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Palestinian minor briefly detained, assaulted in custody in East Jerusalem

Sept. 4, 2016 5:23 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 4, 2016 10:56 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces briefly detained and assaulted a Palestinian minor Saturday evening in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Tur, local sources told Ma’an.

Locals said 16-year-old Jamal al-Zaatari was released Saturday evening after he was detained by Jerusalem police for several hours. During his detention, Israeli forces pepper sprayed and beat Jamal, resulting in injuries to his face, back, and feet, in addition to several bruises.

An Israeli police spokesperson told Ma’an they could not confirm or comment on the alleged assault.

Cases of a abuse and mistreatment of Palestinian children, specifically in occupied East Jerusalem, by Israeli forces have been well-documented and widely condemned for years.

Last month, two Palestinian minors were tortured, abused, and medically neglected in Israeli custody, one of which after being shot at point-blank range when Israeli forces detained them for rock throwing, according to testimonies collected by their lawyer.

A report released recently by BADIL, a Palestinian NGO, warned of an increasing trend of Israeli forces shooting and injuring Palestinian youth -- particularly in the knees and legs -- during the near-nightly detention raids carried across the occupied West Bank.

Defense for Children International - Palestine (DCIP) has also extensively documented the abuse of Palestinians children in East Jerusalem by Israeli forces and the harsh interrogation practices used to force their confessions.

Despite “on paper” having more rights than Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank who are subject to a draconian military detention system, in practice, Jerusalem minors “do not enjoy their enshrined rights” under the Israeli civilian court system, according to DCIP.

Out of 65 cases documented by DCIP in 2015, "more than a third of Jerusalem youth were arrested at night (38.5 percent), the vast majority (87.7 percent) were restrained during arrest, and only a slim minority of children (10.8 percent) had a parent or lawyer present during interrogation."

Interrogations of Palestinian children can last up to 90 days according to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, during which in addition to being beaten and threatened, cases of sexual assault, and placement in solitary confinement to elicit confessions are also often reported, while confession documents they are forced to sign are in Hebrew -- a language most Palestinian children do not speak.

According to the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, as of mid August, Israeli forces detained 560 children from occupied East Jerusalem alone since the beginning of 2016, and 110 minors were still being held in Israeli prisons, including four girls and 10 boys in juvenile detention centers.

Elsewhere in occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli forces reportedly detained four Palestinians on Sunday from the Bab Hutta area of the Old City, and from the Shufat neighborhood. The detentions could not immediately be confirmed by Israeli police.

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