Israelis detain 5-year-old stone-thrower
12 July 2013, 08:54
Jerusalem - An Israeli human rights group accused the army on
Thursday of illegally detaining a 5-year-old Palestinian boy for
throwing a stone in a flashpoint city in the occupied West Bank.
footage taken by the group B'Tselem of Tuesday's incident showed Wadi
Maswadeh crying as he was surrounded by soldiers on a street in Hebron.
He was then made to board a military jeep accompanied by a Palestinian
The images, aired on Israeli media, looked likely to stoke
debate about policy in the West Bank, where the army guards Jewish
settlers. There is often friction with Palestinians, who have limited
self-government but have been frustrated in their hopes of gaining
B'Tselem said troops took Maswadeh home, picking up his
father and holding them both for another half-hour, during which the
father was bound and blindfolded. The two were then handed over to
Palestinian police, who questioned and released them.
In a later television interview, Maswadeh admitted throwing a stone, saying he had aimed at a dog but hit a car instead.
said Maswadeh's handling by the troops was illegal as the age of
criminal responsibility in Israel and its West Bank jurisdiction is 12.
security forces are not allowed to arrest or detain children under
that age, even when they are suspected of having committed criminal
offenses, and the authorities must deal with the law-breaking in other
ways," said group director Jessica Montell.
In a statement, the
army said Maswadeh's stone-throwing had endangered passers-by. More
than 150 Israelis were hurt in similar West Bank incidents between
January and May, it said.
"Soldiers intervened on the spot and
accompanied the minor to his parents. From there he was passed on to
the care of the Palestinian Security Forces, all the while accompanied
by his parents. The child was not arrested and no charges were filed,"
the statement said.
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