to fire damage”.

According to data the military provided to HaMoked in June 2016, in the first half of this year only 13 summons were sent, following which two minors arrived for questioning. This time, the military acknowledged that “the procedure [pilot project] was stopped temporarily after the start of the security escalation some months ago, and was renewed later on”, but did not bother to specify in which months this had happened.

Contrary to its statements, the military continued to arrest minors at night and deliberately refrained from the alternative course of summoning the minors for questioning through their parents. Furthermore, the military refused to answer HaMoked’s question about any conclusions or lessons drawn from the pilot project, on the claim that it was not obligated to do so under the Freedom of Information Law. Given this outrageous conduct, HaMoked calls on the military to stop the unacceptable and harmful practice of arresting minors at night, and replace it with an adequate alternative.
mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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