13-year-old Palestinian Says Israel Police Tased and Beat Him During Arrest

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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M., 13, demonstrates how he was handcuffed, Isawiyah, East Jerusalem, January 28, 2021.
M., 13, demonstrates how he was handcuffed, Isawiyah, East Jerusalem, January 28, 2021.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Police officers who raided a house in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiyah on Thursday at around 3 A.M and arrested two people, a 13-year-old and his 18-year-old brother, are accused of using tasers and physical force in the course of the minor’s detention and the raid, including against members of the youths’ family.

According to the 13-year-old, M., during his arrest, his leg was shocked by a taser, and later, at the police station he was forced to kneel for hours while handcuffed behind his back, beaten and humiliated. Family members said the police officers used severe violence against them in the course of the arrest.

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M. was held by police for 12 hours before he was released to house arrest for five days and said he was interrogated in the absence of his parents, which is generally prohibited by law. His brother, an adult, is still detained and is scheduled to be brought before a judge on Friday.

The Israel Police said “the arrest was legal, and no taser was used,” and noted that according to the court-approved warrant issued before their arrest, the two are suspected of having thrown firebombs and shooting fireworks at police officers.

M. recalled that he woke up when the police, some of them in plainclothes, raided the Dari family’s home in central Isawiyah. “They pushed me and my brother to the floor, hit us and then handcuffed us,” M. said, demonstrating how his hands were handcuffed behind his back. The officers then led him and his brother to a police car, M. said: “They took me barefoot and I held my shoes in my hands. I told the police officer that I wanted to put on the shoes, but they slapped me and put a blindfold over my eyes.”

According to M., he was kept at the police station for about three hours, kneeling with his hands handcuffed behind his back, and kicked by a police officer every time he got tired and fell over. After that, he was taken for questioning by four investigators on suspicion of hurling stones, he said.

The investigators told him that his parents were not summoned for fear that they would disrupt the investigation, M. said, even though the Youth Law forbids questioning a minor in the absence of their parents, except under exceptional circumstances.

M. told them he did not throw stones and asked the officers to see documentation, he said, noting that “The police officer told me he that he would show me, but he didn’t show me.”

“We were sleeping, we heard a boom, a powerful explosion. When I got up and looked around. I saw five or six policemen beating each child and shocking them,” said Marwan Dari, their father, recounting acts of physical and verbal violence by the police officers.

“One of them came up to me and hit me in the head with the taser, cracking my head open. After that he hit me in the teeth too. They threw my brother, who came from his house to see what was happening, on the floor and shocked him on the floor. The police officer who grabbed me told me: ‘I’m here because I want to fuck you and fuck your children.’ I remember those curses as if he shot me. He put his fingers on his throat and repeated those words. I saw my boy shaking from the shock and I tried to go to him, but they didn’t let me. Even the Border Police officers who were there didn’t understand why they were hitting,” he said.

The Israel Police said the account was “filled with inaccuracies to the point of completely distorting reality," adding “The family are the ones who tried to obstruct the arrest, using violence and threats. The Border Police officers acted at the scene to create a buffer between the family and the investigators.”

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