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Palestinian children in Israeli custody victims of 'forced confession'

Feb. 11, 2015 7:00 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 13, 2015 8:09 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian children being held in Israeli military custody following their arrest are falling victim to abuse designed to coerce confessions, a children's rights group said this week.

"The Israeli military detention system subjects Palestinian children to several days of prolonged interrogation and isolation with the apparent goal of obtaining a confession at all costs," said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at Defense for Children International Palestine, on Monday.

"The military courts admit these coerced confessions as evidence to convict these children in a complete mockery of due process and fair trial standards."

DCIP said Monday that in 2014 Palestinian children spent an average of 15 days in solitary confinement following their arrest.

In one case a child was kept in isolation for a total of 26 days for interrogation purpose, the report said.

Over 54 children were held in solitary confinement between 2012 and 2014, and Palestinian children have no right to be accompanied by an adult.

Research by the group showed that children arrive at Israeli interrogation centers blindfolded, bound and sleep deprived and over 75 percent endured some form of physical violence between the period of their arrest and interrogation.

In 2014, over 25 percent of Palestinian children signed statements in Hebrew, a language they do not understand.

The majority of Palestinian children are detained and charged for throwing stones.

In a report released in February 2013, the UN children's agency UNICEF criticized Israel for its treatment of arrested Palestinian children, saying their interrogation mixes "intimidation, threats and physical violence, with the clear purpose of forcing the child to confess."
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