HRW Slams Israel's Abusive Practices Against Palestinians

HRW Slams Israel's Abusive Practices Against PalestiniansHRW Slams Israel's Abusive Practices Against Palestinians

Human Rights Watch on Monday accused Israel of "abusive arrests" of Palestinian children as young as 11 and of using threats to force them to sign confessions.

Israeli authorities failed to inform parents of their children's arrest or whereabouts, the New York-based watchdog added, drawing on accounts of several children detained during intense unrest in east Beit-ul-Moqaddas (Jerusalem) and the West Bank late last year, AFP reported.

HRW's Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson urged the US to pressure its fierce ally to end what it called long-standing "abusive practices."

The rights group issued the accusations as US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter began a visit to Israel.

"Israeli security forces have used unnecessary force to arrest or detain Palestinian children," it said in a report giving details of the "abusive arrests" of six children.

"Forces have choked children, thrown stun grenades at them, beaten them in custody, threatened and interrogated them without the presence of parents or lawyers and failed to let their parents know their whereabouts."

In one case, 11-year-old Rashid S., who was arrested in east Beit-ul-Moqaddas in November, said officers put a bag over his head, kicked him and verbally abused him in Arabic, according to the rights group.

Also in the West Bank, 14-year-old girl Malak al-Khatib was violently arrested on suspicion of throwing stones at a road used by Jewish settlers, HRW quoted her mother as saying.

In every case HRW documented, the Palestinian families said Israeli authorities "did not inform parents of the child's arrest and interrogated the children without permitting them to speak to a parent or lawyer prior to the interrogation".

Three children "said they signed confessions written in Hebrew, a language they do not understand, after interrogators threatened them."