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Palestinian teens detail their torture at the hands of Israeli authorities

Feb. 14, 2017 6:37 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 16, 2017 4:46 P.M.)
(File)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinian teenagers held in Israel’s Ofer detention center have been shot, abused, and tortured during their detention and interrogation by Israeli authorities, according to a statement released Tuesday by the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs.

Lawyer for the committee Hussein al-Araj said that 17-year-old Musab Muhammad Ghneimat from Surif in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron and 16-year-old Ayad Amr from Dura in the Hebron district told him they were tortured in Israeli custody.

Ghneimat was was shot and injured in the foot by Israeli forces on Oct. 23, 2015, after he allegedly stabbed an Israeli soldier.

He told the lawyer that after soldiers claimed he carried out a stabbing attack, they chased after him and shot him in the foot, immobilizing him. When he stopped, an Israeli soldier fired two rounds on the ground near him and a third at his wounded foot from point-blank range.

Minutes later, he added, an Israeli ambulance arrived to evacuate him. "I almost fainted, but the soldiers kept hitting me on the shoulder to keep me awake."

He said that he was then taken to Israel’s Hadassah hospital ,where he was held for 18 days, saying he was interrogated before receiving treatment for his injuries.

The interrogator, he said, kept "shouting at me and treating me badly.” He was then moved to a prison hospital at the Ramla detention center, before being transferred to Ofer detention center.

Similarly, 16-year-old Ayad Amr told al-Araj he was detained on Jan. 1 after Israeli soldiers broke into and ransacked his house during a predawn raid.

He said he was handcuffed and blindfolded before Israeli forces “dragged” him into a military truck, with soldiers cursing him using "immoral phrases" as they drove to the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba in Hebron, where he was interrogated.

After two hours of interrogation, when he said the Israeli officer shouted and cursed at him, he was taken to Gush Etzion detention center for a few hours, then taken to the Russian Compound in occupied East Jerusalem where he was interrogated at length as well.

Four hours later, he was finally moved to Ofer detention center.

Ofer detention center is one of the most common sites used by Israel for the interrogation of Palestinian children. Last October, the committee reported that the “overwhelming majority” of Palestinian minors held in Israel’s Megiddo and Ofer prisons were tortured during their detention and interrogation.

Last week, a video was shared on social media documenting the violent detention of 14-year-old Ali Jawarish while he was walking home from school in Bethlehem's Aida refugee camp, which shows soldiers aggressively throwing the boy into the back of the jeep. Witnesses told Ma’an they saw the soldiers continue to beat the boy while he was inside the vehicle, before he was taken to the Russian Compound and ultimately to Ofer.

The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs also reported on Monday that 15-year-old Ahmad al-Khadour has been medically neglected while being held inside Ofer detention center, and that the child has been suffering from leukemia for the past three years and has also suffered from a stroke, feet problems, intense dizziness, and muscle contractions in his fingers.

Rights groups have also widely documented the mistreatment, neglect, abuse, and torture of Palestinian minors in detention, and the harsh interrogation practices used to force their confessions.

Defense for Children International - Palestine has said their research showed that almost two-thirds of Palestinian children detained in the occupied West Bank by Israeli forces had endured physical violence after their arrest.
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