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* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International *
8 December 2000
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
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