The interrogation of Palestinian children is done by Israeli Jews, making it such that the language of the documents is in Hebrew, and a Palestinian who doesn’t speak or read Hebrew is often forced to agree to things that he does not understand.
Israel has them admitting guilt for trumped up charges by making them sign documents in Hebrew – not even in their own language. Read the report.
In many cases, the interrogators translate for the child, and intentionally mislead him, or instead of directly quoting the child, they exaggerate as they “translate,” which leads to the child’s persecution by the courts.
Essentially the result is often a document filled with lies, which the child does not and cannot understand, but yet is considered a valid document by the court. There are many psychological effects upon the child when he is punished for things that he is not actually connected to or did not do, but agreed to each word, unknowingly, as he signed.
The circumstances of signing are also directly related to fear, pressure and thoughts of “this is my only way to get out of this nightmare,” whereas in reality sometimes the signature itself drags the child into more and more arrests and additional interrogations, which as considered legitimate in that the child has confessed to certain things, without knowing, leading to new accusations and convictions not necessarily based on anything that happened in reality. Such a thing can easily cause a child to lose focus in their day to day life, in social situations and at school.
Maryam Abukhaled – A stage actress from the Jenin Refugee Camp
I am a child. I know only innocence and youth.
But one day, one of them stole my childhood from me. They put me in a room, they gave me a pen and paper in place of my markers and coloring book. I was happy when they gave me the paper: I thought I would be allowed to draw. But I didn’t like the paper. It was covered words that I did not understand. They forced me to sign these papers, and when I refused, they threatened me, saying they will smash my toys and destroy my house and beat my father if I did not signed these papers. So I signed so that they wouldn’t shatter my toys, so that I wouldn’t lose my childhood. But this occupation doesn’t know the meaning of the word “child.” They gave me a pen, and took away my childhood. They forgot to provide me the right to live as a child.
Batoul Taleb – A stage actress from the Jenin Refugee Camp
In the beginning, I did not known how important the photography project for Room No. 4 would be, and then, when I started to take the pictures, I started to feel that it was my duty to bring these images and what happens to a children the occupation’s jails, the facts of which are known to few. The story I imagined: they are holding me in an interrogation room, and I have undergone hours and hours of psychological pressure to sign these papers, in Hebrew, that I do not understand, and I am so afraid that if I do not sign these papers, they will put me in the cell.
The Israeli law mandates that an interrogation be carried out in a language which is fully understood by the suspect.
The law also mandates visual and audio documentation of the entire interrogation, except in rare cases in which it is not possible to do so due to extenuating circumstances or in which there is an explicit and in detailed order by the head interrogator.
The law also mandates that the suspect be read his legal rights prior to interrogation. At the end of the interrogation, when the suspect is asked to sign his statement, he must be informed of his right to refuse to do so.
During the majority of arrests of Palestinian children, the interrogation is carried out in Arabic, but documented in Hebrew, resulting in the children being asked to sign a document written in a language that they do not understand. This violates both the spirit and the letter of the law.
In most cases, the written and translated statement does not accurately reflect the actual answers given by the suspect, but rather is modified and altered to suit the purposes and goals of the interrogation and interrogators.
The immediate consequence of such is demonstrated during the first phase of detention where the statements are deliberated upon by a judge. Without providing the suspect or his attorney the right to object or challenge the content or written text of the statement, the statements are delivered directly to the court in a confidential file, which leads, in many cases, to the extension of arrest until the arbitrary charges are made, without legal base. Thus language itself becomes a lock in the hands of the jailer.