RAMALLAH, March 20, 2016 (WAFA) – The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) reported that Israeli authorities continue to isolate a Palestinian prisoner, who has been held in solitary confinement in the Israel prison of Eshel for three years now, under security pretexts.
PPS said prisoner, Noor ad-Din A’mar, who was detained in 2003 and sentenced to 30 years in jail, suffers from harsh and inhumane living conditions in isolation. A’mar later received an additional jail term of 20 years.
A’mar is held in a very small cell that barely fits for a small-sized bed. He has frequently complained about his inability to pray due to the lack of space. Furthermore, A’mar’s cell is situated near criminal inmates, who he says, constantly harass and threaten to kill to him.
A’mar, a local from Qalqilia’s village of Beit Amin, is the brother of two Palestinian prisoners who are also incarcerated in Israeli jails. Both brothers were sentenced to lifetime in jail, and an additional 20 years of imprisonment.
Addameer prisoner support and human rights association considers solitary confinement as a form of torture and ill treatment employed against Palestinian prisoners.
“Although rules exist under Israeli and international law to closely govern the use of solitary confinement and isolation, both measures are often used impermissibly and at great cost to Palestinian prisoners and detainees.“
“Every year, dozens of Palestinian prisoners and detainees are held in solitary confinement, as a disciplinary measure, or in isolation, for reasons of state, prison or prisoner’s security,” added Addameer.
Addameer said that at the end of January 2016, there were approximately 16 prisoners held in isolation located in different Israeli prisons.
Detainees and prisoners held in solitary confinement are completely cut off from the world. They are held in an empty cell containing only a mattress and a blanket. Other than their clothes, they are not allowed to take anything with them into solitary confinement, including reading materials, a television or radio set, explained Addameer.
The detainee or prisoner is held in their solitary confinement cell, which does not contain a toilet, 24 hours a day. When the detainee or prisoner wishes to use the toilet he or she must call out for a guard and wait until one agrees to take the prisoner out.
“Isolation cells in the various Israeli prisons are similar in size – typically from 1.5 by 2 meters to 3 by 3.5 meters. Each cell usually has one window measuring about 50cm by 100cm, which in most cases does not allow in sufficient light or air from the outside.“
It said, ‘Both the Prisons Ordinance (New Version), 1971, and the Commissions Ordinance provide isolated prisoners with the right to a hearing. However, most Palestinian prisoners do not receive legal representation during court proceedings on isolation’.
“Isolation orders on state security grounds are typically based on undisclosed information to which neither the prisoner nor his attorney is privy. Thus, prisoners and detainees subjected to isolation have no effective recourse to challenge the conditions of their detention under the law.”
Regarding the mental health effects of solitary confinement, Addameer stressed that research demonstrates that the use of long-term isolation and solitary confinement can lead to severe mental damages ranging from sleep disturbances, through depression and anxiety, to psychotic reactions, such as visual and auditory hallucinations, paranoid states, disorientation with regards to time and space, states of acute confusion, and thought disorders, said Addameer.
“Treaties and international agreements that address prisoners’ rights prohibit the use of solitary confinement as a punitive measure or attempt to its use significantly.”
article 31 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) provides that corporal punishment or punishment by holding a prisoner in a dark cell and any other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment are prohibited as a disciplinary measure.
The Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners (1990), a UN General Assembly resolution, encourages the restriction or abolition of solitary confinement as a punishment. In addition, in certain cases and in specific circumstances, solitary confinement and isolation can rise to the level of torture and ill-treatment and are therefore prohibited by international law.
The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture has stated that “[s]olitary confinement can, in certain circumstances, amount to inhuman and degrading treatment; in any event, all forms of solitary confinement should be as short as possible.”
(Source / 20.03.2016)