[24 February 2021] – Under Israeli military law a detainee has the right to consult with a lawyer prior to interrogation.[i] There are exceptions but generally these do not apply to children. A detainee must also be informed of this right prior to questioning. In 2006, Israel's Supreme Court confirmed that the right to promptly consult with a lawyer is a fundamental right.[ii] Regardless of the law, for years the military authorities have systematically denied children access to lawyers until after the interrogation process was concluded, and in many cases, coerced confessions were obtained.
- The right to consult with legal counsel has been recognized by the Israeli Supreme Court as a fundamental right of a suspect, and that breach of that right could lead to the inadmissibility of any statement given.
- In December 2013 the Israeli Police started using a revised Arabic text to notify children arrested for alleged security offenses of their rights, including the right to legal counsel.
- The same regulations apply for Palestinian children in military detention as for Israeli children under Israeli law: children have the right to consult with a lawyer, but the lawyer does not have the right to be present during the interrogation.
- The Military Prosecutor attempted to compile a list of lawyers representing children before the military juvenile courts, to be at children’s disposal upon arrival at the police stations.
- The Military Prosecutor has also facilitated an initial meeting with the Israeli police to discuss how children are notified of their rights, including the right to counsel, and explore options, including child-friendly materials, to ensure that children are clear that they can avail themselves of these rights.
- "At around 1:00 a.m. I was re-tied and taken to Al Mascobiyya police station in Jerusalem where I was interrogated again. This time the blindfold was removed but not the tie. The interrogator did not inform me of my right to silence but half way through the interrogation he told me I could consult with a lawyer. He then phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The conversation lasted for about a minute and the interrogator was listening. (A.M.Y.W. - 15 yrs)
- "About half way through the interrogation the interrogator phoned a lawyer and handed me the telephone to speak to him. The lawyer told me to give short answers like “yes” and to only talk about things that actually happened. I spoke to the lawyer for about a minute and then the interrogator took the telephone away. He was listening to our conversation." (I.S.I.M. - 16 yrs)
- "The interrogator told me I had the right to consult with a lawyer. Then he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me to deny everything and advised me to remain silent. I spoke to the lawyer for about two minutes on a land line in another room and the interrogator was not listening." (R.U.K.K. - 15 yrs)
- "At the end of the interrogation the interrogator told me I had the right to consult with a lawyer but he did not call a lawyer for me. Then he showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to write my name on the document and I did." (T.A.F.S. - 15 yrs)
- Evidence update: hand ties (October 2020)
- Evidence update: blindfolds (November 2020)
- Evidence update: forcible transfer of children (December 2020)
- Evidence update: night arrests and summonses (January 2021)