On Saturday, 2 September 2017 at 4 pm, Mustafa Fayeq Salman, a 16-year-old resident of Beit Lahia, was brought to the intensive care unit of the Indonesian Hospital in the North Gaza district where he was declared clinically dead. According to Al Mezan’s field investigations, Mustafa had been detained at a police station in Beit Lahia from 2 July 2017 for participating in a family feud. He was held with adult detainees. While in detention, he submitted a request to spend the Eid holidays with his family. After his request was rejected, Mustafa allegedly attempted to commit suicide by using parts of his clothing to hang himself in the bathroom of the police station.
According to Mustafa’s aunt, Ameera Salman, 35, Mustafa was detained after getting into a fight with members of another family.
“Three days before Eid Al-Adha, he requested to spend the Eid holiday with his family, like other detainees. His request was rejected,” Ameera said. “On Saturday, 2 September 2017 at 4:30 pm, I was in my house, adjacent to Mustafa’s, when the police informed his family that he had been taken to the hospital. I accompanied his mother and brothers to the Indonesian Hospital, and there we were told about his suicide attempt. The doctors then referred Mustafa to the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, and while awaiting transfer, I saw him and tried to talk to him, but received no response. One doctor told me Mustafa was in a very critical condition.”
The head of the police station declined to comment on Mustafa’s case, and referred all communication to the inspector general at the Ministry of Interior. The inspector general confirmed that an investigation into the case has been requested.
Al Mezan reminds all concerned officials to follow Article 24 of Palestinian Law No. 6 from 1998, which regulates that all juveniles are to be placed in special centers within as short a time frame as possible after arrest. Juveniles are to be separated from adults in all circumstances. Al Mezan further stresses that children have special protections as enshrined in Palestinian Child Law No. 7 of 2004, in addition to conventions such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (Beijing Rules). Al Mezan demands that the investigation into Mustafa’s case by the public prosecutor be open and transparent, and that all those found responsible for his condition be held accountable. Al Mezan calls on all relevant authorities to ensure that the rights of juveniles are respected and in line with local and international standards.