Thursday, February 25, 2016

Israel routinely abuses Palestinian detainees

Israel's security service "systematically" abuses Palestinians under interrogations, and in some cases tortures them, two Israeli human rights organizations said in a report released on Wednesday.

The 69-page study by B'Tselem and Hamoked is based on testimonies by 116 Palestinians who were interrogated at the Shikma Interrogation Facility in the southern city of Ashkelon, between August 2013 and March 2014.

Nearly every detainee was exposed to some abuse, and about one-third of them had been beaten or abused by soldiers or police officers.

"Time and again, the detainees interviewed described unlawful conduct by the authorities," the report read.

"The descriptions bear a striking resemblance to accounts previously provided by detainees held at other interrogation facilities. Taken together, it would seem that this conduct constitutes official interrogation policy," according to the report.

This alleged policy includes violence and degradation during arrest and interrogation, prolonged binding to a chair in exceedingly painful positions, exposure to extremes of heat and cold, detention in isolation in filthy cells, little and substandard food, extensive sleep deprivation, threats, swearing, shouting and mocking.

A 1999 ruling by Israel's Supreme Court prohibited the use of tortures, including some of the methods that are detailed in the report.

The researchers, however, said their study show that the use of violent interrogation continues "backed by state authorities ranging from the Supreme Court to the State Attorney's Office, the military, and the Israeli Prison Service.

The Shin Bet security service called the report "twisted," and said in a statement that all of its interrogations are conducted "in accordance with the law and in order to prevent activities aiming at damaging the security of the country."

The agency added that its operations were regularly monitored "by internal and external bodies." It added that the detainees were "terror suspects."

The report was released amidst a surge of violent Palestinian uprising, which has led to a wave of arrests of hundreds of Palestinian suspects since mid-September. The violence has claimed the lives of at least 170 Palestinians and 28 Israelis.
  [Xinhua -globaltimes.cn - china.org.cn]
  25/2/16

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