Jerusalem: Dozens of Palestinian children are being held within the walls of their homes in East Jerusalem, by order of the Israeli authorities, while waiting to go on trial.
This practice, denounced by organisations such as Defence for Children International Palestine, (DCIP), "have serious consequences for their education and mental health," noting that many house arrests last several weeks, while there are teenagers who spend months without being able to leave their homes, or even go to school.
Most of the time the boys are accused of acts such as throwing stones at Israeli forces or civilians.
Fifteen-year-old Mohamed Mustafa spends his "boring" days, he said, sleeping, watching movies or killing time with his friends in his house in al-Issawiya, East Jerusalem, since he was placed under house arrest for eight months into the custody of his parents and now jailers, Moussa and Fatima.
After missing the last school year, thanks to judicial permission, this week he may leave home to go to class in the mornings, always under parental custody until his trial is held in October, postponed from June.
He was accused of participating in riots and stone throwing, charges he denies.
"The use of house arrest is not connected with the enforcement of a sentence: the children have not been officially charged with any crime, but they are arrested and released if they agree to the condition of house arrest before the trial," Olivia Watson, DCIP representative, told EFE.
This measure causes "stress" and "tension" in families because parents become guardians of children who leave school and their routines and see themselves "limited in movement and socialization for prolonged periods in cases which, in the long term, can have harmful psychological effects."
The figures are unclear, lawyers from Addameer the Palestinian NGO for prisoner support told EFE, adding that the arrests occur for short periods and are difficult to count because of administrative obstacles.
In just four months between June and September 2014, according to the NGO, there were at least 26 cases of children held in their homes for periods generally between one and three weeks.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told EFE he had no statistics.
Some children also reported ill-treatment during their stay in police stations. Mohamed said that during his house arrest, one morning seven policemen came to his house, ordered him to get dressed, tied his hands and feet, put him in a car and took him to the detention center where he was held in January.