Palestinian Teen Accuses IDF of Sexual Harassment

A 15-year-old Palestinian has claimed that Israeli soldiers assaulted him and made threats of a sexual nature during a recent arrest.

In a response to Haaretz, the Spokesman's Office of the Israel Defense Forces said a military police investigation into the allegations has been ordered. The Israel Police said that the allegations did not match the findings of its investigation, and that in his statement to police the complainant made no mention of violence being used against him.

The children's rights organization Defence for Children International said yesterday it intends to file a complaint on the teen's behalf. Officials from the nongovernmental organization said that of 100 sworn affidavits by Palestinian minors who were arrested in 2009 the majority onwards reported being subject to tactics of intimidation and abuse. Sixteen reported sexual threats or assault.

In an affidavit and in conversation with Haaretz, the teenager, who can only be identified as A., said he was arrested at 2 A.M. on May 26 and driven to an IDF base - apparently the one at Etzion.

On arrival his eyes were covered, and he had the impression of being in a large room where both male and female soldiers walked about. His wrists were cuffed behind his back with plastic handcuffs and his leg was cuffed to that of another detainee. His requests to use the bathroom were denied.

Later, A. related, he was taken into a room and the plastic cuffs were replaced with metal ones. A man entered and began asking him about throwing stones. A. says he does not know whether the man was from the army or the police. When A. denied having throwing stones, the investigator swore at him, kicked him and threatened to hurt him "on a different level."

The interrogator left the room and then returned. A. said he felt something being attached to the handcuff and immediately afterward felt a pinching sensation in his penis, from something that felt like the clip of an automotive jumper cable. The interrogator told him to confess, or else he would connect the cable to electricity and "won't let you have children all your life, from any woman." According to A. the interrogator then kicked him, stepped on the handcuff until A. fell down and then left the room.

Some minutes later a man came in, removed A.'s blindfold and began to question him. A. recognized the voice as that of his interrogator. This time A. admitted to having throwing stones on two different occasions, the first two years ago and the other three weeks ago. He was asked how many stones he threw, and said he could not remember.

Misk, who represented A. in the military court session setting the conditions of his release, on May 30, raised A.'s complaints before the judge, Lt.-Col. Me'ushar. According to A., Me'ushar said there was "no evidence in the case," and "moreover, the content of the statements by the accused and the level of detail are evidence that his answers were not given under duress or torture but of his own good and free will."