Israeli police have threatened and intimidated Palestinian children held in custody, a leading human rights group said Monday. Human Rights Watch said in a statement that Israeli treatment of Palestinian minors, including being interrogated without a parent present, violated international laws.
Sari Bashi, HRW’s Israel and Palestine director, said the experiences “would terrify and traumatize an adult” and that even though there was concern over increasing numbers of children allegedly involved in attacks against Israelis, arrested children should be treated with “the humanity and dignity that all children deserve.”
In six cases documented by the group, there were examples of children being interviewed without their parents present and being hit by officers having to sit outside in the cold in the early morning.
Israeli Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Anadolu Agency the report was “absolutely inaccurate and misleading.”
“Whenever there are major crimes and assaults, suspects are arrested and [interviews are] recorded and written down and filmed with lawyers who are present,” said Rosenfeld.
There are more than 400 Palestinian children in Israeli prisons, according to Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer, with more than half of them arrested since an outbreak of violence in October that has killed 202 Palestinians and 33 Israelis or foreigners.