RAMALLAH, November 2015 (WAFA) – Some 62 Palestinian minor prisoners, who were recently detained by Israeli authorities and held in Jaf’on prison, were exposed to maltreatment and physical abuse during detention and investigation, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC).
Fawwaz Shaloudi, a PPC attorney, said the majority of the 62 prisoners in Jaf’on prison, opened recently to cope up with the growing number of daily arrests, witnessed brutal physical and verbal abuse at the hands of Israeli investigators.
The prison guards brutally raid, search, and attack the prisoners’ cells regularly and impose sanctions against them, including shackling their hands to the beds, imposing high fines against them, and placing them in solitary confinement.
The prisoners said they are in dire need of winter clothes and mattresses, in light of the cold winter weather. They also complained about the overcrowding of their cells; due to the increasing number of daily arrests carried out by Israeli forces since early October.
prisoners in Jaf’on further complained about the poor-quality and insufficient amounts of food.
The prisoners said they are exposed to daily harassment and maltreatment by the prison’s guards, including medical negligence; the prison service often refuses to transfer prisoners to medical clinics, leaving the sick to depend on over-the-counter painkillers.
Shaloudi cited the affidavit of prisoner Mufeed Saeeda, 16, who was brutally assaulted by Israeli police officers who detained him last month.
He said the officers hit him mercilessly with their hands and booted feet, as well as sprayed him with water and forced him to face the wall and sit in a squatting position for three straight hours, with soldiers repeatedly slapping him on the back of his neck.
Saeeda said he was strip-searched during investigation in the Russian detention center in Jerusalem.
In the meantime, Heba Masalha, an attorney with the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs (CPA), reported on the affidavit of prisoner 15-year-old Baraa Qassem, a local from Abu-Dis town near Jerusalem.
Qassem said that as he was standing near his home and near the scene of clashes that took place there, about seven Israeli soldiers pushed him to the ground and proceeded to brutally attack him, beating him on the face, head, back, and legs with their rifles and booted feet.
He said that one of the soldiers used the butt of his rifle to strike him repeatedly and viciously in the same spot on his arm, which he said, caused him excruciating pain.
Soldiers then hand-cuffed him very firmly, he said, further aggravating his severe pain. He was then eye-folded and taken on foot to a nearby military camp, where soldiers continued to beat him, despite of the severe fractures he sustained in his hand, joined by other injuries and bruises he suffered throughout his body.
Qassem underwent a surgical procedure for his serious hand fractures almost eight days after the incident.
Like Qassem, prisoner Mohammad Salah Eddine, 15-year-old from nearby Hazma, said he was mercilessly beaten up by Israeli soldiers who detained him from the town of ar-Ram near Jerusalem on October 4, 2015.
Soldiers beat up Salah Eddine with their rifles and booted-feet, causing him to suffocate and vomit, before he was dragged into a military jeep, where he was hand-cuffed and verbally abused. Following interrogation, Salah Eddine was strapped down to a chair, eye-folded and kept outside for six hours.
In June 2013, a UNICEF report found that ill-treatment of Palestinian minors held within the Israeli military detention system was “widespread, systematic and institutionalized.”
UNICEF, in the 22-page report that examined the Israeli military court system for holding Palestinian children, found evidence of practices it said were “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.”
“Ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized,’ it concluded, outlining 38 recommendations to improve the protection of children in custody.
“In no other country,” it said, “are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing the necessary guarantees.”
The report cited terrifying nighttime arrests; physical and verbal abuse; painful restraints; denial of access to food, water and toilet facilities; solitary confinement; coerced confessions; lack of access to lawyers and family members; shackling during court appearances; and transfer to prisons outside Palestine. It noted that these practices violate international law.