Protections for Minors Suspected of Crimes? Not in Issawiya
For over half a year, the police have carried out a strong-arm policy in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya. According to various estimates, approximately 700 people have already been arrested, many of them minors. On December 24, 2019, ACRI contacted the Israel Police’s Legal Advisor, demanding that she enforce that Jerusalem District officers respect the protections that are guaranteed through legislation relating to youth and police protocols for minors suspected of a crime.
In the appeal, Attorney Tal Hassin describes police conduct against minors in Issawiya: minors arrested in the early hours of the morning; interrogated without their parents present; detained and handcuffed in public; frequently treated violently; forced to sign documents written in Hebrew; and there have even been arrests of children under the age of criminal responsibility.
Attorney Hassin notes that ACRI is of course aware of the legislative exceptions regarding the extensive protections granted to minors, but such exceptions are meant to be applied solely in very rare and extraordinary cases. Whereas in Issawiya, as manifested by the many examples cited in the letter, and as evidenced by reality, the exception has become the rule.
ACRI’s Appeal to the Israel Police’s Legal Advisor, 24.12.2019 (Hebrew)
Israel Police Response, 8.1.2020 (Hebrew)
Joseph Krauss, Heavy police raids leave east Jerusalem neighborhood on edge, AP, 7.3.20
The appeal was written with support from Mohanad Anati