police arrest handcuffs suspect cops criminal 311 (R).
(photo credit: Benoit Tessier / Reuters)
The police are investigating eight complaints of alleged abuse against
Palestinian minors during interrogations at the police station in the West Bank
region of Gush Etzion, the non-governmental group B’Tselem said.
November 2009, it said, it had documented 64 such cases in interrogations at
that station, of which it sent 31 complaints to the Justice Ministry’s Police
Similar reports are not made at other Judea and
Samaria Police stations in the West Bank, said B’Tselem spokeswoman Sarit
“The high number of reports B’Tselem has received regarding
violent interrogations at the Etzion station, and the fact that they span
several years, gives rise to heavy suspicion that this is not a case of a single
interrogator who chose to use illegal interrogation methods, but rather an
entire apparatus that backs him up and allows such conduct to take place,”
But she said that her organization has only filed 11
complaints, because in many cases the families opt not to press charges against
Out of the 64 cases they documented, she said, 33 families
did not want to complained and another 20 dropped their complaints after they
In some cases it’s a trust issue, she said. In others, she
added, the families feared security forces would seek retribution against them
by denying family members work permits.
Out of the 11, the police closed
three of the cases but are investigating the remaining eight, she
The Judea and Samaria police said that once the eight
investigations were completed they would know how to act. But they downplayed
B’Tselem’s overall report.
“Israel police investigations are mostly
documented and filmed, that information in its entirety is passed with full
transparency to the defense attorneys’ handling and is presented in court,” the
It remarked that “the fact not a single indictment had been
filed in any of those instances, speaks for itself.”
But B’Tselem said
that the minors complained that violence had been used against them to force
their confessions to stone throwing, and that in some cases it alleged police
actions amounted to torture.
It added that some of the minors “reported
being threatened with sexual assault, harm to family members or electrocution.
Some of the minors claimed that their initial confession was taken by an
interrogator in civilian clothes, and that an official, recorded interrogation
began only after they confessed to having thrown stones.”
In one of the
testimonies B’Tselem provided the media, a Palestinian minor complained he was
blindfolded and his hands were tied. The teen said the police took him out of
the car and tied him to a tree.
“Then they raised my cuffed hands and
tied them to the tree, too. It hurt a lot. ‘Daud’ started punching
me. After a few minutes, he took out a gun and said: ‘I’ll murder you if
you don’t confess! Out here, no one will find you. We’ll kill you and leave you
here,’” the teen recounted.