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10-year-old Palestinian boy jailed for 11 hours

Ali Waked | YNet News

15 November 2009

Hussam Faisal Muhana, 10, heeded the calls made on Saturday over the loudspeakers throughout his village of Deir al-Ghusun near Tulkarem encouraging residents to participate in a demonstration against the separation fence.

Together with other children and youth from the village, he went to the demonstration. The children threw stones at the security forces that clashed with the demonstrators. Despite his young age, Muhana was arrested. “There were two soldiers there who beat me in the legs with a club. After that, they took me to Ariel,” the boy told Ynet the day after his arrest.

Still in shock, he didn’t know whether he was taken to a police station or to a military base. “In Ariel, they started to ask me, ‘Why do you throw stones?’ I told them, ‘Just because.’”

After his family and human rights groups learned that he had been arrested, they phoned the military and the police. “They took him to the Jabara Checkpoint. From there they told a taxi driver to take him home,” recounted the father, Abu Tarek. According to him, the driver was not from the village “and Hussam directed him how to get to our home.”

The father said that his son was in complete shock even the day after. “He arrived home after 10 pm, nearly 11 hours after he had been arrested. This is his first experience with the police and military. We didn’t even know that he went to the procession,” he said.

“He returned in shock and went immediately to sleep. This morning he also woke up very late, not like he usually does. Fortunately, there is a day off from school today because of the anniversary of the declaration of independence, so he can recover at home.”

Hussam himself said in a timid voice that he soldiers gave him water to drink and a pita with labaneh during the long hours of his arrest. According to him, the soldiers did not threaten him or curse him, “except for the blows they dealt me when they arrested me.”

Dozens of Palestinians, Israelis, and activists from around the world took part in the demonstration at which Hussam was arrested. According to the demonstrators, 18 people were arrested. The IDF, on the other hand, claims that only six people were arrested for lightly damaging the external gate of the separation fence.

The IDF reported that it is investigating the issue of Hussam Muhana’s arrest.