A family embraces, protects and raises the child from the first moments of birth. The child’s chance of growing up and developing sufficiently would be slim without the presence of adults to take care of and raise the child, as is the case applies with all living beings. This is why the presence of adults is very important for the continuation of a child’s life.
We all know that a child’s first refuge in case of danger and tension is his family. Intense feelings of fear and terror, anxiety, tension and nervousness accompany the arrest process and investigation. This is precisely when the child is in deep need of having his family members around, in order to feel a little reassurance.
Preventing parents from attending the interrogation is a violation of international legal agreements. Nonetheless, it is deliberately used as a method to impose additional pressure on the child and to disrupt his thinking or any form of resistance he had in mind.
In such circumstances and without parental presence, the child becomes an easy victim for the interrogator and he or she can be directed in any way the interrogator pleases.
Several methods are used to impose pressure on children, including the prevention of family visits, the lack of counselors and psychologists, the practice of detaining children together with adults and with Israeli children who have committed crimes, verbal abuse, assault, isolation, sexual harassment, group punishment, the deliberate failure to address illnesses and diseases, and the denial of children their rights to education.
In many cases, the child is detained with other children accused of felonies, and with adults who are accused of crimes and the Palestinian child’s privacy is neglected entirely. The child is sometimes detained under such conditions without the knowledge of his parents or his lawyer and is usually prevented from communicating with his family. All this serves to expose the child to additional tension and psychological pressure.
Another aspect is feeling unsafe and losing confidence in the role played by his family to keep him safe. Subsequently, the child will often develop the feeling that his family left him and did not stand by him in the most difficult of circumstances. This may later generate fury towards the family at a later stage of the child’s life.
Many children demonstrated several psychological symptoms such as:
1. Severe anxiety at most times.
2. Lack of ability to control anxiety.
3. Lack of calmness.
4. Frequent fatigue
5. Difficulty in concentrating and a feeling that the brain can no longer function.
6. Sensitivity and high excitability.
7. Muscle contractions
8. Disrupted sleep (difficulty in falling asleep or staying sleeping, discomfort while sleeping or inadequate sleep hours).
Mustafa al Kurd (The artist in the photo):
Hope is the secret that dwells between the ribs from childhood
Hope is the weapon that protects from the jailer’s brutality
and from the darkness of dungeons.
Despite the fact that detention or imprisonment is inherently a restriction of the detainee’s freedom of movement and freedom of communication, the detainee cannot be completely deprived of his rights to communicate with others. His essential rights must be ensured.
For example, in the early stages of the detention of suspects and during the interrogation, it is unacceptable and forbidden to prevent family members from visiting and communicating with them by telephone under the pretext of maintaining the investigation without disturbance.
The law guarantees the right of the detainee to meet with a lawyer and get legal advice before the interrogation. The lawyer can also visit the detainee during the time of the detention and only in exceptional cases is the lawyer prevented from visiting his client. The visit can only be postponed for reasons that directly impact the investigation, and only in accordance with prior written approvals by the officer in charge.
In reality, and as is the case in many other human rights aspects that are accompanied with the detention of Palestinian children, the rules become exceptions and vice versa as the detainee is prevented from visiting with his lawyers and is also prevented from being visited or contacted by his family members in order to put extra psychological pressure on the accused or the suspect and to obtain a confession.