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Harsh Interrogations of Children Escalate in Nabi Saleh

31 January 2011 | Popular Struggle Coordination Committee

14 year old Islam Tamimi was arrested in a night raid on Sunday 23 January 2011 and subjected to psychological torture in order to extract dictated false testimony that will be used to incriminate and prosecute villagers in Nabi Saleh.

In an escalation of the repression of unarmed demonstration in the West Bank, 14 year old Islam Tamimi was seized from his home and arrested at 0200 on Sunday 23 January 2011 . It was the second time in roughly three weeks that he was taken by Israeli soldiers. The soldiers applied stress position techniques on the 14 year old boy, hoping to force his psychological collapse. The exhausted child was then taken to an unnamed police station where he was interrogated without his parents or a lawyer present. During an eight hour interrogation and after prolonged exposure and sleep deprivation, Tamimi capitulated to the army’s dictated script. The army interrogators continued to attack Tamimi with psychological torture in order to extract more false testimony about demonstrations in Nabi Saleh.

Tamimi’s lawyers were in contact with a police interrogator and military officials immediately after the arrest. However, lawyers only gained access to the child after five hours of interrogation. Tamimi’s parents, who have the right to be present when a child is under investigation according to international law, Israeli law and precedents in the Israeli military court of appeals, were denied access to their son.

A military judge, Major Hilbraun, extended Tamimi’s arrest for four days at the request of the police. Defense lawyers filed an appeal requesting that the child be immediately released due to the unlawful conduct of the police and military. However, the request was ignored and Tamimi’s hearing only took place on Wednesday 26 January 2011. The military judge stated in the court that he would give a decision on rather to reprimand Tamimi on Wednesday. The decision was never published and was brought to court Thursday 27 January 2011 according to the original request and without any reference to appeal of defense lawyers. Tamimi is currently waiting to hear if an appeal to allow him to be moved to house arrest will be honored by the court.

Since Sunday 23 January 2011, three 15 year old children have been arrested in night raids in Nabi Saleh. Bassem Tamimi, the popular committee leader of the village, was briefly detained on Wednesday 26 January 2011 near a checkpoint in Ramallah. He was brought by soldiers, who repeatedly beat him, to Nabi Saleh. He was warned that the army is aware of his role in the village demonstrations and will keep an eye on him during the upcoming Friday demonstration.

The repression of Nabi Saleh in the form of arresting children and subjecting them to psychological torture in order to get false information has been used by the army in other villages such as Bil’in and Ni’ilin. The popular committee leader of Bil’in, Abdallah Abu Rahmah, has been in jail for over 13 months for a charge of incitement which was based on dictated false testimonies from a number of children from the village. The army is attempting to use the same method in Nabi Saleh in order to crush the demonstrations.

Nabi Saleh, a small village west of Ramallah, has engaged in an unarmed demonstration against the confiscation of their land by the neighboring Jewish settlement of Halamish for the past year There have been countless injuries, arrests and collective punishment against the village over the past year as the army has tried to crush the protest.