An 11-year old boy arrested in east Jerusalem for throwing stones claims officers beat him while his hands were tied. Hospital tests confirm the boy sustained injuries to the eye, head, and stomach.
M. was arrested on Monday in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. It was his fifth run-in with the law, and his two brothers were also arrested. The three were interrogated in the presence of their father, an imam and one of the leading figures in Silwan residents' protest against Israeli forces.
But during the interrogation M. complained he was not feeling well and was released home. Later that evening, he vomited blood and his parents took him to the hospital.
There, doctors found that the boy was suffering from a fractured bone in his eye cavity as well as head and stomach wounds.
Upon being discharged Thursday, M. told Ynet that officers disguised as Arabs (aka Mista'arvim) had tied his hands beat him. "After school I went to a friend's house," he recounted.
"Then five officers caught me – I recognized them because they had pepper spray. After they tied me up they beat me in the stomach and head. They handed me to the police but I didn't feel well and vomited blood."
He added, "When they hit me I was afraid because all the kids ran away. I started crying and told the Mista'arvim: 'I'm a little boy and I didn't do anything, leave me alone'." Now, he says, he is no longer afraid, but his eye still hurts.
M. and his parents, who plan to complain (Photo: Omri Efraim)
M.'s father, against whom a restraining order from Silwan is in effect, believes his son suffered for his reputation. "I'm afraid because I feel I cannot protect him from the police," he said. "I have been arrested in the past but that's no reason to hit my boy."
The father added that his son had not been throwing stones on the day he was beaten. "The officers that beat him have no brains and no limits. They say Israel is democratic, but law and democracy don't protect us," he said.
M.'s mother says he has nightmares "that police knock on our door and take the children away".
'Police violent towards kids'
Now the parents plan to file a complaint with the Police Investigations Unit. Attorney Nasrin Alian, of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) told Ynet that "Jerusalem Police must launch an investigation and not allow those responsible for the boy's injuries to evade trial and punishment".
Alian warned that officers were becoming violent towards children in Silwan, citing numerous cases that have been brought to the ACRI's attention.
"Our investigation revealed that despite all of these complaints no one has been brought to trial and the police's investigations have mostly been closed without results. Police brutality against children is something that must be stopped, and we demand that the internal security minister and the chief of police intervene."
According to data collected by ACRI, 1,267 cases were opened between November 2009 and October 2010 in which Palestinian minors were accused of throwing stones. The organization claims that police have adopted a routine of arresting children in the middle of the night as a scare tactic.
Jerusalem Police stated in response, "The minor was caught red-handed throwing stones, and was interrogated in the presence of his father. During the interrogation he felt poorly and was released to receive medical treatment."
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