Monday, April 23, 2007

[wvns] 380 Palestinian Child Prisoners Remembered

Tuesday 17 April 2007 marked Palestinian Prisoner's Day.

The following facts were extracted from information provided by The
Palestine Section of Defense Children International in an 18 April
2007 press release.


Facts about Palestinian Child Prisoners
www.prisonlegalnews.org


Currently there are approximately 380 Palestinian children in Israeli
prisons.

Many of these children are awaiting trial or sentence, and others are
serving lengthy periods of imprisonment for minor offences such as
stone throwing.

Palestinian children are subjected to the same arrest, interrogation,
trial and imprisonment procedures as adults.

Palestinian children under the arrest of Israeli soldiers are not
advised of their rights, are not given immediate access to a lawyer or
contact with a parent, guardian, other adult relative or an
independent support person.

Palestinian children are deprived of the right to a family visit while
held in a detention center for interrogation. This can last several
weeks. But even after the conclusion of interrogation, a Palestinian
child may remain in a detention center for an indefinite period where
family visits are not allowed.

Palestinian children can be deprived a visit from a lawyer while under
interrogation for "security reasons" and this can last up to 90 days
under Israeli military law.

In a number of circumstances, a Palestinian child may only meet his
lawyer for the first time at the first court appearance in the
Military Court .

Most Palestinian children are detained from the moment of their arrest
until the end of legal proceedings. They are usually arrested in their
homes in the middle of the night and are rarely granted bail by the
Military Court .

Palestinian children are interrogated in detention centers and in many
circumstances are assaulted, beaten and tortured during the
interrogation process. Torture methods include psychological threats
of harm to or imprisonment of family members.

The Military Court (both the judiciary and the prosecution) relies
heavily on the confession of a Palestinian child with no rules of
evidence. A confession is the main piece of information or "evidence"
used against a Palestinian child in the Military Court . It is often
obtained by coercion during the interrogation process. A confession is
in effect, the prosecutor's case and can also be used to implicate
other Palestinian child prisoners both in Court proceedings and in
interrogation.

The confession, regardless of how it has been obtained, forms the
basis of the indictment against the child. It is what the child has to
respond to in entering a guilty or not guilty plea before the Military
Court . There are no civilian, forensic or military personnel witness
statements, whether oral or written, presented to the Military Court
or a Palestinian child's Defense lawyer before this plea is entered.
In effect, this shifts the burden of proof on the Defense making it
extremely difficult to challenge a confession.

All Palestinian children brought before the Israeli military court are
sentenced to a term of imprisonment. Israel uses imprisonment as a
measure of first resort for Palestinian children; there are very few
cases of children who receive alternative sentences.

During their imprisonment, Palestinian children are exposed to varying
forms of punishment for minor offences including being placed in
solitary confinement, deprivation from family visits, financial
penalties withdrawn from their prison accounts, and ongoing
restrictions to going outdoors. Palestinian child prisoners also do
not have the same rights as Israeli child prisoners, for example they
do not have the right to make telephone calls.

For further information, visit DCI's website at

http://www.dci-pal.org/english/home.cfm


Paul Wright, Editor

Prison Legal News

972 Putney Rd. # 251

Brattleboro, VT 05301

802-257-1342

pwright @ prisonlegalnews.org

Seattle Office:

Prison Legal News

2400 NW 80th St. # 148

Seattle, WA 98117

206-246-1022

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