Gaza, 28 May-2014, Haggai Matar: Four Palestinian girls, at least one of whom is under the age of criminal culpability, are detained and brought for interrogation — without their parents being present — based on a complaint made by a local settler.
Israeli soldiers and police detained four Palestinian girls between the ages of 11 and 15 on suspicion of — eating cherries from trees belonging to the Jewish settlement of Maon in the south Hebron hills on Tuesday. The four were held at the Kiryat Arba police station.
The girls, who live in Khirbet Tuba in the south Hebron hills and go to school in a-Twane, are escorted to and from school on a daily basis by Israeli soldiers. The escorts are a response to years of harassment by settlers who attack Palestinian children on their way to and home from school.
According to B’Tselem, a settler from Maon told the soldiers who were escorting the Palestinian girls that they ate some cherries from the settlement’s trees. According to the report, the soldiers immediately called the police, who took the girls to the Kiryat Arba police station to be interrogated.
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Atty. Gaby Lasky, who is representing the minors, spoke with police on the phone and she was told that the 11 year old and another girl, who apparently has learning and speech disabilities, were released once their parents were contacted. The two others were being held for questioning.
“I have a murder and manslaughter cases that they haven’t questioned the suspects for over a year, but [these girls] need to be interrogated immediately, and without the presence of their parents,” Lasky said.
If the girls were Jewish, it would be illegal for the police to question them without the presence of their parents.