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Abuse of Palestinian minors exceeds statistics, say Israeli rights outfits
Sunday February 23, 2014 8:15 PM, IINA

Two Israeli human rights organizations on Thursday criticized the new statistics on treatment of Palestinian minors revealed by the Israeli army's chief prosecutor in West Bank.

Israel Army abuse

Attorney Emily Schaeffer of Yesh Din, Volunteers for Human Rights, told the daily Jerusalem Post that "the number of incidents of abuses committed by Israeli army personnel greatly exceeds that of complaints filed."

Schaeffer emphasized the difficulty of "providing testimony about a traumatic incident to an investigator" who wears "the same uniform as the alleged abuser."

She added that most Palestinians knew that "the majority of complaints filed to the MPCID (Israeli Military Police Criminal Investigation Department) do not result in indictments."

Schaeffer cited 2012 statistics that only 32.5 percent of complaints filed with the MPCID led to criminal investigations, and none resulted in indictments.

She added that the Palestinians had access problems and the Israeli should view the small number of complaints as a sign that it needs to be more accessible.

For her part, the executive director of B'Tselem, the Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Jessica Montell said "the number of complaints is not an effective measure of ill treatment, considering the way the military investigation system works (or doesn't) it's hardly surprising that Palestinians do not complain about ill treatment."

Montell said that the "figure of 15 percent of cases closed does not necessarily point to proper consideration."

She added that reviewing cases for sufficient evidence and closing them when necessary is a basic action that prosecutors must take.

The B'Tselem's official called the evidence needed to convict in a military court minimal and questioned whether the minors whose cases were closed should have been arrested at all. She criticized "lumping together offenses ranging from murder to stone-throwing."

This makes the 82 percent of crimes involving minors being violent in nature "meaningless," she said.

B'Tselem said recently that Israel violates the rights of Palestinian minors charged with stone-throwing.

The organization said that 93 percent of the teens and youths convicted of hurling stones were sentenced to prison terms, including 19 children under the age of 14. Israeli law does in fact forbid the imprisonment of children of that age, but military law allows it, B'Tselem said.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club (Nadi Al-Asir) said that Israel is still holding 215 Palestinian children in its jails under "difficult and painful circumstances".

The club said that "the Palestinian children are staying in very difficult circumstances in the Israeli jails, are being violated during their arrests, during their interrogations and during their court proceedings."

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