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Israeli Commander charged with torturing Palestinian boy

Chris McGreal
The Guardian
October 22, 2002


An Israeli army commander has been relieved of his post after being charged with torturing a young Palestinian boy in Bethlehem while interrogating him as to the whereabouts of his father.

Lieutenant Colonel Geva Saguy is awaiting a court martial on several charges, including ordering the boy to strip naked, holding a burning paper under his testicles, threatening to ram a bottle into his anus and threatening to shoot him. The boy's name and age have not been revealed.

A military court was told that Lt Col Saguy was trying to obtain information about the boy's father - described as a "wanted Palestinian" - during the army's invasion of Bethlehem in April. Lt Col Saguy was charged with extortion, behaviour unbecoming an officer and exceeding his authority to the point of endangering human life.

He was relieved of his post on the orders of the military court after it turned down a request for the charges to be thrown out. The army had resisted the move for several months.

A sergeant is accused of translating Lt Col Saguy's threats into Arabic and of beating the youth.

The Israeli army says Lt Col Saguy was reported by other officers who declined to serve under him after his maltreatment of the Palestinian boy.