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Statement from Addameer on torture in Israeli prisons

ADDAMEER Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, 26-06-2024

Over the past decades, Israeli occupation authorities have systematically used torture against prisoners and detainees in their prisons from the very first moments of arrest. Hundreds of prisoners have died in Israeli jails over the years as a result of various forms of torture, without any accountability from relevant international bodies. Recently, with the outbreak of comprehensive aggression against the Palestinian people across all locations and the genocidal war that has spared no one, not even prisoners in prisons, the use of torture has intensified to the harshest and most brutal forms. This increase in torture, especially against detainees from Gaza who were arrested from schools, shelters, and hospitals after the ground invasion by the occupation forces, stems from Israel’s longstanding impunity from accountability.

Since the beginning of the genocidal war against Palestinians, approximately 54 martyrs from all Palestinian provinces have died in Israeli occupation prisons due to torture, inhumane detention conditions, systematic abuse, and deliberate attacks. Among them, 36 were prisoners from Gaza and 18 were prisoners martyred in prisons under the Israeli Prison Service. It’s worth noting that the occupying state continues to withhold information about the martyr prisoners, as reports have revealed the deaths of dozens of martyrs inside camps and prisons without families knowing the fate of their loved ones or the names of those who have died in these camps. This underscores the scale of the humanitarian disaster faced by prisoners inside these prisons. The situation inside prisons and camps has become increasingly severe due to the punitive policies of the occupation authorities against prisoners and detainees. It is noteworthy that the number of detainees from Gaza and their information remains unknown until now, estimated to be in the thousands.

Detainees from Gaza, specifically, endure extremely harsh and difficult conditions. They are held by the Israeli authorities in camps under military control that are ill-equipped to accommodate this unprecedented number of detainees. These camps include “Sde Teman” camp in Beer Al Sabe’ and “Anatot” camp in Jerusalem. The occupation forces employ various forms of torture against the prisoners, including frequent and deliberate humiliation through forced nudity, keeping them bound hand and foot at all times, using various psychological tactics against them, denying them medical treatment, degrading them through humiliating photography, depriving them of sleep, and releasing police dogs to attack and bite them. Additionally, prisoners are subjected to sexual assaults, provided with extremely poor-quality and minimal food portions, deprived of basic human rights such as clothing, and prevented from bathing for long periods. They also endure extreme temperatures and have their bedding removed in the early hours of the morning, only to be returned after midnight.

Detainee (H.N.) from Gaza recounts to the lawyer who managed to visit him: “I was arrested from a school in Beit Lahia. Soldiers bound me tightly with plastic ties and blindfolded me, then they dragged me by force to a place called the “Barracks”, where severe torture began immediately. They beat me mercilessly all over my head and body. They forced me to sit on my knees on gravel the entire time, increasing my pain. I endured constant verbal abuse and insults. They transferred me to “Petah Tikva”interrogation center where I spent about 130 days subjected to stress positions, severe beating, and torture. Those were the hardest days of my life.”

Children from Gaza have not been spared from brutal torture by the occupation soldiers. Child detainee (A.A.) describes his arrest conditions to the lawyer: “When I was arrested, the soldiers stripped off my clothes and left me in only my underwear. Then they brutally beat me, tied me up, and blindfolded me. They started interrogating me in the field, forced me to kneel all night, and then transferred me in the morning to a demolished house where they beat me again. The soldiers put me in a cold refrigerator. Not satisfied, they also whipped me with wires on my back. They ran a knife across my body, and I felt blood running. By the time I arrived at Ofer prison, my feet were bleeding, and I went untreated for three days.”

The impunity enjoyed by the occupying state has been one of the primary reasons contributing significantly to the continued and systematic practice of torture in its prisons. This has increased the crime of torture to the extent that dozens of martyrs have risen in prisons without their names or the circumstances of their martyrdom being disclosed.

As a result of the occupying authorities’ culture of impunity, their practice of torture and mistreatment has intensified as a form of retaliation against Palestinian detainees, without regard for international legal consequences. The ongoing impunity of the occupying state for these torture crimes implicates the international community as complicit in these acts. 

The international community must exert pressure on the occupying state to immediately stop these crimes and fulfill its legal and ethical responsibilities to hold the occupying state accountable for these heinous crimes that do not diminish over time.

Stop the crime of torture.

CALL FOR ACTION!

In light of these grave injustices and countless other violations, Addameer urges all supporters of Palestinian political prisoners to take immediate action. We call on you to address the Israeli Commander of the Central Region, who bears responsibility for the atrocities committed against Gazan prisoners, as well as your own national representatives. Demand the immediate cessation of these crimes against Palestinian prisoners by using the following text in your emails:

“To the Israeli Commander of the Central Region: 

The crime of subjecting Palestinian detainees to torture, ill-treatment, and abuse by the IOF constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. You bear full legal responsibility for these actions.

In the past eight months, 36 Palestinian detainees from the Gaza Strip have died within the military camps due to severe beatings, torture, ill-treatment, and medical neglect. These detainees continue to face policies of starvation, thirst, and deprivation of basic rights. The enforced disappearance of these detainees is a violation of international law. Information about the identities, whereabouts, and conditions of these detainees is withheld from the public, human rights organizations, and their family members, alongside the denial of access to legal counsel.

I demand an immediate cessation of the crimes of torture and ill-treatment against Palestinian prisoners. You should be well aware that you will be subject to legal accountability for perpetrating this crime.”

The message should be sent to the email: [pikud.haoref.1@gmail.com]

ADDAMEER (Arabic for conscience) Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association is a Palestinian non-governmental, civil institution that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons. Established in 1991 by a group of activists interested in human rights, the center offers free legal aid to political prisoners, advocates their rights at the national and international level, and works to end torture and other violations of prisoners’ rights through monitoring, legal procedures and solidarity campaigns.


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