Thousands of Palestinian Prisoners Humiliated
Abdelrazeq: Thousands of Palestinian Prisoners Humiliated by Israel
GAZA, Palestine, September 18, 2003 (IPC)-- Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Affairs, Hesham Abdelrazeq, said that Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons are being exposed to harsh Israeli practices including physical torture, solitary confinement, beating and tear gas inhalation.
In a press conference held Wednesday by the International Press Center (IPC) in Gaza, Abdelrazeq went onto saying that along with the said practices, Israeli prison administrations have recently installed glass walls in prison rooms, preventing warm family visits, followed recently by Israeli complete denial of visits made regularly by prisoners’ families to their beloved ones.
He pointed out that there are 7,000 Palestinian prisoners including 361 minors and 80 women, 6,200 of whom have been jailed over the past three years of the Intifada, and are being held in various Israeli prisons and detention camps like Ofer, Al-Ramla, Asqalan, desert prison of Negev, Shatta, Nafha ..etc.
“Due to Israeli maltreatment of minor prisoners, 16 of whom have recently attempted to commit suicide, rejecting the Israeli wardens humiliation, including forced labor under harsh treatment,” Abdelrazeq confirmed.
As for sick prisoners, Abdelrazeq said that there are 800 patients including 22 with chronic diseases, being hospitalized in the clinic of Al-Ramla prison.
He also highlighted that 2,500 prisoners have been already sentenced while 3,000 others are awaiting trial under continued interrogation. About 1,000 administrative detainees are being detained in the Israeli detention camp of Ketse’out in the Negev desert, south of Israel. "Administrative detention without trial or charges is prohibited under international law," Abdelrazeq commented.
Those prisoners, some of whom are held in Ofer detention camp, have had their detention period frequently extended for six-months by the so-called “military governor” and without trial, Abdelrazeq emphasized.
Asked by IPC whether there are secret Israeli detention camps for Palestinians, Abdelrazeq made clear that ”since 1967 up to date, Israel has been using sections of the Israeli army camps as special interrogation wings in certain Palestinain cases. "Sarafand" Israeli military camp, for example, was used by Israel after 1967 for detaining several Palestinian ‘Fidayeens’ (freedom fighters), asserting that lawyers and Red Cross staff were denied access into such camps.
As for the Palestinian political figures and leaders in detention, Abdelrazeq said that they're constantly being held in solitary confinement since the day they were arrested, as in the case in Fateh's Secretary General in the West Bank and Palestinian Legislative Council member Marwan Al Barghouti.
The Minister pointed out to the struggle and steadfastness of the Palestinian prisoners behind bars, as they sent a letter of support and solidarity from within their prison cells to the President Yasser Arafat, denouncing the Israeli decision of expelling or killing him, and considering it as a true evidence to the Israeli "Transfer" policy, adopted by the Israeli government since the beginning of its occupation.