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Israeli Soldiers Arrest and Assault a Palestinian Child

Friday, 14 March 2014 00:48 - [3-9 March] - Ref.: 25/2014
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On 26 February at approximately 9:00 pm, Israeli soldiers raided the village of ‘Ousrin, east of Nablus. While in the village, the soldiers broke into the home of Salah Mifleh, 50, and searched it for approximately an hour without stating a reason. At roughly 10:45 pm, Israeli soldiers arrested Salah’s son, Ayham, 16, who wasn’t home at the time of the raid, while he was walking around the village with his friends.

Salah Fayez Mifleh – ‘Ousrin village – Nablus

Salah_Fayez_MiflehAfter the arrest Ayham was held, along with approximately 15 other young Palestinians, by Israeli soldiers on one of the streets in the village. While Ayham was being held, Salah witnessed him being kicked in the feet by the soldiers. Later that night, at around 1:15 am, Salah learnt from his older son, Ahmad, 23, that all those held had been released except for Ayham.

On the afternoon of 27 February, Israeli police called Salah from the Ariel police station and informed him that his son was due to be brought before the Israeli Salem Military Court on 2 March 2014. Two hours later, Salah received another call from the Israeli Liaison office in Huwwara military camp, south of Nablus, informing him that his son was being held in the military camp and that his condition was good. The charges against Ayham were not explained to Salah during either of these phone calls.

On 2 March, at approximately 10:00 am, Salah, his wife, Dounia, 47, and Ayham’s friend, ‘Ala’, 20, attended the court hearing. Ayham, who was wearing a brown prison uniform and had his feet tied in chains, was escorted into the room by three Israeli police guards. Ayham’s lawyer was also present at court. However, the hearing was postponed until 6 March 2014 as Ayham’s file had not yet been finalised.

When the session was over, Dounia walked towards Ayham, who was standing behind a bench. The guards were standing between Ayham and his mother when Ayham tried to reach for her and give her a kiss. The guards immediately pushed Ayham through the door, forcing him outside of the court room and causing him to fall to the ground. The guards restrained him by his feet, arms and head and kept him on the floor, facing the ground. He remained in that position for almost two minutes before the guards tied his arms behind his back and dragged him to the other side of the court building.

Salah recalls that while his son was being assaulted, himself, his wife and ‘Ala’ were escorted out of the room and held at a 10 metre distance from the court room. A few minutes later, the family were brought back into the room. At that point, four guards also brought Ayham back into the court room with his hands cuffed at his front. Salah recalls the judge shouting at the guard in Hebrew but could not understand what was being said. The judge informed the lawyer that the parents had three minutes to talk to their son. In this time, Ayham told his parents that he is being detained in the Children’s Section of Majido Prison.  (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 9427/2014)

According to Al-Haq’s field researcher, the court hearing on 6 March was postponed until 10 March, at which point it was postponed again until 31 March. Ayham’s parents have not yet been allowed to visit him and he is still being held in Majido Prison. According to Ayham’s lawyer, Ayham is accused of throwing stones and taking part in demonstrations.

Al-Haq condemns the assault that Ayham suffered at the hands of the Israeli soldiers both during his arrest and in the court room. Moreover, the torture and ill-treatment that child detainees regularly suffer while in custody represent serious violations of international human rights law. Al-Haq calls upon Israel to abide by its obligations under international human rights law by complying with the provisions set forth in the human rights treaties it has ratified, especially the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. As for the house raid conducted by the soldiers, under both international humanitarian law and human rights law, the Occupying Power must respect the right of the occupied Palestinian people to enjoy their home and family life free of arbitrary interference.