Israel is the only country in the world that routinely prosecutes children in military courts that lack basic guarantees for fair trial. The British Middle East Monitor said in a report that: One of the detainees, Abdullah said: “They broke the front door, stormed my room, covered my face with a bag and took me away. They told my father that I would get back the next day.” However, he did not return to his family until the following year.
This is common in occupied Palestine, where hundreds of children, some as young as 12 years, are detained and tried in Israeli military courts every year. The most common accusation is throwing stones, which the Israeli army considers a “security breach,” and whoever is found guilty can be sentenced up to 20 years in prison. Furthermore, Palestinian children detained by Israel are subjected to maltreatment and torture.
There are currently at least 200 Palestinian children detained in Israeli prisons (Ofer, Damon, and Megiddo), including children with disabilities and those with mental health problems.
Damon and Megiddo prisons are seriously overcrowded and child prisoners are placed close together in miserable and unhealthy conditions. Activists from Save the Children say that children in custody are treated worse than animals, describing their treatment as “appalling”.
According to the organization’s report, more than half of the children interviewed said that violations usually begin before any investigation, during which they are subjected to greater humiliation and torture.