Mentally handicapped 4 year old arrested by Israeli forces in Silwan
March 29, 2011

A mentally handcapped Palestinian child has been arrested and interrogated by Israeli forces because he was playing with a plastic gun. At the beginning of March this year an Israeli jeep on patrol halted in Al-Bustan district to arrest a 12-year old mentally handicapped child named Mahdi Abu Nab from outside his home. Mahdi, who is a student at a school for the mentally disabled, was playing with a plastic toy gun, which troops saw as reason enough to take the boy by force and into the jeep. The Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights, who dealt with the case, was told by Mahdi's father Ahmed Abu Nab that "when I saw what happened I moved immediately towards the jeep and tried to stop them from taking my son by blocking the vehicle's path. I hoped that they would realise that Mahdi is disabled and release him. They refused, telling me that my son had threatened their lives with his action. After an intense argument they let him go on the condition that I bring him the following day to the Salah al-Din police station for interrogation. "We came the next day as they had demanded. The investigator immediately began accusing my son of threatening soldiers with his plastic gun. I told him that my son is mentally handicapped, questioning under what law a child playing with a toy gun is forbidden. I also provided them with medical reports to verify my son's condition. The investigator told me outright that he believed these reports to be falsified then accused me of obstructing the patrols' work in my attempt to block the jeep that day. He seemed utterly unconvinced by my statement. "A special lawyer was brought to investigate Mahdi. The lawyer asked Mahdi his age and where he goes to school - and my son answered that he is 4 years old and studies in Assawiyya. The lawyer, upon hearing how Mahdi answered him believed that his is disabled and advised the investigator to halt the interrogation." Ahmed Abu Nab added that the investigator's accusation against him of obstructing military work was recorded in the investigation report. The investigator also questioned Ahmed as to the whereabouts of his elder son Muhannad during the arrest incident.