Military courts allowed to order the flogging of children
17 February 1939
On 17 February 1939, the British run mandate government in Palestine introduced a law allowing military courts to order the whipping of children ‘with a light rod or cane or birch,’ of up to twenty four strokes.1 The following month, a question was raised in the House of Commons by Sir Ernest Bennett, the MP for Cardiff Central, about a thirteen year old Arab boy who had been sentenced to eighteen lashes in addition to a ten year prison sentence, for ‘slightly wounding’ a Jew with a firearm. Sir Thomas Inskip, the Dominions Secretary, replied that he was unaware of the case, but that he ‘shared members dislike of flogging of boys of 13’ and had ‘asked the High Commissioner for a report.’ He reassured the House that such sentences, including the flogging of children, were subject to review at ‘the discretion of the General Officer Commanding.’2
- Matthew Hughes, Britain’s Pacification of Palestine: The British Army, the Colonial State, and the Arab Revolt, 1936-1939, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2019, p. 73.
- ‘Lash for an Arab Boy,’ The Belfast Telegraph, 30 March 1939, p. 11 and ‘Sentence on Arab Boy,’ The Edinburgh Evening News, 29 March 1939, p. 9.
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