Rights group: Teen tortured by Israeli forces

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13 August 2010

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) -- The Palestinian rights group Addameer has received an affidavit from a 17-year-old boy who said he was detained by Israeli forces at a West Bank checkpoint and tortured.

The boy, identified as Emad Al-Ashhab, remains in Israeli custody under his third administrative detention order following his incarceration on 21 February from the so-called container checkpoint on the Wadi Nar road between Bethlehem and Ramallah.

"Israeli soldiers covered his face with a woolen bag and beat him with a stick all over his body while both his hands and feet remained shackled. The soldiers also burnt his hand with cigarettes while they tightened the shackles around his wrists," a statement from Addameer attorney Anan Odeh reported.

The sworn testimony from the teenager was made public by the rights organization on Friday, and said the boy was interrogated for five days at Israel‘s Ofer military base near Ramallah.

Emad told the lawyer that he was questioned about his political affiliations by Israeli security agency officers, and said he was not guilty of any of the accusations thrown at him.

"Under the Israeli military orders that govern the occupied Palestinian territory, membership in an organization – be it a political party or a charitable organization – that is declared illegal by the Israeli military commander is considered an offense. However, Emad has never been charged with any offense, and no evidence supporting the interrogators’ allegation has been disclosed to Emad or his lawyer," the rights group explained.

Addameer issued an urgent appeal on behalf of the young man, describing it as a case through which the organization challenged the Israeli system of administrative detentions, a procedure legalized under Israeli military order 1591 that allows the Israeli military to hold detainees indefinitely on secret evidence without charging them or allowing them to stand trial.

Orders are handed down for periods of up to six months and are infinitely renewable.