Kidnapping Minors, or The Only Democracy

Annie at Mondoweiss flagged the above video. What strikes me is how much the scene resembles a Hollywood kidnapping scene, right down to the masks worn by the secret police. The arrested child, Jaber, was eventually released after about an hour of interrogation during which he refused to sign a document written in Hebrew without a lawyer present. B’Tselem reports:

According to Jaber’s testimony to B’Tselem, the undercover policemen forced him to lie on the floor of the vehicle and blindfolded him with a piece of cloth. He cried, out of fear and helplessness. While the vehicle was moving, the boy said, the undercover forces questioned him while slapping his face. Jaber was interrogated on suspicion of stone-throwing without having his parents present, nor was he given an opportunity to consult with a lawyer. He told B’Tselem that after he refused to sign a document written in Hebrew, the interrogators punched him and hit him with a club. He maintained his refusal and was released at the entrance to the Ma’ale Zeitim settlement, in Ras al-‘Amud, approximately an hour after he was taken. Members of his family had asked police representatives where he would be released and were waiting for him at the spot. Jaber’s father took him to the emergency room at Hadassah Hospital, Mt. Scopus, where he was found to be suffering from external bruising. Jaber told B’Tselem that since the incident, he has been waking up at night from nightmares. On Monday, 25 July ’11, his father filed a complaint with the Department for the Investigation of Police. Jaber gave his testimony to DIP investigators. The family has not yet been informed whether an investigation will be opened.

According for Defense for Children International, the unlawful arrest of minors – who are then held in adult prisons – is far from uncommon. As of June 2011, there were 209 children in Israeli detention centers – including 36 12-15 year olds, mostly accused of throwing stones. And if you are charged with throwing stones, chances are you will be convicted by the Israeli courts. B’Tselem notes that only one child has been acquitted of stone throwing out of 853 between 2005-2010. Moreover, life for those arrested is forever altered. In detention, many are arrested at night without being allowed to speak with parents or a lawyer:

Because military law does not afford minors the same rights that they have under Israeli law, in many of the cases B’Tselem investigated, the minors were arrested at night, were not allowed to be accompanied by a parent or other adult when arrested, and were brought before a judge only eight days after being taken into custody.

Perhaps more distressing is the fact that Palestinians who have been arrested lose the ability to be granted permits to enter Jerusalem or to receive certain work permits. In other words, children – such as Jaber – are abducted by masked men and are not permitted to talk to parents or lawyers; they are pressured to sign a plea bargain that gives them several months in an adult prison and eliminates any possibility of receiving any type of Israeli permit.

Kawther Salem has a post about child detainees from a while back in which she posts the following video.

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