Arbitrary Arrests Continue in the West Bank and Detainees Held under Severe Condition and Subjected to Torture and Ill-Treatment

 

 

Monday, 11 October 2010 11:30

Ref: 96/2010

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns campaigns of arbitrary arrests waged by Palestinian security services against members and supporters of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and subjecting the detainees to cruel treatment, in violation of the law. PCHR points out that, in spite of releasing a number of detainees recently, Palestinian security services have continued to wage arrest campaigns targeting dozens of members and supporters of Hamas, and have continued to detain hundreds of others for several months. Dozens of persons have been also summoned by security services. PCHR is concerned over increasing allegations by released detainees or relatives of detained persons that those detainees were subjected to torture and cruel treatment. PCHR reiterates its call for the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and security services to stop arbitrary arrests, and to release all political prisoner, thus, putting and end to the issue of political arrests.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, and information obtained from offices of members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) from the Change and Reform Bloc affiliated to Hamas in the West Bank, at least 230 persons have been detained in Hebron, including 130 ones who have been detained by the Preventive Security Service (PSS) and the remaining 100 ones have been detained by the General Intelligence Service (GIS). In Bethlehem, 25 persons have been detained by the PSS and 15 ones have been detained by the GIS. In Nablus, 77 persons have been detained in Jnaid Prison. In Ramallah and al-Bireh, 45 persons have been detained by security services. The detainees include released prisoners from Israeli jails and relatives of PLC members. Dozens of detainees were arrested a few days following their release. Although, a number of families were able to visit the detainees, some detainees have been denied access to family visitation and legal counsel, especially those who are detained by the GIS in Hebron.

Torture

A number of released prisoners in Hebron, for instance, claimed that they were moved among interrogation rooms and cells that lack bathrooms, and some of them does not have lights and blankets.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, and testimonies of a number of released prisoners, many of those who have been arrested recently, have been held under inappropriate, and even severe and inhuman, detention conditions, especially those who suffer from chronic diseases or injuries. Many detainees were subjected to various forms of cruel and degrading treatment, and others were subjected to torture. The health conditions of at least 3 detainees deteriorated, and there were taken to hospitals.

One of the released prisoners in Hebron told a PCHR field worker that GIS officer held him under cruel detention conditions. Although he was sick and was badly in need for medical care, security officers subjected him to forms of torture, which caused further deterioration to his health conditions. Consequently, he was taken to hospitals three times. In the last medical checking in a hospital on 14 September 2010, doctors insisted on continuing to treat him in the hospital, so he was placed under security escort. Following releasing him from the hospital, doctors recommended providing him with necessary home treatment, as he was suffering from various health problems. However, security officers continued to detain him until 16 September 2010.

In his testimony to PCHR, the aforementioned released detainee stated that during his detention “he could hear voices of detainees crying of pain as a result of being beaten and tortures.” He also saw a number of detainees being forced to stand with their hands up and their heads covered by plastic sacs. He pointed out that the interrogators deliberates exposed him to voices of detainees being tortured to force him to cooperate with them in investigations. He further indicated that he saw a number of detainees being subjected to prolonged Shabeh[1] and beating, including ‘Alaa’ al-Ja’ba, Mo’tasse, al-Natsha, ‘Abdulla Du’ais, Mohammed al-Atrash and Mohammed Abu Hadid. He further said that he head a GIS officer talking with an interrogation officer from outside Hebron, explaining to him the importance of an iron door in the place in extracting confessions from detainees. The door is used to press on the hands and feet of a detainees, causing severe pains.

Disrespect for Legal Procedures

Families of a number of detainees whose house were raided to arrest them stressed that Palestinian security forced acted provocatively and did not legal procedures in searching houses and arresting individuals. In this context, an individual claimed that security forces raided his house when no one was there. They used force to open the door and searched the house. He further indicated that when he and his family came back home, the GIS and PSS arrested him and 4 of his sons sporadically. He asserted that 3 of his sons and a number of his nephews are still detained by the GIS and PSS. He further stated that GIS and police officers raided his house more than once, and female police officers questioned his wife.

A released detainees stated that he was arrested together with his bother, because his cousin was wanted by Palestinian security forces. He had been detained for 16 days, during which time he was not questioned until the last two hours. Upon his release tighter with other detainees, he was force to sign an oath “not to possess unlicensed weapons, not to act against the PNA, and not to affiliate to any organization opposing the PNA.” He further stated that due to congestion, dozens of detainees, including him, were transported to a police station in Taffouh village, west of Hebron, where they were detained under inhuman conditions.

In a new development, in the beginning of this month, the PSS in Hebron transferred a number of detainees to detention centers in Jericho and Ramallah, due to congestion. Those detainees include: Ahmed Salhab; Eyad Mujahed; Nafez Bali; Nidal al-Qawasmi; Ma’ath Abu Juhaisha; and Mahmoud Abu Juhaisha.

Arrests in Areas “C”[2]

A number of persons were subjected to arrest attempts in Areas C. In this context, ‘Abdul Raziq Rajabi, the father of a detainee, stated that a PSS force, whose members were wearing civilian clothes, attempted on Thursday, 23 September 2010, to kidnap his on, 24-year-old Amjad. Members of the force did not identify themselves. People intervened and foiled the attempt. However, Amajd was summoned and arrested later by the PSS.

Summoning Dozens of Islamic Jihad Members

Palestinian security services in the West Bank, especially in Jenin and Tulkarm, have summoned dozens of members and supporters of Islamic Jihad, and forced them to fill a form that includes detailed information about them. They were also forced to sign an oath “not to violate the Palestinian law, not to oppose the PNA’s public policy and not to engage in any activity of Islamic Jihad.”

An Israeli Jihad activist stated that 4 members of Islamic Jihad from ‘Arraba village, southwest of Jenin, were arrested. One of them, Sheikh Khader Mousa, 32, was released on 29 September 2010. The other detainees are: Ahmed Shibani, 39; Mohammed Shibani, 35; and Ahmed al-Bousta, 35.

PCHR reiterates its condemnation of political arrests and of the accompanying torture crimes committed against detainees, and:

1. Reminds of the Palestinian Higher Court ruling of 20 February 1999 that provides for the illegality of political arrests. All the executive authorities must respect this court ruling and abstain from carrying out illegal political arrests;

2. Stresses that arrests are regulated by the Palestinian law and fall under the jurisdiction of the law enforcement officers, including the civil police, who are directly supervised by the Attorney General;

3. Calls for immediately stopping the practice of torture in prisons and detention centers of the Palestinian Authority, given that that torture crimes remain punishable all the time and the perpetrators cannot escape justice; and

4. Demands the immediate release of political prisoners who are detained by the security services in the West Bank.


[1] The Shabeh combination: Shabeh is the combination of methods, used for prolonged periods, entailing sensory isolation, sleep deprivation, and infliction of pain.

[2] Under full Israeli security control under the Oslo Accords.

Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

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