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16-year-old Palestinian held under administrative detention for 5 months

Aug. 29, 2017 4:34 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 1, 2017 6:17 P.M.)
16-year-old Nour Kayed Faiq Issa (Source: Addameer)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- For five months, Israeli forces have been holding a 16-year-old Palestinian in prison -- currently the youngest person to be held under Israel’s widely condemned policy of administrative detention, internment without trial or charge based on undisclosed evidence.

Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer profiled Nour Kayed Faiq Issa, from the town of Anata in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem, on its website on Monday.

The high school student was detained from his home in the middle of the night on April 3, 2017, when a group of more than 40 Israeli soldiers and military vehicles stormed the town. Some 15 soldiers broke into the house and told Nour’s mother they were there to arrest her son.

“His mother hurried to wake up his sisters so that they could see him before the arrest. The officer separated Nour from his family and put him in another room for questioning. The separation was undertaken despite his mother’s continuous demands to be in the same room as her child while he was to be questioned,” Addameer wrote.

More than 94 percent of Palestinian minors are interrogated without being accompanied by a parent, according to Military Court Watch (MCW).

Nour’s mother was forced to wait in the living room with her husband and daughters while Israeli soldiers yelled and threatened her son. She was told Nour was going to be accused of “incitement” on Facebook, Addameer said.

Israeli forces have reportedly detained more than 400 Palestinians for social media activity in recent months. When formal charges are brought against the detainees, Palestinians face a 99.74 percent conviction rate in Israel’s military courts, according to Human Rights Watch.

After the 45-minute raid, Israeli soldiers blindfolded and handcuffed Nour behind his back, and took him without telling his family where he was going. His mother waited eight hours before being informed that Nour was at Ofer detention center in the Ramallah district of the occupied West Bank, where the majority of underage Palestinian prisoners are held by Israeli forces.

Nour’s mother has been allowed to visit her son once since he was detained, while the father has been denied permission to see him completely for alleged “security reasons,” according to Addameer.

“Nour’s arrest has placed a great amount of stress on the whole family, with the youngest two girls struggling at school as a result. Nour’s mother emphasized that the greatest stress in this situation is the misery experienced by Nour himself. "He has spoken about how difficult it has been without his family, missing Ramadan, and how much he wishes to see his new nephew. He spoke about how the five past months have gone by without his mother’s hugs, his father’s advice, playing with his sisters, and, most importantly, his basic freedom.”

His administrative detention was renewed earlier this month and will end Nov. 1. Admistrative detention can be renewed indefinitely for three to four-month intervals.

While a list of charges were filed against him, including incitement on Facebook, no evidence has been presented and Israeli authorities have claimed that Nour, who spent two one-week stints in detention last year, is a security threat.

However, Addameer argued that Israeli forces have continued to target Nour as an act of “retribution,” as his brother allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli. “Considering that no evidence was presented indicating that Nour is a threat, his imprisonment thus represents an act of collective punishment against the family,” the NGO said.

“Nour’s case is testament to the fact that the occupation does not differentiate between a child and an adult, and does not take into consideration the psychological and physical effects of detention on children. The occupation forces do not only detain children and sentence them to spend months or years in prison, but also resort to administrative detention when they don’t have enough evidence to try the child.”

Addameer noted that Nour’s case is not unique, as Israeli forces “have been targeting Palestinian children continuously since 1967. The occupation’s policy of terrorizing Palestinian children is clear. Asserting dominance and control over children early is a clear strategy of control. The thinking goes that, if a child understands the consequences of political action, they will be less likely to undertake any such activity in the future.”

Among the 6,128 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, 450 are administrative detainees and 320 are minors, according to Addameer.
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