Israel stops practice of placing detained Palestinian children in outdoor cages

After a delegation of the Public Defender’s Office found that there were Palestinian children being held in cages outside in a snowstorm overnight (without winter coats even) and it was publicised, the Justice Minister Tzipi Livni made a call to the Bureau of Prisons which agreed to stop the practice.  Note that it was only stopped due to the torture being publicised. Considering how many reports have been issued regarding Israeli torture, it is logical to infer that this particular torture of Palestinian children (and adults) had been occurring for some time.
31 Dec. 2013 Jerusalem Post
An NGO on Tuesday accused the state of torturing Palestinian children suspected of minor crimes, including placing them in outdoor cages during the worst of the recent storm, and of other acts designed to terrify the children.

The practice of placing the children in outdoor cages was halted when Justice Minister Tzipi Livni learned of it and immediately telephoned Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, telling him to end the practice.

The NGO, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, said the issue was a longstanding one, but that it was drawing special attention to the issue in light of Tuesday’s hearing in the Knesset’s Public Petitions Committee on related issues and a recent report on the issue by the Public Defender’s Office.

According to the Public Defender’s Office, it learned of the issue during a standard visit to prison complex in Ramle at the height of the storm, with the children enduring freezing temperatures and inclement weather outside a transit facility.

The children were to be held outside for a number of hours overnight after their arrest until they were to be brought to court in the early morning.

Livni’s office confirmed that she had personally intervened.

It was unclear who within the Prisons Service initiated the practice, why it was initiated or who decided to continue it despite the adverse weather conditions, but the service responded that since it had received criticism the situation had been improved.

The Public Committee Against Torture said that the practice was just one example of the torture and ill treatment of Palestinian children by law enforcement.

In that regard, later Tuesday the Knesset committee said that the manner of arrest and detention conditions of Palestinian children was violating Israeli law for dealing with children.

The committee also complained that the state “lacked data” for answering the panel’s questions about the frequency and scope of those practices it objected to such as midnight arrests.

The Public Committee Against Torture cited the Istanbul Protocol Manual (pdf) that discusses various authorities illegally using torture or ill treatment to extract information from children. It did also say it is actively campaigning to redefine “torture” at a lower threshold of abuse when it comes to children.

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