Israeli Special Units Commit War Crimes against Palestinian Prisoners

RAMALLAH, January 25, 2014 (WAFA) – The Palestine Detainees Studies Center said that Israeli special units in Israeli jails commit war crimes against Palestinian prisoners.

In a press release issued on Sunday, the center said that Israeli special units have directly killed at least seven Palestinian prisoners, as the case of prisoner Mohammed al-Ashqar, who was killed in 2007 in the Israeli Naqab prison.

Mohammed Al-Ashqar died as a result of critical wounds he sustained on 22 October 2007 at the southern Israeli detention camp of Al-Naqab (Ketziot) in the Negev, when Israeli guards fired upon prisoners with live ammunition and tear gas, injuring at least 250 other prisoners, reported the UN Relief website on its website.

Al-Ashqar, a father of one child, who was hit with several bullets that caused his death, had been sentenced to about three years and had only three months remaining in his sentence, it reported.

The center said that the Israeli prison administration recruits special elite units to suppress Palestinian prisoners; masked and armed units terrorizes prisoners through various measures, including surprise night raids on their cells, tying and beating them, confiscating their personal items, and opening fire on them.

‘A report by the United Nations lists around 200 methods of torture. The Israeli rights group B’Tselem listed around 105 torture methods,’ said the Middle East Monitor on its website.

‘Regardless of the number, all these reports indicate a grave level of violations perpetrated against Palestinians following their arrest,’ it stressed.

Fahd Abu Al-Hajj, director of the Abu Jihad Centre for Prisoner Affairs at the University of Jerusalem, noted that there are 73 methods of interrogation considered to be the ‘most popular’ in Israeli jails. These methods demonstrate the barbarism of the occupation and its lack of respect for basic standards of human rights, he stated,’ reported the Middle East Monitor.

It reported that, ‘B’Tselem acknowledged in a report that 105 torture methods are used against Palestinian detainees which are considered serious violations of human rights. A UN human rights committee described the torture in Israeli prisons as “crossing the line”, noting that Israel’s brutal methods of torture included breaking backs, pulling fingers apart and twisting testicles.’

‘According to statistics, around 72 prisoners were killed as a result of torture in Israeli prisons since 1967, out of a total number of over 200 prisoners who died behind bars.’

‘The first prisoner to die as a result of being tortured was Yousef Al-Jabali who died on January 4 1968 in a Nablus prison. Many prisoners have since followed him, such as Qassem Abu Akar, Ibrahim Al-Rai, Abdul Samad Harizat, Attia Za’anin, Mustafa Akkawi, and others, including the most recent, Raed Al-Jabari,’ it reported.