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Investigation reveals “systematic” torture and abuse in Israeli prison

By Marta Feirra - February 24, 2016
Section: [Main News] [Behind Bars]
Tags: [Israeli Prison Service] [Human rights]

A joint investigation launched by Israeli human rights groups B’Tselem and Hamoked published on Wednesday reveals systemic violations taking place against prisoners in Israel’s Shikma prison.

The report denounces the abuse and torture of Palestinians prisoners in Shikma’s interrogation center, run by the Israel Security Agency in the southern city of Ashkelon.

According to the report, nearly all of the 116 Palestinians detainees who gave their testimonies experienced either physical violence, sleep deprivations, threats or solitary confinement at Shikma.

A number of detainees was also subjected to a combination of degrading treatments, and at least 14 were interrogated under torture by the Palestinian Authority before being arrested by Israeli security forces, the report says.

Conditions at the Shikma facility are “an inherent part of interrogations,” stated the report. “They serve to weaken both mind and body”, constituting “abuse and inhuman, degrading treatment, at times even amounting to torture.”

According to the report, the detainees were subjected to threats, swearing, spitting and indignities. They were exposed to extreme cold and heat, denied the possibility to shower or change clothes for days of even weeks, incarcerated in small, filthy cells and kept in solitary confinement with little food for many days.

“I spent 20 days in total solitary confinement,” said a 22 year-old detainee. “You’re dumped in a corner and forgotten, you can bang on the door for all the good it’ll do you – you won’t get any help.”

The abuse “has been used systematically against Palestinians”, a practice that violates international law, Israel’s High Court of Justice ruling and basic moral standards, the human rights groups denounced.

Israel’s High Court of Justice prohibited the use of torture and abuse by the Israeli Security Agency in 1999, but the investigation reveals the system of violent and degrading interrogation persists.

The report added that the abusive, cruel and degrading interrogation system was “shaped by the state” and is not “the result of the initiative of any particular interrogator or prison guard.” It is, instead, “inherent to Israeli Security Agency’s interrogation policy.”

B’Tselem and HaMoked  said state organs refuse to acknowledge the existence of systematic abuse of Palestinian detainees, defending it is crucial to recognize that the cases of abuse and torture are misrepresented as isolated incidents by Israeli authorities.



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