Urgent Interventions

Israel: Palestinian children still being tortured in Israeli prisons

Case ISR 050401.1.CC
Follow up of case ISR 050401.CC

The International Secretariat of OMCT has received new information regarding the following situation in Israel.

New information

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI), a member of the OMCT network, and by another reliable source that Palestinian children are still submitted to torture and ill-treatment while being interrogated by Israeli forces.

OMCT has been informed that these violations of human rights are continuing to occur, despite the Israeli Minister of Justice, Meir Sheetrit, having contacted the OMCT International Secretariat in order to deny these allegations and claim that Israel has never resorted to such practices.

According to PCATI, children, mostly 14 to 17 years old, have been violently arrested by the security forces using such means as beatings, kicking, verbal abuse, humiliation and threats, and apparently have been interrogated illegally. During their detention, the minors were held with adult criminals and were exposed to rape, sexual harassment, theft, threats and constant physical and psychological violence.

According to the same source, the children are reportedly subjected to sleep deprivation spanning, continuous and long interrogation, painful manacling of the hands and feet, pouring of freezing cold water on the detainee and preventing him from changing his clothing for a long period of time, covering the head with a sack, shooting the detainee with small plastic bullets from point blanc range, placing weights on the detainee's shoulders for an extended period of time, dunking his head in ice water, humiliation and threats.

According to Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI – PS) , torture and ill treatment mainly occur during interrogation. Generally, once the child leaves interrogation, the treatment improves, although there are frequent cases of ill treatment occurring beyond the interrogation phase. To DCI – PS’ knowledge, no investigation has been opened so far on these cases.

According to DCI – PS, some of the children who were submitted to such treatment have problems reintegrating after their release. Some of them have difficulty finding and maintaining employment, difficulty returning to school, often resulting in school dropouts, and psychosocial disorders related to the prison experience.

Approximately 185 children are still detained by the Israeli military authorities.

Brief reminder of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT had been informed by a reliable source that children had been subjected to torture during arrest, interrogation and imprisonment by the Israeli authorities.

Of utmost concern was the situation of juvenile detainees in Telmond prison, where Palestinian children were allegedly being detained with adult Israeli criminal prisoners. There had been one documented case of three Israeli prisoners attempting to rape a Palestinian child detainee. There had been several recorded incidents of physical abuse by criminal detainees, including: five cases of children who had received injuries inflicted by razors; several cases of scalding with boiling water; and numerous beatings. Two recorded cases of the theft of personal belongings had also been recorded. In all of these cases, the Prison Administration had failed to take appropriate action and the Israeli authorities had so far ignored requests made by human rights organisations on behalf of the Palestinian children.

The same source also reported that children were allegedly routinely beaten and forced to endure various forms of position abuse, such as being shackled to a chair or forced to squat for long periods of time, and this threatened both their physical and psychological integrity.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Israel urging them to:

1. put an immediate end to all forms of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, in accordance with national and international legislation;
2. take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of all children being arrested and detained in Israel;
3. place the children in separate section from criminal and adult prisoners, except when it is in the best interests of the child to detain them together;
4. guarantee an immediate investigation into the alleged use of illegal interrogation methods and physical abuse on the children, identify those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;
5. ensure physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of the child victims of torture and ill-treatment;
6. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms of all children throughout the country in accordance with national and international human rights standards, in particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister, Office of the Prime Minister, 3 Kaplan Street, Jerusalem 91007, Israel. Fax:(+ 972 2)566 48 38 / 691 79 15 E-mail: or

Meir Shitrit, Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice, 29 Salah al-Din Street, Jerusalem 91029, State of Israel. Fax:(+ 972 2) 62 8 54 38 or Fax: ++ 972 2 628 8618 Email:

Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Minister of Defense, Ministry of Defense, 7 "A" Street, Hakirya, Tel Aviv, Israel. Fax:(+972-3)691 69 40, e-mail:

Eli Yishai, Minister of the Interior, Ministry of the Interior, Fax: 00972 2 670 1411 Email:

Minister of Police, Ministry of Police, PO Box 18182, 3 Sheikh Jarrah, Kiryat Hamemshala, Jerusalem 91181, State of Israel. Fax:(+ 972 2)582 67 69

Shimon Peres, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fax:(+ 972 2) 530 3704

The Supreme Court of Justice, Kiryat Ben Gurion, Jerusalem, Israel. Fax: (+ 972 2) 652 71 18

Uzi Landau, Minister of Internal Security, Ministry of Internal Security P.O Box 18182, 3 Sheirkh Jarrah, Kiryat Hamemshala jerusalem, 91181, Israel. Fax: (+ 972 2) 582 67 69, E-mail :

Please also write to the embassies of Israel in your respective country.

Geneva, July 3, 2001

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.