The Mandela Institute for Political Prisoners said in a press statement that the Israeli internal intelligence agency Shin Bet has been using painful means — mental and physical — of torture that leave fewer physical evidence such as forcing prisoners to sit in tiny chairs with hands and feet tied, making them stand up in closets, depriving detainees from sleep and using violent shaking.
The group said Shin Bet interrogates the prisoners under the threat of murder, assassination, home demolition, rape or the arrest of wife, covering of the head with a dirty sack, placing prisoners inside refrigerators, making them stand for a long period, and placing them in solitary confinement.”
It added that the Shin Bet restricts the prisoners’ use of toilet. The group termed the Israeli new policies against prisoners “blatant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention” which prohibits signatories from committing any grave breaches against civilians in occupied territories.
According to recent Palestinian statistics, there are 7,000 Palestinians held in 23 prisons and detention camps in Israel and in the West Bank. There are 300 prisoners under the age of 18. Israel also holds 37 females and 17 members of the Palestine Legislative Council.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees and Ex-detainees, nearly 200 Palestinian prisoners have so far died in Israeli confinement either under torture or due to medical negligence.
B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, recently said that at least 40 Palestinian prisoners have suffered chronic illnesses like cancer, renal failure and strokes.
The Israeli Prison Service failed to offer constant medical care required for the ailing prisoners. Local and international rights groups say Palestinian prisoners are being denied basic rights and subjected to harsh treatment in Israeli detention. Since December 2009, Egypt, Germany and France have failed to finalize the swap deal for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. The failure is due to differences between Hamas and Israel.
Hamas wants Israel to free up to 1,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons in exchange for the release of Shalit, and the Palestinian movement has reportedly presented a list of 450 inmates in Israeli prisons.
Israel objects to freeing Israeli Arab prisoners as well as several Hamas military wing leaders. Another issue yet to be settled is Israel’s demand to deport almost 100 of the 450 high-profile prisoners set to be released in the deal.
(www.timesofummah.com / 05.10.2011)