A 15-year-old boy detained by the Jerusalem police during a Nakba Day protest on May 15 was hospitalized shortly after his arrest with a cracked skull, a torn liver and severe bruising on his hands and feet. He was released from the hospital on Tuesday after 11 days of treatment.
Police said one of the injuries was caused by a paintball fired at him as he threw rocks during a riot, while the rest were caused when he tripped and fell over.
The boy, who can only be identified as A.A., and his father both told Haaretz they were visiting the boy’s grandfather in Issawiyeh, a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, when A.A. went to buy cigarettes for his father. He told Haaretz he was grabbed by police when he emerged from his grandfather’s alley. One of the policemen then knocked him unconscious with a rifle butt.
He said he was taken aboard a police jeep, from which he was removed at a gas station near the exit from the village. The police woke him up by pouring water on him, then beat him until he started spitting blood and lost consciousness again. He said he has no recollection of the next 24 hours, until he woke up Monday afternoon at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, surrounded by police.
Meanwhile, his family, who had heard that he had been beaten and detained, searched for him at various police stations, but were only told of his whereabouts 26 hours later, when an attorney saw their distress and demanded that a police officer disclose their son’s whereabouts.
His parents told Haaretz that when they arrived at the hospital, policemen and a Hadassah security guard prevented them from getting near A.A., as he was still under arrest. Police would not leave until A.A. signed a promise to come to a police station for questioning.
According to his discharge papers, A.A.’s condition on arriving at the hospital was as follows: drowsy, suffering from grade 8 pain (on a scale of 10 ), a bleeding scalp, subdural bleeding in the face and chest, scrapes on his back and multiple bruises on his limbs. A CAT scan found the boy had a cracked skull and a tear in his liver.
A Jerusalem Police spokesman told Haaretz that while police were chasing stone-throwers, “a single paintball was fired, and as a result, the young man was hit, causing him to fall to the ground and injure himself. He was picked up by the forces and taken to a police clinic. The medic there decided he needed to go to the hospital for further treatment, and the suspect was sent to a hospital and put under guard, as is customary in such cases.”
It also said the police’s efforts to trace the boy’s parents were in vain.
“The police strongly reject allegations that the detainee was beaten or that a meeting with his parents was conditioned upon signing any document,” the police statement continued. “The suspect was merely summoned to come in for questioning after he recovered. All the material related to the case has been sent to the Justice Ministry’s department for investigating police officers.”
Hadassah spokeswoman Yael Bosem Levy told Haaretz that A.A. arrived at the hospital fully conscious. She also said the hospital does not prevent relatives from visiting their loved ones unless under court order to do so.
A.A.’s attorney, Abir Bakr, said in response that the medical report clearly indicates severe injuries inflicted by deliberate beating. She also said the claim police couldn’t find the boy’s parents was “absurd.”