Amnesty International Report: The torture of children -- the world's secret shame

From:    ai-news@amnesty.org [SMTP:ai-news@amnesty.org]

 * News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International *

8 December 2000
ACT 40/040/2000
230/00

     Children are entangled in the web of the current conflict in Israel and the Occupied Territories. So far the Israelis
have killed at least 90 Palestinian children. Hundreds of Palestinian children, as well as some Israeli children, have been
injured.
Palestinian children have often been arrested late at night  or early in the morning and interrogated soon after they
reached the police station. Some were handcuffed following arrest and  during interrogation, reportedly beaten by police officers,  intimidated and subjected to extreme psychological pressure.

     At about 2am on 24 October, a dozen Israeli police, armed with machine guns, came to arrest Bakr Sa'id, a 15 year old
boy, at his home in Kufar Kana. Four armed police officers went to where Bakr Sa'id was sleeping and arrested the boy. Bakr
Sa'id was reportedly interrogated for several hours in the early morning by three interrogators in civilian clothes who  shouted
and threatened him. Later in the day he was brought to court, but his father was not allowed to speak to him. Another
detainee in court said he saw a police officer slap Bakr Sa'id in the  face.

Sexual Abuse in Custody

Boys and girls in custody are vulnerable to rape and sexual abuse, both from state agents and other inmates.  Many
children try to hide the fact that they have been raped, others are  simply too embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it and many cases gounreported and unpunished.

     N.C.S., a 16-year-old Kurdish girl was detained with  her friend at police headquarters in Iskenderun, Turkey, in
March 1999. She was forced to stand continuously for two days, prevented from using the toilet and only given sour milk to
drink. During the interrogation she was beaten on the head, genitals, buttocks and breasts, forced to roll naked in
water, suspended by the arms and hosed with pressurized cold  water. She was also subjected to a "virginity test". N.C.S. was
sentenced to a long prison term after being charged with being a member  of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), but typically none of the  police officers have so far been brought to justice.

[John]  Note:  Turkey is a military ally of Israel, which  is why the United States media censor the news of  atrocities against the Kurds.

     Amnesty International is calling on governments around the world to publicly condemn the torture of children
whenever it occurs, investigate all allegations of torture, ensure it  is expressly prohibited in law and that torturers are brought
to justice.  The leaders of armed opposition groups should  also make clear to their forces that torture is unacceptable.

     "The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world, but  governments continue to fail to live up to the principles and  commitments it contains. By allowing the violence against children to  continue,
we put at risk our future," the organization said.

     Members of the public can join Amnesty International's Campaign Against Torture by registering online at www.stoptorture.org