Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Jails Suffer Insects, Rats Infestation

RAMALLAH, January 12, 2015 (WAFA) – The Detainees and ex-Detainees Affairs Committee Monday said that prisoners detained in Israeli jails are held in cells that lack basic health standards, highlighting the infestation of insects and rats and lack of proper heating infrastructure.

A report issued by the committee stated that prisoners are held in overcrowded halls and are deprived of the least acceptable standards of hygiene, including the infestation of insects and rats, and wastewater and rainwater leakage into cells, which further worsens their already poor conditions.

The committee’s report revealed that the Israeli prison administration ignores all complaints made by prisoners regarding their bad living conditions; the prison administration only provides jailers’ rooms with mice traps, leaving prisoners to suffer.

Prisoner Ali Hussain, detained in Eishel Israeli prison, had his finger bitten by a large rat which was in his room. Hussain was sentenced to five consecutive lifetimes and suffers from cancerous tumors in the neck along with a severe bone infection.

There are around 1500 sick prisoners distributed across Israeli jails, who are suffering from chronic diseases; they all face a systematic policy of medical negligence by the Israeli prison administration.

According to Addameer human rights association, “Israeli authorities responsible for prisoners regularly neglect their duties to provide medical support for Palestinian prisoners in their care, as required by the Geneva Conventions. Medical problems are widespread, and range in severity from chest infections and diarrhea to heart problems and kidney failure. Treatment is often inadequate and is delivered after substantial delays. Often medication is limited to over-the-counter pain killers.”

A previous report issued by the ministry on Saturday said that prisoners in Israeli jails, estimated at around 6500 female and male prisoners, including more than 350 minors, are suffering from the extreme cold and rainwater leaking into their cells, which tripled their suffering in light of the lack of heating methods and warm blankets and clothes by the prison administration.

Addameer said that, “Since the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory in 1967, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been detained under Israeli military orders in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

It added that, the forms of torture and ill treatment employed against Palestinian prisoners include the following: beatings, tying prisoners in “stress positions”, interrogation sessions that last up to 12 consecutive hours, depriving prisoners of sleep and other sensory deprivation, isolation and solitary confinement, and threats against the lives of their relatives. In past instances, detainees have died while in custody as a result of torture.”

“Confessions extracted through such practices are admissible in court. Israel defends its interrogation techniques as a legitimate way of combating terrorism faced by its citizens, but in reality, these practices are in direct contravention of international law, including the United Nations Convention against Torture (CAT), ratified by Israel on 3 October 1991, which requires any State Party to prevent the use of torture and associated practices.”

Prisoners are also deprived from necessary heating infrastructure; they are forced to stay in extremely cold cells during the winter.

The prison administration does not allow prisoners to bring warm blankets and clothes from outside, forcing them to buy blankets from the prisons’ canteens, which are expensive, bad quality and fail to provide them with the necessary warmth.

As the region was affected by a frosty storm since late Tuesday, prisoners suffered extremely harsh and difficult conditions due to the severe cold and lack of heating methods and blankets.

The ministry stressed that exposure to severe cold deprived prisoners of sleep as well as aggravated their already poor health conditions.

Female prisoners detained in Hasharon Israeli prison reported that they suffered unbearable conditions during the storm, which further worsened their health conditions.

They said that the windows of their cells are not well sealed and that they lack the simplest methods of heating, with acute shortage of blankets.

One of the prisoners, female Amal Taqatqa, who was arrested on December 2014 after being severely injured by Israeli forces and is currently disabled and on a wheel chair, suffered extremely due to her injuries as the cold further worsened her health condition.

Taqatqa was arrested under the pretext of attempting to stab an Israeli settler at the Gush Etzion junction. She was shot multiple times and underwent few surgeries in the chest, waist and left leg. Taqatqa was transferred to the prison without finishing her medical treatment course and still needs physical therapy to enable her to be able to walk again.

There are currently 22 female prisoners in Hasharon prison, including four minors ranging between the ages of 14 and 17.