Jerusalem24 – Defense for Children International has submitted an urgent petition to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention regarding the 17-year-old child, Muhammad Ghassan Mansour, who is administratively detained by the Israeli occupation authorities.
In the appeal, the International Movement said that the Israeli government arbitrarily deprives the child Mansour of his freedom, through the use of administrative detention, which amounts to arbitrary detention.
The movement pointed out that the Israeli forces arrested the child Mansour from his family home in Jenin at approximately two o’clock in the morning on the ninth of April 2021, and held him for 15 days in humiliating and inhuman conditions in the Israeli Hawara detention center, in the northern West Bank, and there a trial was held. He was tried via “video call” in front of the Israeli Salem Military Court, and his detention has been extended at least five times, according to information collected by the movement.
In his testimony to the international movement, the Mansour said that the Israeli soldiers stormed his family’s house on the day of his arrest after breaking the door of the house, and that one of them hit him on the head with the butt of a rifle, without speaking to him and without verifying his identity, and he was dropped to the ground, and after verifying his identity they tied his hands back with two straps and pulled them hard. They did not tell him or his family the reason for his arrest. They did not show any arrest warrant. Then they took him out of the house and one of them grabbed him by the neck, while another kicked him.
Mansour added that when they reached the street, one of the soldiers pushed him forcefully into a military jeep, on the floor of the jeep, blindfolded him, and then left the area without telling him where they would take him.
He continued, “we arrived at the Al-Jalama checkpoint (northeast of Jenin), and there they took me out of the jeep and stopped me next to it. I was surrounded by many soldiers. A soldier came to me, I think he was a military doctor, because he examined me and asked me general questions about my health, and he did so while I was handcuffed and blindfolded. They did not allow me to go to the bathroom, and I stayed like this for about an hour, after which they took me back to the jeep and was taken to the Mbo Dotan settlement. I arrived there at five in the morning and they made me sit on a chair in the yard until two in the afternoon, while I was handcuffed and blindfolded Since they arrested me from the house.”
On the same day, the Mansour was transferred to Hawara Detention Center (near Nablus), where the soldiers searched him naked, and he stayed there for 15 days, in conditions he described as extremely difficult. He told DCI, “the soldiers’ treatment there is very bad, the food is poor, and there is no toilet in the room, and in order to relieve themselves, the prisoners had to ask the soldiers who were delaying our requests. It was not possible to even shower, I did not shower for 15 days.”
After 15 days in Hawara detention center, Mansour was transferred to Megiddo prison, and upon his arrival they examined him for the Coronavirus, and inspected him naked, before placing him in isolation for three days, and then he was transferred to Section 3 for children.
On April 25, 2021, the Israeli military court in Ofer prison approved an administrative detention order against the child Mansour for a period of six months, and the child Mansour appealed the administrative detention order, and on August 9, 2021, the Israeli military court of appeal in Ofer rejected Appeal.
DCI indicated that Mansour is currently in Megiddo prison, where his current six-month administrative detention order will expire on 10/18/2021, if it is not renewed. Stressing that neither Mansour nor his lawyer were allowed to see any evidence against him, arguing that his arrest was based on “secret information.”
International juvenile justice standards are based on two fundamental principles: First, the best interests of the child must be of primary concern in all decisions that affect them. Second, that depriving children of their liberty should be used only as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time, as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child explicitly states that detention “shall be used only as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.”
Moreover, in situations of international armed conflict, administrative detention is permitted in very limited circumstances only in the most exceptional cases of “compelling security reasons” when there is no other alternative, and this practice should never be used as a substitute for filing charges or for the sole purpose of interrogation; or as a general deterrent to future activity.
DCI stressed that the risk of potential harm and the specific context of the arrest of Mansour determine the circumstances that justify this request for urgent action by the UN Working Group on his case, and given his status as a minor, the continued detention of Mansour represents a serious threat to his health, including his physical and mental health.
It stressed that the detention of Mansour violates basic guarantees stipulated in international law, and is considered arbitrary detention in the third and fifth categories as defined by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and that he must be released immediately.
It is noteworthy that the Israeli authorities have issued administrative detention orders against four children since the beginning of 2021. Baraa Yousef Muhammad (16 years old) from Hebron was arrested on 12/5/2021 and an administrative detention order was issued against him for a period of four months, and he was released on 9/9/2021, and the child Amal Orabi from Al-Jalazun camp in Ramallah and Al-Bireh governorate, the occupation renewed his administrative detention order for the third time, as he is scheduled to be released on 18/1/2022; if the order is not renewed.
Defense for Children International has also documented the detention of 39 administrative children by the Israeli authorities, since October 2015, until today.
Administrative detention is detention without charge or trial, which relies on a secret file and secret evidence that the detainee or his lawyer cannot view. According to Israeli military orders, an administrative detention order can be renewed unlimited times, where an administrative detention order is issued for a period of up to six months, and is subject to renewal. .
DCI asserts that Israel must either try the children and grant them fair trial rights or release them immediately.