Saturday, May 14, 2011

UN Special Rapporteur on torture to give expert opinion on the arrest of minors in Israeli military court

10 May 2011 | Popular Struggle Coordination Committee
The Special Rapporteur’s expert opinion will be filed to the Ofer Military Court by the defense next Monday in a pre-trial hearing in the case of 14 year-old Islam Dar Ayyoub who was taken from his bed at gun-point by Israeli soldiers in the middle of the night and questioned unlawfully.
14 year-old Islam Dar Ayyoub was arrested on January 23 by a large group of soldiers who stormed his family’s home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh in the middle of the night. He was taken from his bed at gunpoint , beaten up by the soldiers who arrested him and denied him sleep. His arrest, only a week after a previous military night-time raid on his house, is in line with a common Israeli tactic of callously arresting minors in order to use their confessions against many others in the quest to suppress anti occupation demonstrations.
In addition to the report prepared by the Special Rapporteur in regards to such unjustified arrests of minors in night-time military operations, defense witnesses will also include Adv. Lymor Goldstine on the denial of legal counsel, a psychiatrist’s expert opinion on the psychological effects of such arrests, as well as the testimony of the 14 year-old himself.
Despite being a minor, Dar Ayyoub was questioned by the Israeli police the following morning for nearly five hours, without being allowed sleep since his arrest. He was denied his right to legal counsel even while his lawyer was present at the police station, as well as his right to have a parent present during his questioning.
During a previous hearing in the defense’s motion to declare his confession inadmissible, it was proved that Dar Ayyoub was not informed of his right to remain silent, and even told that “It would be best to tell the truth” by his interrogators. It was also acknowledged that only one of his four interrogators was qualified as a youth interrogator.
Due to the fundamental flaws in Dar Ayyoub’s interrogation, the court has ordered his release from custody on April 4th. While no longer behind bars, the military prosecution refuses to drop the charges against him, apparently because his confession is used as the main evidence in the trials of many others.
During his interrogation, Dar Ayyoub confessed to having thrown stones at Israeli soldiers during the weekly demonstrations against settlement expansion in his village, Nabi Saleh. He also implicated many others in committing similar offenses. Among those incriminated by his confession are grassroots organizers Bassem Tamimi and Naji Tamimi. Dar Ayyoub told his interrogators a fictitious story alleging that the two organized groups of youth into “brigades”, each with its own responsibility during the demonstrations: some have allegedly been in charge of stone-throwing, some of blocking roads, others of distracting the army and so on. The two have been arrested and indicted mostly based on his statement, and are currently awaiting trial.

Updated on May 10, 2011