The Military Prosecution Continues to Deny Investigations of Israeli Army and Police Torture

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20 June 2013

20 June 2013, Ramallah - In light of recent developments in the case of Mohammad Halabiyeh, a child who was brutally tortured during interrogation in 2010, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association reconfirms the Occupation’s policy to deny genuine investigations into cases where the Israeli army has violated the fundamental rights of Palestinian prisoners.

20 June 2013, Ramallah - In light of recent developments in the case of Mohammad Halabiyeh, a child who was brutally tortured during interrogation in 2010, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association reconfirms the Occupation’s policy to deny genuine investigations into cases where the Israeli army has violated the fundamental rights of Palestinian prisoners.  
 
Mohammad was 16 years old when he was arrested by the Israeli Border Police on 6 February 2010 from his hometown of Abu Dis, just outside of Jerusalem. During the arrest, Mohammad broke his leg and required urgent medical treatment. Instead of providing him with the necessary care, the Israeli Border Police held him for five days in interrogation and tortured him, including beating him, kicking him on his injured leg and threatening him with sexual abuse. When he was taken to a hospital, the interrogators continued to abuse Mohammad, punching him in the face, taping his mouth shut and beating him with an iron bar. (For more information on the circumstances of his arrest and torture, please visit Mohammad’s prisoner profile.)
 
In response to this gruesome ill-treatment and torture of a child, Addameer lodged a complaint to the military prosecution as well as the General Legal Advisor for the Israeli government on 13 April 2010 to investigate the blatant torture of a child prisoner and hold the necessary authorities responsible. Addameer received response on 18 April 2010 that the complaint was indeed received, but despite several follow-ups and attempts to reach a conclusion in the complaint, Addameer did not receive a response to our complaint until 18 June 2013, 3 years and 2 months after the initial complaint was lodged and the prisoner was already released. In the prosecutions response to Addameer’s complaint, they closed the file without any investigation or acknowledgement of the torture the child endured, but instead moved the file to the Israeli Border Police to investigate instead. From the Legal Advisor’s office, we received a response on 10 February 2011 that our complaint was referred to the special unit to investigate the police and the military prosecution. After over 3 years without any investigations opened on such a blatant case of torture, it is clear that the Occupation Authorities are refusing to hold accountable those who violated Mohammad’s rights.
 
Mohammad was on trial for over a year before being sentenced to 34 months for alleged throwing of Molotov cocktails. Mohammad served his sentence and was released before the investigation of his torture was acted upon in any capacity. Mohammad Halabiyeh’s case is a prime example of the investigative bodies abusing their authority to cause delays and insufficient investigations in cases of human rights violations.
 
According to research by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, all 700 complaints of torture made against interrogators in the past 10 years were closed without a criminal investigation. Additionally, many Palestinians who are tortured refuse to file complaints because of their lack of confidence in the system. This is not only a display of apathy towards the well-being of Palestinians, but also exposes the absolute impunity the Occupation authorities practices in direct violation of international human rights and humanitarian law. To date, 73 Palestinian detainees have died from torture at the hands of their interrogators since 1967, most recently Arafat Jaradat, a young father who was detained for 7 days before he was martyred in the interrogation cells on 23 January 2013.
 
Addameer calls upon international stakeholders, including the United Nations, European Union, human rights organizations, consulates and embassies to exert pressure on Israel so they change their practices that violate human rights and international law.
 
The lack of internal investigations for such grave human rights violations confirms the importance of third states to act upon their responsibilities as described by Articles 146 and 147 of the 4th Geneva Convention to hold perpetrators of torture accountable. Addameer calls on these third states to act on these responsibilities to end Israel’s impunity.