Thursday, October 29, 2020

Palestinian prisoner in critical condition after interrogation

By Yehudit Tzfat - September 30, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [prisoners] [Human rights]

Palestinian “terror” suspect, Samir Arbid, was hospitalised and remains in critical condition after being interrogated by Shin Bet security service on Saturday.

The 44-year-old detainee was allegedly tortured and subject to ill-treatment, according to Palestinian prisoner rights organisation, Addameer

Arbid’s lawyer, Mahmoud Hassan, said he “was unconscious, had several broken ribs, mark[s]were all over his body, and he suffers a severe kidney failure.” Hassan was taken to Hassaddah Hospital in Jerusalem after suffering a heart-related problem following the interrogation. His attorneys said he was healthy at the time of his arrest. 

Arbid is accused of carrying out the bombing attack on 23 August in the West Bank which killed Israeli 17-year-old Rina Shnerb and severely injured her brother and father. Arbid is a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). He was arrested on Saturday along with three other members allegedly involved in the attack.  

The Israeli Justice Ministry said it launched an investigation into Shin Bet regarding any potential wrongdoing during their interrogation of Arbid.  After the Justice Ministry's inspector looks into the case, he will offer his recommendations to the State Prosecutor's Office and the attorney general, who will then decide whether or not to pursue an official criminal investigation into the security officers. 

Shin Bet was legally permitted to use “extraordinary measures” in their interrogation of Arbid, which can include sleep deprivation, shackling, exposure to extreme temperatures and forcing prisoners into painful positions. 

Usually, these sort of torture tactics are employed when security officials believe a suspect has information that could prevent an upcoming attack. Shin Bet said the group was planning terror attacks when the members were arrested. 

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights released a statement holding Israel fully responsible for Arbid’s life and “calls upon the international community to pressurise Israel to end torture in its prisons and detention centres.”

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) called for an immediate investigation into Shin Bet, noting Israel’s moral character is at stake. 

“Figures of the law are not authorised to torture detainees, no matter the severity of the suspicions against them,” head of ACRI’s legal department, attorney Oded Feller, said. “Cruel and inhumane means of interrogation are categorically forbidden." 

The PFLP warned Israel that it would “open the gates of hell” if Arbid dies as a result of his injuries from the interrogation. 

“We hold the Israeli occupation responsible for the lives of the Palestinian prisoner Samer Arbid and his comrades, and we assure that by endangering their lives, the occupation will open the gates of hell,” their statement said.



Lead image: Middle East Eye


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