Palestinians protest to UN over detention of 9-year-old from East Jerusalem

The boy was detained for eight hours after police claimed he was throwing rocks at a bus.

By Nir Hasson | Haaretz | May 4, 2015 |


The Palestinian Authority has complained to the United Nations Security Council after a 9-year-old boy from East Jerusalem was illegally detained by police last week. The minor was held for eight hours after the police said he had thrown rocks at a bus. The boy, A.Z., was detained along with his 12-year-old brother.

The original news reports said the boy was six and a half, but his family later confirmed that he was nine. They added they were not allowed to see A.Z. while he was detained. They live in the Wadi Joz neighborhood.

The Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, sent a letter to the president of the Security Council last Friday, complaining of Israel’s handling of Palestinian children in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Mansour claimed that A.Z. was questioned for hours without his parents being informed, and without receiving food or water.

The “arbitrary arrest” of a child under 12 is illegal and Israel has violated the international standard in doing so, as well as its own law, wrote Mansour. He also listed a number of other incidents in which he claimed Israel had allegedly harmed Palestinian children and youth, and called on the international community to intervene in providing help and protection.

Undercover operatives stopped their patrol car near the boy and his older brother last Tuesday at around 7:30 P.M., and detained them. According to police, the boys had been throwing rocks at a bus. Part of the time the child was held in a squad car, and during questioning he was asked if he wanted to be a martyr. By law, children under the age of 12 — the age of criminal responsibility — cannot be arrested or detained.

The children were taken by squad car to national police headquarters in Jerusalem, where family members saw them in the vehicle in the parking lot. After about three hours, the children were taken to the Shalem police station. The 9-year-old was not released to his parents until 3:30 A.M. on Wednesday morning.

Police responded that the two boys had been caught throwing stones at a bus, and were “immediately removed from the area to prevent a further disturbance of the peace.” Police said the parents were summoned to the police facility where the children were, and “after an investigation, the minor below the age of criminal responsibility was released and a report made to welfare authorities regarding him.”

The police brought the elder brother to court the next day and requested a three-day remand, but the judge ordered him released to house arrest in Tel Aviv, with restrictions. Two of the boys’ cousins, ages 13 and 15, were arrested the previous week.

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