B’Tselem: 93% of Palestinian Youths Arrested for Stone Throwing Get Jail Time

 

PNN – Palestine News Network -18.07.11 – 11:12

Jerusalem – PNN – Israeli human rights group B’Tselem released a report on Monday saying 93 percent of Palestinians under 17 arrested from 2005 to 2010 for throwing stones were given jail sentences.

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At least 835 Palestinian minors were arrested and tried for stone throwing during this time, said B’Tselem, all but one were convicted.

B’Tselem interviewed 50 minors for the report who described their arrests, interrogations, sentencing and prison terms.

Many of the youths B’Tselem talked to said they were beaten, kept awake, held for long periods of time before interrogation, not allowed to use the toilet or eat and kept from speaking to their families and lawyers.

The Israeli military court does not allow minors to return home while they await their hearings so many of the youths confessed to the charges instead of waiting in jail for the court process to unwind, said B’Tselem.

The youths were jailed for periods of time ranging from several days to 20 months, said B’Tselem. Nineteen minors under the age of 14 were given prison sentences. Under Israeli law, it is illegal to imprison people under 14, but the military court operates under a different set of guidelines.

B’Tselem called on Israel to bring the standards for prosecuting Palestinian youths up to Israeli and international standards saying, “All the officials engaged in handling Palestinian minors … are well aware of the reality described in the report … Israel has the obligation to ensure the rights of Palestinian minors under its responsibility.”

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