URGENT ACTION APPEAL: Three Children Remain in Ofer Military Prison After Israeli Military Detains 27 Schoolchildren in Hebron

Please see this request for action as released by the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (www.eappi.org).

SUMMARY OF EVENTS:

On Wednesday, 20 March 2013 at 7:30AM, 22 Israeli Soldiers arrived at the Hebron Public Elementary School where they forced schoolchildren to walk to Checkpoint 29 and then into military vehicles. In total, the Israeli Military apprehended 27 minors, ages 7-15 during this incident.

Two of the children were released on the side of a road shortly after being detained. The remaining 25 children were taken to the police station near the Ibrahimi Mosque, where they were photographed and had their fingerprints taken.

Teachers from the school went to the police station but were not allowed to enter.

At 2:00PM the soldiers released the 8 youngest children, and continued to detain the remaining 17, who are all between the ages of 13 and 15.

After interrogating them at the police station the soldiers transported the 17 children to the Jabarah   and Junaid military bases where they continued to question them.

Later that night soldiers released 14 of the remaining children. Three of the children, Muhamad Al-Razim, Muhamad Burqan and Muhamad Al-Fakhoury (ages 14-15) were transported to the Ofer Military Prison where they are still being detained.

The minors were questioned, photographed and had their fingerprints taken multiple times without consent and without the presence of parents, legal guardians, lawyers or teachers. Moreover, throughout the incident, the children were held along with other adult detainees, one of which is a long-time EAPPI local contact, Issa Amro, who confirmed that the children were both blindfolded and handcuffed for extended periods while being detained in the police station.

Click here to view a video of the incident described above as recorded by B’Tselem.

INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW:

This incident is a clear violation of international law; most notably it violates the following clauses:

  1. Children should be restrained only if they pose an imminent threat to themselves or to others, and all other means have been exhausted, or as a precaution against escape during transfer, but in all cases, only for as long as is strictly necessary. [Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) art. 37(c); CRC General Comment No. 10, para 89; UN standard Minimum Rules, rules 33 and 34; tokyo Rules, rule 64]
  2. All children should be free from compulsory self-incrimination, which includes the right to silence. ‘Compulsory’ should be interpreted broadly and not limited to physical force. The age of the child and the length of the interrogation, the child’s lack of understanding and the fear of unknown consequences may all lead a child to give a confession that is not true. [CRC, art 40(2)(b) (iv); Convention on the Rights of the Child General Comment No. 10, paras 56-58; Convention against torture, art. 15; ICCPR, art 14(3)(g) and (4); Geneva IV, art. 31]
  3. There must be independent scrutiny of the methods of interrogation. This should include the presence of a lawyer and relative or legal guardian and audio- visual recording of all interrogations involving children. [CRC, art 40(2)(b)(ii) and (iv); Convention on the Rights of the Child General Comment No. 10, para 58; ICCPR, art 14(3)(b); HRC General Comment No. 20, para 11; HRC Concluding Observations, Israel (29 July 2010), ICCPR/C/IsR/ CO/3, para 22; Convention against torture, art. 2; UN Committee against torture, General Comment No. 2, para 14, and Concluding Observations, Israel (14 May 2009), CAt/C/IsR/ CO/4, paras 15, 16, 27 and 28]

MAKE A DIFFERENCE:

We encourage you to:

  • Forward this email to your networks
  • Inform your elected representatives, and your country’s diplomatic representatives to Israel (http://tinyurl.com/cuue6l6) (from Canada – Ambassador Paul Hunt; taviv@international.gc.ca) about this incident, and call upon them to help release the remaining three minors.
  • Contact the following Israeli officials to condemn this violation of international law, and to call for the immediate release of the remaining three minors.

You may use the sample letter below or draft your own:

Dear Ambassador / Consul General / Prime Minister / Minister / Advocate General,

I am writing you to express my deep concern about an incident that took place in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Wednesday, 20 March 2013, in which the Israeli Military detained 27 Palestinian children (ages 7-15) during their commute to school.

The minors were handcuffed and blindfolded for hours, questioned, photographed and had their fingerprints taken multiple times without consent and without the presence of parents, legal guardians, lawyers or teachers. Moreover, the children were not informed as to why they were detained, their parents / guardians were not officially informed, and they were detained with other adult detainees.

These practices are unacceptable and clearly violate international law, specifically the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that:

Children should be restrained only if they pose an imminent threat to themselves or to others, and all other means have been exhausted, or as a precaution against escape during transfer, but in all cases, only for as long as is strictly necessary.

All children should be free from compulsory self-incrimination… The age of the child and the length of the interrogation, the child’s lack of understanding and the fear of unknown consequences may all lead a child to give a confession that is not true.

There must be independent scrutiny of the methods of interrogation. This should include the presence of a lawyer and relative or legal guardian and audio- visual recording of all interrogations involving children.


Though 24 of the children were later released, three of them, Muhamad Al-Razim, Muhamad Burqan and Muhamad Al-Fakhoury (ages 14-15) were transported to the Ofer Military Prison where they are still being detained. I ask that you do everything within your capacities to help release these three boys.

Sincerely,
YOUR NAME/ORGANIZATION

One thought on “URGENT ACTION APPEAL: Three Children Remain in Ofer Military Prison After Israeli Military Detains 27 Schoolchildren in Hebron

  1. Thanks Sherry Ann for bringing this to our attention. I have sent the letters as suggested.

    Shalom.

    George

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s