A detailed report on the prisoners
تقرير مفصل عن الأسرى بالانجليزية تم تقديمه لورشة عمل فى القاهرة من قبل اتحاد الصحفيين العرب
Another prisoner, another victim In the prisons of the Israeli occupation “Prisoner dies.” It is a familiar headline. It encapsulates the practices that we have come to expect from the Zionist enemy which is unrestrained in the various forms of brutality it inflicts against the Palestinian people, whether in the large open air prisons with their tightly sealed borders and restricted access to the basics of life, or in the more tightly confined spaces of its jails and prisons into which Palestinians may be arbitrarily rounded on feeble pretexts and out of which they emerge with a chronic ailment, permanently disfigured, or in a coffin. An instance of the Zionist entity’s flagrant human rights abuses that has recently come to light has stirred international outrage. Contrary to the statement released by the Zionist armed forces that Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat (30) died of heart failure, the evidence leaves no shadow of doubt that he was tortured to death. The victim’s lawyer, who represented Jaradat in the last hearing to appeal against an extension his term, said that his client’s physical and psychological condition had been extremely poor. He explained that Arafat had been subject to solitary confinement and to hours-long sessions of beating under interrogation, and that his client had told him that he was “terrified” of the horror of a renewed prison term and more brutality. Again in violation of international humanitarian law and practice, rather than allowing an independent physician to be brought in, the Israeli authorities asked the court to have Jaradat physically and psychologically examined by the prison doctor. Not long afterwards, the young Palestinian prisoner would be officially pronounced dead by “heart failure,” in spite of all the evidence indicating that the cause of death was the brutal torture inflicted on him in Jalama prison, or “the slaughterhouse” as Palestinian prisoners call it. Jaradat is only one of the 204 Palestinian political prisoners that have fallen victim to such cruel and inhumane treatment. Of these 71 died as the result of torture, 52 died due to lack of medical attention, 74 were murdered directly after their arrest, and 7 died after having been shot inside prison. The tragic conditions facing Palestinian prisoners in the jails of the Israeli occupation has been vehemently condemned by the Federation of Arab Journalists (FAJ). FAJ Chairman Ahmed Yusef Bahbahani stated that the torture and persecution to which Palestinian prisoners are subjected flies in the face of the most basic principles of human rights, international law and the Geneva Conventions, and underscores the need to pressure Israeli authorities to improve the treatment of these prisoners and to release them as soon as possible. FAJ Secretary-General Hatem Zakaria stated that the human rights violations perpetrated against Palestinians in the occupied territories confirm that the Zionist entity commits the most appalling forms of torture against Palestinian prisoners with regard to which practice it does not discriminate between children, women, the young or the elderly. Zakaria also drew attention to the report prepared by Palestinian prisoner affairs experts Raafat Hamduna and Abdel Nasser Farawna, both members of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate. Produced as part of the “United Behind Our Prisoners” campaign to raise awareness on the conditions of Palestinian prisoners in the Occupation’s jails, the report is included in the following pages Comprehensive Report on the Condition of Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Jails By Prisoner Affairs Experts Raafat Hamduna and Abdel Nasser Farawna Prisoners – general statistics: There are currently around 4,900 Palestinian prisoners, of all classes and segments of Palestinian society, being held in the jails and prisons of the Israeli occupation authorities. The majority (82.5 per cent) are from the West Bank, while 9.6 per cent are from Gaza and the remainder are from Jerusalem or the territories occupied in 1948. They are incarcerated in around 17 jails, prisons and detention centres foremost among which are those in the Negev, Ofer, Nafha, Galboa, Shatta, Raimon, Ashkelon, Hadirim, Eishel, Ohli Kedar, Hasharon, Ramle and Megiddo. Among these prisoners are 168 administrative detainees held without formal charges, 12 female prisoners of whom Lina al-Jarbuni of the territories occupied in 1948 has served the longest (11 years), 235 children below the age of 18 of which 25 are below the age of 16. In addition there are 14 former parliamentary representatives, 3 former ministers and a large number of Palestinian political leaders and activists. Rights abuses: Palestinian prisoners are forced to endure intolerable conditions. They are prohibited from receiving visitors, subjected to solitary confinement and vulnerable to arbitrary administrative rulings. They are subjected to degrading nude searches, prevented from pursuing their secondary or university studies, and prohibited access to books. The food is poor in quality and quantity. In addition to persistent inspections and raids of their cells at night, prisoners are vulnerable to mass relocation to other detention centres that lack the minimum requirements for human life. Prisoners are also deprived proper healthcare and no medical attention is given to victims of cancer, heart disease, kidney ailment, slipped disks, high blood pressure, asthma, rheumatism, haemorrhoids, ulcers and other serious illnesses that may require surgical intervention. The ill and infirm: Some 1,400 Palestinian prisoners are victims of various illnesses the source of which is the poor conditions of confinement, maltreatment and malnourishment. None of these receive appropriate medical care. In addition, dozens of prisoners suffer physical, mental and nervous impairments, or from dangerous malignant and chronic ailments such as heart disease, cancer, kidney failure and partial paralysis. There are 18 patients that are permanently bedridden in the so-called Ramleh prison hospital. Some are totally incapacitated. Yet, the prison authorities continue to ignore the patients’ suffering and their need for proper care and treatment. Veteran Prisoners: “Veteran Prisoners” refers to the 105 Palestinian prisoners who have been locked up in Israeli jails since before the Oslo Accord and the creation of the Palestinian National Authority in May 1994. These prisoners come from all Palestinian governorates, of which those from the West Bank make up the majority (57), followed by those from Gaza (25), from the territories occupied in 1948 (14) and from occupied Jerusalem (9). There are 71 prisoners who have spent more than 20 years in confinement. These are called the “deans” of Palestinian prisoners. Among the “deans” are 24 “generals of patience” who have spent more than 25 years in prison. Sadly, these numbers are steadily rising and currently two have spent more than 30 years in prison. These are Karim Younis, who is on hunger strike, and Maher Younis. Both are from ’Ara, a village in the territories occupied in 1948. Torture and death of prisoners from the Palestinian National Movement: All Palestinians brought into Israeli prisons are routinely subjected to various forms of psychological and physical torture. Torture begins at the moment of arrest and the accompanying terrorisation of the victim’s family members and neighbours. The occupation authorities deliberately display cruelty and brutality against the prisoner in front of his family members, insulting and beating him, as well as those with him, before abducting him from his home. Victims are threatened with murder, exile, demolition of his home, rape or the arrest of his wife. Their heads covered with a filthy bag. They are prevented from sleeping and refused medical treatment. Their wounds are are probed and reopened during interrogation. They are put in refrigerated rooms, made to stand for extensive periods, kept bound in plastic handcuffs, subjected to rounds of waterboarding with cold and hot water, and exposed to unbearably loud music. Collaborators, known as “Asafeer” (birds) are used to extract “confessions,” wreaking psychological damage. In addition, prisoners are preventing from performing their religious rituals, they are stripped naked, and they are not permitted to go to the lavatory and forced, instead, to use a bucket in their cells and then endure the pervasive stench in their cells. They are subjected to vicious beatings, kept bound with their hands behind their backs on small stools or moving slabs in order to overwork the spine and cause the victim to faint, and subjected for long hours to “shabeh” which involves shackling the victim by the wrists and suspending him from a hook or other such object. Another commonly used form of torture is violent shaking, which can lead to paralysis, a permanent deformation and even death. The excessive force that is routinely used during interrogation and repression has often led to the deaths of the victims. The recent case of Arafat Jaradat, who died as the result of the brutal torture inflicted upon him in Jalama prison, or “Jalama slaughterhouse” as Palestinian prisoners refer to it, is vivid testimony to the human rights violations perpetrated by the occupation power and its and disregard for the lives of Palestinian prisoners. Of the Palestinian nationalists in Israeli jails, 204 died as the result of rights violations, 71 from torture, 52 due to lack of medical attention, 74 as the result of murder directly after their arrest, and 7 after having been shot inside prison. Numbered graves: Israel is the only country in the world that imprisons the dead, sometimes of for more than 30 years. Instead of returning the bodies of deceased prisoners to their families, since 1978 it has kept them in numbered graves, as is the case with Dallal al-Maghrabi and dozens of other martyrs, without the least respect for human dignity called for by all divine religions. The most recent violation of this sort came to light when the Israeli Supreme Court announced the loss of the body of Anis Mahmoud Dawla who had died in Askalan prison in 1980 after a 30 day hunger strike. The court acquitted itself of any responsibility in this crime. In perpetuating this practice, Israel is in violation of international humanitarian law and human rights standards which oblige occupying countries to return the bodies of the deceased to their families, to respect the dignity of the dead, and to ensure that the appropriate religious rituals can be observed during burial. Administrative detainees: There are approximately 168 administrative detainees in Israeli jails without charge or trial. The case files and evidence are classified and unaccessible to the detainee or his lawyers. Administration detention orders are renewable through appeal, in accordance with Israeli military orders, for an indefinite number of times. Currently there is a wave of hunger strikes among Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in order to break the cycle of re-detention and end the phenomenon of administrative detainees and illegitimate combatants as the occupying power calls them. Rearrest of prisoners after release: The most recent development in this area of human rights violations is Military Order 1651. The order allows for the re-detention of any released prisoner for the period of his original sentence in the event that he commits any violation of his terms of release. Yet, rearrest orders are based on secret evidence to which neither the prisoner or his lawyers have access and on fabricated charges such as running terrorist cells or resuming terrorist activities. The practice has stirred considerable alarm that these individuals may be the objects of targeted assassination attempts on the basis of feeble pretexts. 15 male and female prisoners have been re-detained in this manner. Female prisoners: There are 12 female prisoners in Israeli jails, the longest lasting being Lina al-Jarbuni from the territories occupied in 1948 who was imprisoned 11 years go. Her fellow female political prisoners are Mona Qaadan, Nawal al-Saadi, Asma al-Batran, Manal Zawahra, Anaam al-Hasanat, Intisar al-Sayyed, Alaa Abu Zeitun, Alaa al-Juba, Hadeel Abu Turki, Salwa Hassan and Ayat Mahfouz. Violations against female prisoners: The Occupying Power has committed dozens of human rights abuses against the female prisoners in its custody, starting from the brutal manner in which they are arrested in front of their children and other family members and continuing through the physical and psychological maltreatment inflicted against them during interrogation and incarceration. Female political prisoners are not allowed to see their children, pregnant women are deprived of medical attention and kept shackled during delivery, and no attention is given to the women’s infants and their nursing needs. Various forms of punitive measures are meted out against them in prisons, including fines, solitary confinement, physical force, detention in places inappropriate for female prisoners, abusive searches by prison wardens, curses and insults, attacks with teargas at any sign of tension, and maltreatment when being conducted to courts, visitors or from one department to another. They are often deprived visitation rights and in solitary confinement they are kept in close quarters with Jewish female criminal prisoners. Children: There are 235 children in Israeli prisons who are victims of flagrant rights abuses in violation of all international charters and conventions that are meant to protect minors, safeguard their physical, psychological and educational rights, keep them in contact with their parents and life counsellors, and ensure that they are treated as children, as opposed to “terrorists”, which is how the Israeli prison administration treats them. Young prisoners are deprived of healthcare, psychological attention, cultural facilities, and counsellors. Often they are held in close proximity to Jewish criminal prisoners, and intimidated and maltreated during arrest and confinement. Solitary confinement: Solitary confinement is one of the cruelest forms of torture used by the Israeli prison authority against political prisoners. Prisoners are kept alone in a dark and narrow cell for extensive periods during which they are not permitted contact with other prisoners. Prisoners in the solitary confinement chambers are deprived even the minimum standards of human rights and life, and forced to endure intolerable hellish conditions. They are beaten and humiliated on a daily basis, and socially isolated from fellow inmates and from all contact from the outside world. Isolation detention cells have been described as graves for the living. Some prisoners have spent years in such conditions, without any contact with the outside world at all. By the time they emerged they were severely psychologically and physically impaired. Among the many who have endured such torture are Darar Abu Sisi, Samer Abu Kuweik, Tamer al-Rimawi, Awad al-Saidi and Amad Sarhan.