Silwan Youth Claims Cops Broke His Arm During Arrest

The teenager was arrested by policemen dressed in civilian clothes at his uncle's grocery store, a short while after a group of youths threw stones at police deployed nearby.

The arm of a 14-year-old youth from Silwan was apparently broken during his arrest by police on suspicion of throwing stones on Friday.

The teenager was arrested by four policemen dressed in civilian clothes at midday, at his uncle's grocery store, a short while after a group of youths threw stones at police deployed nearby.

silwan - Daniel Bar-On - June 20 2011
Daniel Bar-On

The boy's father says that the officers used violence both during the teen's arrest and thereafter.

"The policemen said they had identified him by his shirt," the boy's father said, "even though he was in the store at the time the stones were thrown."

"One of the policemen pulled him roughly and took him into the vehicle. In the car they handcuffed his hands behind his back. He asked the policeman to handcuff him with his hands in the front, but the policeman refused and all the way [to the station], he pulled his head down and beat him," the father claims.

The teen was questioned in the presence of his father, at the station, and was later released by a judge to house arrest.

Following his release, he was checked at Hadassah University Hospital, Mount Scopus, where he was diagnosed with a possible fracture in his arm and bruises in the neck.

Police said in response that during the incident last Friday, "the youth was arrested after having thrown stones at the policemen, he was brought to the station and his parents were called in. The judge remanded him in custody for questioning. The investigation was carried out in the presence of the father, and then the youth was released to house arrest. At no time, neither before the judge, nor during the questioning, did the youth claim he had pain in his arm or anywhere else."

This is not the first time that the youth in question has been arrested. About a year and a half ago, he was arrested early one morning at his home for throwing a single stone, which apparently hit no one.

Last week, prior to the more recent arrest, attorney Shlomo Lecker filed a claim for damages against the police for that first incident. Lecker argues there that the youth suffered serious psychological harm as a result of the violent arrest he was subjected to in the middle of the night.

Based on the medical documents presented by Lecker in the lawsuit, the youth was diagnosed with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, suffers from nightmares, wets his bed and has received psychiatric medication.

Following that first arrest, a complaint was filed with the Israel Police's internal investigations department, due to the violence used by the arresting officers, but the case was closed. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel submitted an appeal against the decision to close the case in November 2010, but to date no response has been forthcoming from the investigations department.

Lecker says the police decided to bring charges against his client a day before the statute of limitations related to such minor offenses was due to expire.

"It is very unusual to press charges for one stone that did not hit anyone, against a 12-and-a-half year-old," Lecker said.

During the past year there has been unrest in the East Jerusalem neighborhood, with youths throwing stones at police and settlers' cars. To curtail what is being called "the children's intifada" by the locals, the police has been arresting minors. In 2010, some 1,200 children were questioned on suspicion of throwing stones, 759 were arrested, and in 226 cases charges were pressed.

Some of the arrests and interrogations appear to be illegal, even though the police maintains it acts in accordance with the law.