Child detention and abuse whilst under detention is an issue constantly raised by SNPFoP, SNP Parliamentarians and the many NGOs and solidarity groups we work with.
Back in April, 15-year-old Palestinian schoolgirl Natali Shoukha was shot by Israeli forces for allegedly attempting to
carry out a stabbing attack.
Natali was rushed to hospital and treated for the gunshot wounds she received, and then when she was deemed fit enough she was transported to an Israeli military detention facility outwith Palestine… in itself a breach of the Geneva Convention.
Yesterday at Ofer Military Court, only recently visited by an SNP delegation, this 15 year old Palestinian Child was sentenced to one and a half years imprisonment in an Israeli prison.
Children in detention as of 31 August 2016 – 319
The matter of guilt or innocence is not being questioned here * … it is not for us to make assumptions. That is for others who are better equipped to do so and better informed of the case.
No, what is on trial here alongside this child is the very system whereby the Israeli military occupation forces can take children, some as young as 9, from their family, and detain them without charge indefinitely in another country… a serious breach of the Geneva Convention** and defined as a War Crime in itself.
‘Israel is the only country in the world that automatically prosecutes children in military courts that lack basic and fundamental fair trial guarantees. Since 2000, at least 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and prosecuted in an Israeli military detention system notorious for the systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children.’
These children will often be held in solitary confinement and may not be allowed to see their parents for months.
These children will be repeatedly interrogated by Israeli security forces and endure treatment deemed tortuous by many NGOs. This treatment leaves many of these children with emotional scars which they will live with for a lifetime.***
* Although most detainees plead guilty because this is the quickest way out of a system that rarely grants bail. – DCI-Palestine
** After sentencing, nearly 60% of Palestinian child detainees are transferred from occupied territory to prisons inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The practical consequence of this is that many of them receive either limited or no family visits due to freedom of movement restrictions and the time it takes to issue a permit to visit the prisons. – DCI-Palestine
*** See here for such an example.