The overwhelming majority of minors continue to be restrained with plastic ties following their detention by the military. The ties are often described as “painful” or “very painful” and can restrict blood flow causing swelling. In most cases the ties remain in place for many hours and a significant proportion of minors report being tied during medical checks and interrogation inside secure military facilities. Complaints of pain are generally ignored. All minors continue to be shackled by the ankles during military court appearances.
International juvenile justice standards require that restraints should only be used if the child poses an imminent threat to him or herself, or to others and all other means have been exhausted. Restraints may be used as a precaution against escape during transfer but only for as long as is strictly necessary. In February 2013, UNICEF recommended the use of single plastic hand ties should be prohibited in all circumstances, and the prohibition must be effectively monitored and enforced. Further, except in extreme and unusual circumstances, UNICEF recommends that minors should never be restrained during interrogation, while detained in a cell or while attending court.
Following legal action in 2010, the Office of the Israeli Military Advocate General announced that new procedures had been established and disseminated on the use of hand-ties to prevent pain and injury. Under the new procedures, hands should be tied from the front, unless security considerations require tying from behind. Three plastic ties should be used; one around each wrist and one connecting the two; there should be the space of a finger between the ties and the wrist; the restraints should avoid causing suffering as much as possible; and the officer in charge is responsible for ensuring compliance.
In May 2013, the IDF Legal Advisor for the West Bank issued a letter to the heads of all Brigades, Divisions, Police and Military Police operating in the West Bank reminding all units of existing standard operating procedures and policies in relation to the arrest of minors. Existing standard operating procedures stipulate that: hand-tying should be done at the discretion of the head of forces and always with three plastic ties.
The evidence indicates that the international juvenile justice standards for the use of restraints are generally not followed and Israeli military regulations for their use are frequently ignored.