Kristine L Ming

NGO accuses Israel of torturing Palestinian children during winter storm

An NGO on Tuesday accused the state of torturing Palestinian children suspected of minor crimes, including placing them in outdoor cages during the worst of the recent storm, and other acts to terrify the children.

The practice of placing the children in outdoor cages was only halted when Justice Minister Tzipi Livni learned of it and immediately telephoned Public Security Minister Yitzha Aharonovich to end the practice.

International law does little to define torture in a binding manner and groups
advocating against torture often argue that ill treatment should also be defined as torture.

The NGO, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), said that the issue was a constant one, but that it was drawing special attention to the issue in light of Tuesday’s hearing in the Knesset’s Public Petitions Committee on related issues and a recent report on the subject by the Public Defender’s Office.

According to the Public Defender’s Office, the situation came to light during a standard visit to the Lod prison at the height of the storm, with the children enduring freezing temperatures and inclement weather.

The children were to be held outside for a number of hours overnight after their arrest until they were to be brought to court in the early morning.

Livni’s office confirmed that she had personally intervened.

It was unclear who initiated the practice or decided to continue it despite the adverse weather conditions.

PCATI said that the practice was just one example of the torture and ill treatment of Palestinian children by law enforcement.

It cited the Istanbul Protocol Manual which discusses various authorities illegally using torture or ill treatment to extract information from children.

PCATI did also say that it is actively campaigning to redefine “torture” at a lower threshold of abuse when it comes to children.

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Article source: http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=336685&R=R2

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