IDF Briefly Detains Mentally Disabled Palestinian Boy

Troops bind and blindfold the 11 year old on suspicion of stone-throwing, release him 15 minutes later.

Gili Cohen
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Screenshot from the B'Tselem video.
Gili Cohen

Israeli army troops in Hebron detained a mentally disabled Palestinian boy, 11, and held him bound and blindfolded for about 15 minutes on Monday. Only after the boy’s father arrived and convinced the soldiers that the boy had a mental impairment did the soldiers release him.

Avolunteer Samih Da’ana documented the detention of the Palestinian boy in the Jebel Juhar neighborhood in the Hebron region. According to B’tselem officials, several children in the neighborhood threw stones at soldiers on the main street, but the only one detained was the 11-year-old boy, A., who suffers from mental retardation. He is a month shy of turning 12, the age of criminal responsibility according to the military justice system.

In the video clip, two soldiers, one an officer, are seen holding A., tying his hands, shouting at him and later on forcefully striking a jeep. In the clip, a Palestinian can be heard shouting, “He’s a kid – he has no intelligence,” and the officer answering, “He has no intelligence? Let him come with us.” When the Palestinian continues to shout, “He has no intelligence,” the officer says to him, “There’s nothing to be done, nothing to be done. Get out of here, get out of here.” The soldier covers the boy’s eyes with a cloth, lifts him into the military jeep and shuts the door. According to B’tselem officials, the boy was released after about 15 minutes after the soldiers were convinced that he suffered from mental disability.

In July 2013 troops in Hebron detained a 5-year-old boy, Wadia Maswadeh, after they said he had thrown a stone at their vehicle. A video clip shows the boy crying and jumping up and down hysterically as he is led to the jeep. His family claimed that he and his father were taken to an army base where they were held for about a half hour, then taken to Hashoter checkpoint in Hebron and released.

An army spokesman said, “A preliminary inquiry indicates that during the incident, army troops were urgently summoned to capture two stone-throwers in the city of Hebron. The two were captured as they threw stones at the nearby community. The first, an adolescent who had been given a suspended sentence [on a past criminal charge], was imprisoned after he was captured. The second [A., the young, mentally retarded boy], who is seen in the video clip, was released several minutes after his capture. The details of the incident are being investigated.”

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