Israel government tortures Palestinian children by keeping them in cages, human rights group says

by | Jan 1, 2014 | Stress Blog

The Independent:

An Israeli human rights organisation has accused the government of torturing Palestinian children after it emerged some were kept for months in outdoor cages during winter.

The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) published a report which said children suspected of minor crimes were subjected to ‘public caging’, threats and acts of sexual violence and military trials without representation.

It came as the government’s Public Petitions Committee held a hearing to discuss the issue, which the PCATI said must be addressed with a change to the law.

The country’s Public Defender’s Office (PDO) recently released details of one particularly shocking visit by its lawyers to a detention facility.

‘During our visit, held during a fierce storm that hit the state, attorneys met detainees who described to them a shocking picture: in the middle of the night dozens of detainees were transferred to the external iron cages built outside the IPS transition facility in Ramla,’ the PDO wrote on its website.

‘It turns out that this procedure, under which prisoners waited outside in cages, lasted for several months, and was verified by other officials.’

According to the Jerusalem Post, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni called for the practice of keeping children in cages to be stopped as soon as she learned of it, and the prison service issued a statement saying the situation had been improved following the ‘criticism’.

The PCATI said this was not enough, and called for the county’s relatively high threshold for what can be classed ‘acts of abuse’ to be lowered in the case of children.

Their report argued: ‘Torture is a means of attacking an individual’s fundamental modes of psychological and social functioning’ as described in the Istanbul Protocol. Furthermore, ‘torture can impact a child directly or indirectly. The impact can be due to the child’s having been tortured or detained, the torture of parents or close family members or witnessing torture and violence.’

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