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Torture in Israeli Prison

ADDAMEER Prisoners' Support - Axis of logic


January 4, 2006



Torture in Israeli Prisons

Principle (6) of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988, stipulates that:
"No person under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

No circumstance whatever may be invoked as a justification for torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
The UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 39/46 of 10 Decem! ber 1984, goes on to define torture explicitly in its first article:
"For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions."
Physical and psychological torture against Palestinian and Arab prisoners has been a distinguishing factor of Israeli occupation since 1967. Torture has taken different shapes throughout the period of occupation, thus, the Israeli security services have succeeded in achieving great experience in developing new methods of torture, finding loopholes and deceiving the world. Israel has always denied its involvement in using torture as a method of interrogation, despite all tangible evidence, in particular the death of tens of detainees in interrogation rooms and the deformation of others. Israel has used conventional methods of torture. But recently it has been using psychologically, mental and physical painful means of torture that leave fewer physical evidence, such as forcing prisoners to sit on a tiny chair with hands and feet tied, standing up in a closet, depr! iving detainees from sleep and using violent shaking, etc.
Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.
Article 2, UN Convention Against Torture. Article 4 Convention against Torture Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which consitutes complicity or participation in torture. Each State Party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature.
On the other hand, opposing torture has not stopped. Palestinian, International and Israeli institutions and individuals have opposed torture in the past years through different means, mainly the Israeli jurisdiction that has previously allowed moderate physical pressure, which opened the way for torturing at least thirty thousand Palestinian detainees since 1987.
These practices led to embarrassing the so-called Israeli democracy and forced the Israeli High Court of Justice to enact a law that prohibits the use of certain! types of torture, which are the types described in the petitions made before the Court. The Israeli High Court of Justice's decision is in response to seven petitions produced before the Israeli High Court by Israeli human rights institutions during 1994-99 regarding the methods of torture used by the Israeli intelligence services against Palestinian prisoners. The Court delayed hearing and ruling on the petitions, while at the same time it required the Israeli government to enact a law that organizes the work of the intelligence services so as to avoid a court ruling against them. The Israeli government did not enact such a law, and on 6 September 1996 the High Court made its ruling after being criticized by local and international human rights activists.
The policies of Palestinian and Israeli institutions in the past years has focused on producing as many petitions ! as possible before the Israeli High Court of Justice against torture, with these petitions pressuring the Court to make its ruling.
The Court's decision dealt only with part of the Israeli practices, which were never called torture as described in international laws and conventions signed by Israel; instead they were called "physical means".
The Israeli intelligence services relied on the Landau Ministerial Committee's license of 1987 which gave them the power to use moderate physical pressure--as it was called by the Committee--and psychological pressure in interrogation before this decision was taken. The Committee did not explain the meaning of the so-called moderate physical pressure in its published report and the cases in which it is allowed to be used. Instead, it kept the details of its report confidential, and it was never published. The Ministerial Committee extended the time period of the license every three months; henceforth, the intelligence officials used the license to apply all types of torture methods against Palestinian detainees whom they considered as time bombs.
All prisoners have experienced at least one method of torture. According to the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, statistics show that more than 85% of Palestinian detainees are subjected to torture.

The methods of torture described before the Hi

gh Court

Torture Methods
From the first moment of arrest the physical torture begins with the  placement of handcuffs and the covering of the head with a bag effecting the breathing of the prisoner. This is often accompanied by beatings and cursing by the interrogators. In more then 90% of torture methods utilize "shabh". The prisoner legs are tied to a small stool and his hands are tied behind his back with a bag covering his head sometimes for more then 48 hours continuously in which he is given only 5 minute breaks between each sitting. During interrogation periods the prisoner is usually not allowed to sit in a normal sitting position but is forced to crouch down. Torture Methods Also the prisoner is tied to a loop in the wall while standing or he is seated on a small stool and his hands are tied behind his back to a table which is higher! thereby forcing his shoulders and arms to stay in a raised position. These types of tying methods became so familiar within the interrogation process they no longer are perceived as illegal or insulting to the individuals' rights and their dignity. One of the most difficult forms of physical torture is the "shaking". The interrogator takes hold of the prisoner by the collar and violently shakes him for over a minute. This torture method is very dangerous. You certainly remember the death of the Palestinian prisoner Abd al Summad Herisat in the April 1995 as a result of shaking. After that the forensic pathologist, Dr. Robert Kirschner, stated that the use of shaking is very dangerous and causes serious, and irreversible brain damage. There is much more which can be said about the dangers of physical torture but this is not the time for it.
Torture Methods Psychological War- This method of torture entails the interrogator threatened by and therefore utilizes the security of the state to justify the use of torture against Palestinians. It is known that from a legal stand point there is no way to charge a person with a crime without evidence or by his own confession to the crime. What would make a person confess to a crime when he knows that there is no evidence against him? To torture a person in order to get him to confess to a crime he did not commit or say something he does not wish to say shows that the person is not dealt with as a human being but rather as a means to arrive to an desired end. The question is how can a country that claims it is democratic and that it respects individuals as human beings legitimize this.
Preventing the detainees from sleeping for a period of 5-10 continuous days is another method of torture. In addition to the table squat, beating, cursing and depriving prisoners from the natural right of using toilets and changing their underwear in order to insult and degrade them.
Serving bad and little food rations and serving the last meal at four o'clock in the afternoon in order to make prisoners starve. Preventing prisoners from meeting lawyers for thirty days, using security as an excuse for such actions. Solitary confinement in cold, rotting and narrow cells where prisoners spend 45-70 days in such conditions and sometimes 90 days, as in the case of the detainees Muhammad Salih and Ata Jafal.
The High Court ruling on 6 September 1999 dealt with the torture methods of violent shaking, tying against small chairs, handcuffing and preventing sleeping. The Court ruled that using violent shaking and painful tying to small chairs are prohibited. It also ruled that preventing sleeping and handcuffing were prohibited. Using a sack to cover the head and playing loud music during tying prisoners to little chairs was also prohibited.
The Court ruled that these methods are prohibited when used as a means during interrogation to put pressure on the detainees. Whereas, if they are used as necessary means of interrogation, then they are allowed. For instance, an interrogator can cuff the detainee to guarantee his (the interrogator's) safety during the interrogation for long hours, which can be 20 hours. This is exactly what the interrogators do now after the Court ruling: they tie a prisoner to a chair for long periods of time to replace the previous method of tying a prisoner to a tiny chair and placing a sack on top of his head.
The exceptional cases as claimed by the prosecution under "the necessary protection" where intelligence officers have the right to use the methods of torture whenever necessary, are known as the time bomb. The Court ruled that this protection given in compliance with the Israeli criminal law does not give the legal power to the intelligence officers to use physical force against detainees. The Court did not rule that the use of power in these cases is completely prohibited, as is the case in international conventions. On the contrary, it left it open for the Israeli Knesset (parliament) to enact laws that give the intelligence officers the authority to use such power. The judges declared in Article 39 of the ruling stated that at this stage they do not take a decision and possibly there is a view that says that the security problems Israel faces are too many, therefore, power should be given to interrogators to use physical methods during interrogation.
The Court has not ruled that if one intelligence officer uses torture he will be taken to court or not, because it left the use of "necessary protection" open to interpretation.
Henceforth, we realize that the Court ruling, though it was a first step towards prohibiting the use of torture, does not eliminate the legalization of the use of torture from Israeli law, especially as it allows the Knesset to enact a proper law if it deems necessary in the interrogation rooms. Many Knesset members, who opposed torture in the past, support the use of torture by intelligence officers since, in their opinion, it is necessary to protect the state security.
The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak issued a direct order of forming a committee, known as the Sokhar-Mizuz committee, to establish a draft law that gives the intelligence officers the authority to use torture. The majority of the members of the committee supported giving the intelligence officers the authority to use pressure in exceptional cases in order to force confessions from detainees during interrogation so as to save lives. The minority of the members of the committee, including Yossi Beilen, the Israeli Minister of Justice, opposed the draft law "that gives the authority to use physical means during interrogation by the intelligence officers".
Despite all the peace talks and agreements, the arrest campaigns, pursuing Palestinians, interrogating them and torturing them has not stop in 1999.
The Association faced m! any obstacles in its follow up of the detainees' cases during custody and interrogation because it was prevented from meeting them for security reasons. The Association has also noticed that the security services do not follow the law or the right of the clients to see their lawyers by using excuses such as the detainee is in the interrogation room or has been taken to another prison. These obstacles forced the Association to take its cases to the High Court many times. ADDAMEER has also identified that the Israeli security services use various kinds of torture against almost all prisoners, most noticeably, tying against a chair, violent shaking, preventing sleeping and beating.
To confirm our argument, these are some of the cases that ADDAMEER followed up in 1999:
  • Walid Musa Hamid Hussein
  • Bassam Abdulrahim Hamid
  • Fawzi Ayid Jabra
  • Three women were arrested and placed under interrogation in 1999 at Al Jalami prison. They were subjected to the most atrocious methods of torture. They were Asma Atatra, Wafa Hamarsha from Yabad and Muna Qa' dan from Araba.
The interrogation services began to change some of their methods of torture but keeping torturing anyway in the aftermath of the High Court ruling in September 1999 regarding prohibiting the use of some torture methods. These included replacing Jewish torturers with Arab torturers and sending detainees to the collaborators rooms known as "the shameful rooms' for a period of more than one month in some cases. During this period the detainees would be prevented from s! eeing their lawyers and the interrogation would be carried out in a systematic way agreed upon by the intelligence services' officers. Torture would be used in different ways such as beating, degradation, threatening, starving and cheating. The detainees who were victims of "the shameful rooms" emphasized that the conditions in these rooms are so harsh since torture and threatening and fear surround them.
The Israeli intelligence services still use torture and attempt to recruit more collaborators. It is evident that there is an increase in the campaigns of arresting young people who are still under eighteen years of age in order to recruit them as collaborators for the Israeli intelligence services.
ADDAMEER witnessed the extent of compliance of the Israeli intelligence services with the Court ruling. It identified a violation of t! he ruling since some methods of torture are still being used against the detainees such as tying them against a tiny chair, beating them and depriving them from sleeping. Detainees are still suffering from malnutrition and solitary confinement for long periods of time and preventing them from changing their underwear.
ADDAMEER followed up 32 cases in interrogation since the issuance of the Court ruling on September 6 1999 until the end of 1999, some of the cases include:
  • Yassin Bazar
  • Mansor Mahmoud Alshahatit
  • Rami Abu Hlal"
http://www.addameer.org/detention/children.html  :



    Early Adulthood, Stolen Childhood

    Since the beginning of this Intifada in September 2000, over 2500 children have been arrested. Currently there are at least 340 Palestinian children being held in Israeli Prisons.
    According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted on 20 November 1989 and entered into force on 2 September1990 (to which Israel is a signatory), and to relevant Israeli law, a child is defined as every human be! ing under the age of 18 years. This is reiterated in the UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, adopted by General Assembly Resolution 45/113 of 14 December 1990. However, Palestinian children from the age of 16 years are considered adults under Israeli military regulations governing the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
    As is the case with adult prisoners, child detainees are transferred to prisons located within Israel. The primary prisons in which Palestinian child male detainees are held are Hasharon (Telmond), near Netanya, and Megiddo, near Haifa. Girl child prisoners are transferred to Neve Tertza Prison (Ramleh). Interrogation of child detainees takes place at Beit El and Huwarra Interrogation Centers, and occasionally other interrogation centers, and Palestinian child administrative detainees are held with ! adult administrative detainees at both Ofer and Negev Military Prison Camps. Palestinian children are primarily arrested at Israeli military checkpoints, from their homes, or from the street.
    Arrests from Military Checkpoints
    Palestinian children arrested from Israeli military checkpoints are often made to wait for hours at the checkpoint, with their hands cuffed, before they are transferred to detention and interrogation centers. More often than not, Palestinian child detainees are subject to beatings, curses and threats during the transfer. In most cases, their families are not informed of their arrest, with child prisoners additionally being transferred from one prison to another without informing the family. As a result, it often takes some time before a child detainee is located and the family informed of his/her location.
    Arrests from Home
    Arrests of Palestinian children often happen in the middle of the night from the childĺs home, with tens of soldiers surrounding the house and then raiding it. Soldiers usually do not have a warrant for arrest or searches. The entire house is searched, often ransacked and personal property destroyed, occupants humiliated and harassed.

    Detention Centers and Prisons

    Megiddo Military Prison
    Megiddo is a military prison camp located north of the West Bank and administered by the Israeli Ministry of Defence. Palestinian male child prisoners between the ages of 16-18 are held at the military prison camp together with Palestinian adult prisoners.
    Over 1,000 Palestinian detainees are held at Megiddo, including approximately 80 child prisoners aged between 16-18. Prisoners are held in military tents and divided amongst 5 different sections of the prison, with each section accommodating 8 tents. Palestinian child prisoners at Megiddo do not receive any special education as they are considered adults under Israeli military regulations and are therefore unable to continue their studies whilst in detention. Child prisoners are subject to medical negligence from the prison administration.
    Hasharon (Telmond) Prison
    Hasharon (Telmond) Prison is a central prison located between Tel Aviv and Netanya, administered by the Israeli Prisons Authority. The prison dates to the British Mandate period and is in disrepair. From the beginning of the 1990ĺs, Palestinian male child prisoners below t! he age of 16 have been held in various sections of the prison.
    Sections 7 and 8 of Hasharon Prison are the primary areas in which Palestinian child prisoners are held. Section 7 holds 38 child prisoners and Section 8 holds 50 child prisoners. The cells in each of the sections consist of a total of 21 beds and 1 toilet. Palestinian child prisoners who hold Israeli blue identity cards (Jerusalemites or citizens of Israel) are held in the Ofek section of the prison, which is a rehabilitation section intended for Israeli juvenile criminal prisoners. The prison includes an outside yard that is enclosed by high walls and is approximately15m by 15m. All prisoners use the yard during their outdoor breaks.
    Prior to the beginning of the current Intifada, Palestinian child prisoners were held in section 9 of the prison, separated from criminal prisoners and rece! iving special education. However, at the beginning of the current Intifada, as a result of the dramatic increase of child arrests, Palestinian child prisoners from the West Bank and Gaza Strip began to be placed in criminal sections of Ofek prison and subject to increased harassment.
    Neve Tertza (Ramleh) Prison
    This prison is administered by the Israeli Prisons Authority and holds female prisoners.? In 2002, 11 girl child prisoners were being held in Israeli prisons, the youngest being Zeinab Al Shouli and 'Aisha 'Obeyat, who both turned 15 whilst in prison.
    Ofer and Negev (Ketziot) Military Prison Camps
    Palestinian male child prisoners serving administrative detention orders are held together with adult Palestinian male prisoners at both Ofer and Negev Military Prison Camps. The Israel Ministry of Defence administer! s both military prison camps.

    Conditions of detention in which Palestinian child prisoners are held

    Palestinian child prisoners are held in inhumane conditions of detention, made to live in overcrowded and filthy cells. Often, children are placed in small solitary confinement cells, measuring 1.5 square meters, that are extremely humid and have no windows for natural light, or with bright artificial light that is continuously kept on. This forces prisoners to remain awake at all times, depriving the prisoner of sleep for days in some cases. Prisoners do not receive sufficient food to meet the daily nutrition requirements for children, are prevented from going to the toilet at their will, and are not allowed a change of clothing.
    The UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty offers clear standards for the conditions of detention that children may be held in within Section D of the rules:
    D. Physical environment and accommodation
    31. Juveniles deprived of their liberty have the right to facilities and services that meet all the requirements of health and human dignity.
    32. The design of detention facilities for juveniles and the physical environment should be in keeping with the rehabilitative aim of residential treatment, with due regard to the need of the juvenile for privacy, sensory stimuli, opportunities for association with peers and participation in sports, physical exercise and lei! sure-time activities. The design and structure of juvenile detention facilities should be such as to minimize the risk of fire and to ensure safe evacuation from the premises. There should be an effective alarm system in case of fire, as well as formal and drilled procedures to ensure the safety of the juveniles. Detention facilities should not be located in areas where there are known health or other hazards or risks.
    33. Sleeping accommodation should normally consist of small group dormitories or individual bedrooms, while bearing in mind local standards. During sleeping hours there should be regular, unobtrusive supervision of all sleeping areas, including individual rooms and group dormitories, in order to ensure the protection of each juvenile. Every juvenile should, in accordance with local or nation! al standards, be provided with separate and sufficient bedding, which should be clean when issued, kept in good order and changed often enough to ensure cleanliness.
    34. Sanitary installations should be so located and of a sufficient standard to enable every juvenile to comply, as required, with their physical needs in privacy and in a clean and decent manner.
    35. The possession of personal effects is a basic element of the right to privacy and essential to the psychological well being of the juvenile. The right of every juvenile to possess personal effects and to have adequate storage facilities for them should be fully recognized and respected. Personal effects that the juvenile does not choose to retain or that are confiscated should be placed in safe custody! . An inventory thereof should be signed by the juvenile. Steps should be taken to keep them in good condition. All such articles and money should be returned to the juvenile on release, except in so far as he or she has been authorized to spend money or send such property out of the facility. If a juvenile receives or is found in possession of any medicine, the medical officer should decide what use should be made of it.
    36. To the extent possible juveniles should have the right to use their own clothing. Detention facilities should ensure that each juvenile has personal clothing suitable for the climate and adequate to ensure good health, and which should in no manner be degrading or humiliating. Juveniles removed from or leaving a facility for any purpose should be allowed to wear their own clothing! .
    37. Every detention facility shall ensure that every juvenile receives food that is suitably prepared and presented at normal meal times and of a quality and quantity to satisfy the standards of dietetics, hygiene and health and, as far as possible, religious and cultural requirements. Clean drinking water should be available to every juvenile at any time.
    The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, applicable to all imprisoned individuals, also specifies the standards required for conditions of detention:
    9. (1) Where sleeping accommodation is in individual cells or rooms, each prisoner shall occupy by night a cell or room by himself. If for special reasons, such as temporary overcrowding, it becomes necessary for the ce! ntral prison administration to make an exception to this rule, it is not desirable to have two prisoners in a cell or room.
    (2) Where dormitories are used, they shall be occupied by prisoners carefully selected as being suitable to associate with one another in those conditions. There shall be regular supervision by night, in keeping with the nature of the institution.
    10. All accommodation provided for the use of prisoners and in particular all sleeping accommodation shall meet all requirements of health, due regard being paid to climatic conditions and particularly to cubic content of air, minimum floor space, lighting, heating and ventilation


    Palestinian child detainees are subject to physical and psychological torture during their interrogation in order to force them to confess to activities they may or may not have done. The majority of confessions and sentences are related to throwing stones. Under extreme physical and psychological pressure, children often confess to such activities to end the circumstances they find themselves, often confessing to things they didn't do.
    During interrogation, children are isolated from their families and lawyers are often not informed of the place of their detention. The child is usually not allowed to meet with a lawyer during the first period of interrogation, confining the child's world to the interrogation room and the interrogator, adding to the psychological! stress the child already finds himself/herself in.
    Child detainees are interrogated by either the Israeli police of by officers of the Israeli General Security Services (GSS). The initial interrogation period lasts for 4 days, with the possibility of renewal for another 4 days by the interrogation team. After this 8-day period, the child detainee must be brought before a military judge.

    Health Conditions

    Like all Palestinian prisoners, Palestinian child prisoners are subject to medical negligence from the prison administration. Simple medical treatment, such as painkillers, is often refused the prisoners if the doctor is not available in the prison at the time. Prisoners must wait until the next morning, ! when the doctor or nurse is in the prison, before they are administered painkillers or examined. Prisoners are not given regular medical checkups, and it can take up to 6 months before a prisoner is seen by a specialist, if the medical conditions warrant it. For example, child prisoners Nasser Zeid, Wadeeĺ Hassanain, and Abdullah Atta have needed urgent eye examinations and glasses for at least 4 months.
    Israeli authorities are in clear violation of international law in the medical negligence practiced against Palestinian child prisoners. The UN Minimum Standard Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, under the section relating medical services, provides that:
    22. (1) At every institution there shall be available the services of at least one qualified medical officer who should have some knowledge of psychiatry. The medical services sho! uld be organized in close relationship to the general health administration of the community or nation. They shall include a psychiatric service for the diagnosis and, in proper cases, the treatment of states of mental abnormality.
    (2) Sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals. Where hospital facilities are provided in an institution, their equipment, furnishings and pharmaceutical supplies shall be proper for the medical care and treatment of sick prisoners, and there shall be a staff of suitable trained officers.
    (3) The services of a qualified dental officer shall be available to every prisoner.
    Food provided to Palestinian child prisoners is prepared by Israeli criminal prisoners and is poor in both quality and quantity. The food is often undercooked, lacking in flavor, and does not meet the daily nutritional requirements for children. Article 20 (1) of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners states that "every prisoner shall be provided by the administration at the usual hours with food of nutritional value adequate for health and strength, of wholesome quality and well prepared and served." This is clearly not the case for Palestinian child prisoners held within Israeli prisons.

    Right to Education

    Despite the fact that the majority of Palestinian child prisoners are arrested whilst they are still school stu! dents, the Israeli authorities clearly neglect the child's right to education whilst in detention. The prison administration does not provide the conditions or materials required to continue their education, despite the fact that international law clearly states that children must be afforded the right to education in all circumstances. In particular, the Israeli authorities neglect of child prisoners right to education is a clear violation of the educational requirements of prisoners stipulated in the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners:
    77. (1) "Provision shall be made for the further education of all prisoners capable of profiting thereby, including religious instruction in the countries where this is possible. The education of illiterates and young prisoners shall be compulsory and special attenti! on shall be paid to it by the administration."
    (2) " So far as practicable, the education of prisoners shall be integrated with the educational system of the country so that after their release they may continue their education without difficulty."

    Summary of violations

    • Attacks by Israeli criminal prisoners, including threats and stabbings.
    • Subject to sexual, physical and verbal harassment. Sexual harassment has been practiced against a number of child prisoners and threats of beatings if the child reports the incident to the administration. One child prisoner who complained to the administration about sexual harassment was attacked by Israeli criminal prisoners with knives and injured in his leg.
    • Theft of personal belongings, including phone cards, shoes and foodstuff that is purchased from the prison canteen.
    • Absence of newspapers and recreational facilities.
    • Prevention of family visits, and the subsequent psychological impact on child prisoners.
    • Held in sections with criminal prisoners.
    • Deprived of continuation of education whilst in detention.
    • The absence of the psychological care and counselors within the prison.
    • Tortured during the interrogation period.
    • Feeling alone and isolated ! from the outside world.
    • Attempts to coerce children to work as collaborators with Israeli security agencies.
    • Absence of entertainment and cultural items.
    • Medical negligence.
    Additional issues regarding child prisoners
    It is prohibited to use forms of torture such as shackling as a means of punishment against child prisoners. However, this is common practice in Israeli prisons with child prisoners. Child prisoners held for security reasons should be detained in separate sections and apart from criminal prisoners. In violation of this principle, Palestinian child prisoners detained for security reasons are held with Israeli criminal prisoners."





    As a result of their visible activity in the current Intifada, Palestinian women have! not escaped the mass arrest campaigns. Palestinian women in detention are subjected to mistreatment on a daily basis and are often held in cells and sections with Israeli criminal prisoners. Regular body searches are performed with brutality by prison guards; sexual harassment occurs frequently; the right to elect a representative for their collective demands is not recognized as in other prisons; solitary confinement is often used as a form of punishment; detainees are prohibited from going outside regularly or of using the canteen; cell searches and confiscation of personal belongings is a common practice; and attacks on women by beating or firing tear gas into cells occur regularly.
    At the end of 2004, there were over 120 Palestinian women being held by Israeli authorities. The number has steadily increased over the years of the Intifada making this the largest! number of female detainees held by Israel in two-decades. Female prisoners are placed in 2 central prisons, Neve Tresta and Hasharon-Telmond.
    17 of these women are mothers, two women, Mervat Taha and Manal Ghanem, gave birth while in detention and Manal continues to live with her child, Nour, inside the prison. Mervat was recently released with her son, Wa'el, now 2 years old has lived his entire life inside the prison. There are currently eight girls (under age 18) inside Israeli jails in addition to a number of women who have turned 18 while they were imprisoned. Israel detains children as young as 12 years old, in blatant contravention of the internationally accepted designation of any individual under the age of 18 as a child. Israeli military regulations stipulate that a child is anyone under the age of 16, whilst Israeli law stipulates ! this age to be under 18.
    Many Palestinian women prisoners are transferred to Neve Tertza Prison, one of six sections of Ramleh Prison after their interrogation process. Here Palestinian female detainees remain detained within the same section as Israeli criminal female prisoners accused of crimes such as murder, theft, drug use, and prostitution. Mixing Palestinian prisoners with Israeli criminal prisoners has created a great deal of tension within the prison, particularly as political prisoners should be separated from other categories of prisoners.
    The prison administration continues to humiliate Palestinian female prisoners by forcing them to strip in front of prison guards while their hands are cuffed, and then to dress before these same guards. The administration conducts regular searches of prison cells, conf! iscating personal property and papers.
    The prison administration has diligently worked at breaking the unity of the female detainees by isolating them from the outside world and preventing family visits. Correspondence to and from the prison is also prohibited, and newspapers are allowed in the prison but are delayed by a few days. Visits amongst other prisoners are prevented and daily breaks have been reduced to half an hour. Palestinian women prisoners at Neve Tertza Prison reported that their conditions of detention were extremely difficult, with no glass protecting windows in the cells and insects and vermin found throughout the prison. Because of the prevention of family visits, prisoners do not have adequate winter clothing or extra food to supplement the small food portions they receive in prison.
    Some Palestinian female prisoner! s have been arrested as a means of placing pressure on their husbands. Asma' Abu el-Hayja, for example, who is 40 years old and is suffering from brain cancer, is being held in an administrative detention in order to pressure her husband who is also under detention. Mrs. Ablaa' Saadat was arrested on 21 January 2003 as she travelled as a Palestinian representative to the World Social Forum in Brazil. Saadat is the wife of the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). She was give four months administrative detention following her arrest. She was told by an interrogator that her arrest was merely a demonstration that 'they' can do whatever they want. She was also told that if her husband had 'blood on his hands' they would kill her children."


    :: Article nr. 19274 sent on 05-jan-2006 03:57 ECT


    Link: www.axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_20565.shtml

    :: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

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