Israel holding over 300 Palestinian minors in prison

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16-year-old Ahed Tamimi listens to her lawyer under a guard’s watchful eye before a hearing at Ofer military prison, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Jan 15, 2018. (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

There are hundreds of Palestinian children like Ahed Tamimi, held without bail until the end of their trials.

By Joshua Leifer | +972 Magazine | Jan 21, 2018


“The routine decision, prior to sentencing, to imprison a person who has not been convicted until the end of legal proceedings, in fact empties the legal process of substance.”
— Amit Gilutz, B’Tselem spokesperson


While the case of Ahed Tamimi has garnered international media attention, the Israeli military prison system’s treatment of Ahed and her mother is not unique. Israel Prison Service (IPS) statistics published by Israeli anti-occupation organization B’Tselem earlier in January reveal that Israel is holding over 300 Palestinian minors in prison. Over 180 of those minors are being held in detention until the end of legal proceedings, without having been convicted, like Tamimi.

According to IPS data handed over to B’Tselem, as of the end of November 2017 there were 5,881 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, of whom 1,775 were being detained until the conclusion of legal proceedings. Over 400 were administrative detainees, including three women and two minors (aged 16 and 18). Administrative detention is a measure Israel uses to detain Palestinians (and some Jews) indefinitely without charge or trial. It is meant to be adopted rarely and with moderation. In practice, however, Israel uses administrative detention as a first, not last, resort.

In total, 2,200 Palestinians were being held in Israeli jails without having been convicted of any crime.

The data shows a sharp increase in the number of imprisoned minors over the past three years. In December 2014, there were 181 Palestinian minors in Israeli jails. By December 2015, that number had jumped to 477. The total number of Palestinian administrative detainees peaked in April of 2016 at 692.

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