The criminalization of Silwan’s youth

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011 | 09:33 Mohammad Shehadeh, 18

Mohammad Shehadeh, 18

Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) — Young Palestinians throughout Jerusalem, Silwan in particular, are subject to a sustained and arbitrary campaign of the Israeli authorities. Many analysts and social academics believe that this criminalization of Silwan’s youth is aimed at weakening both the standard of living and resolve of Palestine’s future generation.

Mohammad Shehadeh, 18, was arrested from Silwan on 18 October 2010 while he was job-hunting in Bir Ayyub district. Israeli undercover forces arrested 3 other youths from the village on the same day, the youngest aged 12. The youth were transferred in a civilian car to Jaffa Gate of the Old City, where they were handcuffed with plastic binding and held there until they were transferred by uniformed police to the station for interrogation.

All 4 youth arrested that day were subjected to methods of intimidation and physical assault, including standard techniques employed by Israeli investigators such as beating, insults and threats. Investigations continued for over 6 hours at a time. Detainees were held in cells and summoned to interrogation without warning at random hours, often late at night or in pre-dawn hours of the morning.

Shehadeh was held in prison for over 20 days, then sentenced to house arrest outside Silwan. After a lengthy court process he was finally cleared of charges of stone-throwing on 16 February 2011 when conflicting undercover Israeli forces gave conflicting testimonies at his trial. Those testifying offered highly differing accounts of the circumstances of his arrest; as such the case against him was proved baseless.

Settlers living in Silwan, who frequently engage in violent acts against Palestinian residents such as stone-throwing or firing of live ammunition are almost never arrested, let alone prosecuted, for their acts. This stands in contrast to the vast number of arrests of Palestinian children, some detained over a dozen times on charges of throwing stones at settlers and police.

The criminalization of Silwan’s youth « Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan, Jerusalem.

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