In a pre-dawn raid, a huge number of Israeli occupation forces stormed Aida refugee camp on Wednesday, 14 February 2017, arresting two brothers. 13-year-old Anas Salah Masaed and 14-year-old Mohammad Salah Masaed were arrested for allegedly throwing stones. They were initially taken to Oz police station in Jerusalem and later transferred to Ofer military prison near Ramallah. The two brothers were able to speak to an attorney over the phone, but were not allowed to see him in person.
Addameer is legally representing the two brothers, who will be brought before a court hearing today, 15 February 2017. Approximately 700 Palestinian children under the age of 18 from the occupied West Bank are prosecuted every year through Israeli military courts after being arrested, interrogated and detained by the Israeli army. The most common charge levied against children is throwing stones, a crime that is punishable under military law by up to 20 years in prison.
Israeli occupation forces have arrested Palestinian children systematically, and within arrest campaigns for collective punishment. These children are subjected to different forms of psychological and physical torture, and are not afforded protection. The occupation forces exploit the arrest of children for purposes of recruiting them to work as informants, extort their families financially, and force their families to pay large financial fines to secure their release. The arrest of children has a destructive impact on the level of children’s mental health, often leading to children’s drop-out from schools.