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Israeli Police Accused of Abusing Detained Palestinian Minors

FILE - In this Aug, 28, 2015 photo, Palestinian women and girls scuffle with an Israeli soldier trying to arrest a 12-year-old boy during a protest near the West Bank village of Nebi Saleh.

Human Rights Watch accused Israeli forces of using unnecessary force while arresting and interrogating Palestinian minors.

A statement by the group also said that arrests of children have increased dramatically since an outbreak of violence erupted in the region in October 2015 that has left over 200 people dead.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem reported that 415 Palestinian minors are currently being held in Israeli prisons – up from just 193 in September 2015.

"Interviews with children who have been detained, video footage and reports from lawyers reveal that Israeli security forces are using unnecessary force in arresting and detaining children, in some cases beating them, and holding them in unsafe and abusive conditions," Human Rights Watch said in their statement.

The rights group cited figures from B’Tselem and UNICEF as well as interviewing three young men – one from the West Bank and two from Israel – annexed east Jerusalem. All three minors reported being slapped, hit, kicked or being put in a chokehold upon their arrest.

Majority not informed of legal rights

In a UNICEF report released in February 2015, 171 out of 208 affidavits of Palestinian minors “reported being subjected to physical violence during arrest, interrogation, and/or detention."

The report also said that only 163 out of the 208 were informed of their legal rights.

Human Rights Watch said in its report that international and domestic Israeli laws provide special protections for children, including allowing a parent to be present for interrogation. It said two out of their three interviewees were denied this right, and the third’s parents were only allowed in after the interrogation had begun.

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told the French news agency AFP that the report was "inaccurate and misleading," stating that "the youths were arrested for being directly involved in terrorist and criminal activity."