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Rights body slams Israel for torturing young Gazan detainee

An Israeli soldier walks with a detained Palestinian teenager near the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip, December 24, 2014. ©AFP

An independent human rights organization and legal center has called for an investigation into the detention of a Palestinian teenager by Israeli forces, describing the mistreatment of the young detainee as a breach of international humanitarian law.

The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah), which advocates for the rights of Palestinian Arabs in Israel, said on Thursday that it has sent letters to raise the case of Yousef al-Tarabin, 16, and his abuse in Israeli custody.

Israeli soldiers mistreated and tortured the boy from Gaza during his detention, read the letters, which were enclosed with medical reports confirming the child’s exposure to physical and psychological torture.

“After they encircled and ordered him to strip naked, one of the soldiers removed a harness from a dog and unleashed it, which attacked the child and bit him in his right arm as the soldiers were standing nearby and laughing, and then the dog injured him in his left hand,” the letters read.

The Israeli forces took the child to a military base and forced him to sign a document without letting him know of its content, detained him for long hours without giving him any food or drink before he was transferred to a hospital and then released to Gaza, according to the letters.

On September 24, 2015, Israelis arrested al-Tarabin and his friend, Hani al-Sharatha, 17, when they reportedly crossed the border fence between Gaza and the occupied territories, looking for employment opportunities.

Nadim Shehadeh, an attorney representing Adalah, wrote that based on information obtained by the Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, al-Tarabin was beaten during his detention.

“These actions constitute a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and Israeli law. The details recounted by al-Tarabin are indicative of serious suspicions that Israeli soldiers utilized prohibited methods that are tantamount to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment,” Shehadeh said.

Palestinian laborers work on the rubble of buildings that were destroyed in Israel’s 50-day war on the blockaded Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014, during a sandstorm in Gaza City on September 9, 2015. ©AFP

More than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held in 17 Israeli prisons and detention camps. Many of those held in Israeli jails are currently under the so-called administrative detention, the policy of arrest and detention of individuals without charge or trial.

Gaza has been blockaded since June 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standards of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty. 

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