World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Physicians Inspect Jerusalem Detention Centre

The Russian Compound: Between the "Banana" and a Night on the Floor

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel releases a report following a visit to the Russian Compound Detention Center.

On 21 October 2003, PHR-Israel visited the "Russian Compound" Detention Center, in Jerusalem. This is the main detention center for Jerusalem and the vicinity, and contains 332 beds for detainees. The center is divided into two sections: "criminal" (where Jewish and Arab detainees are held) and "security" (where Arab detainees are held). The PHR-Israel team was not allowed to view the security section, which is under the authority of the GSS ("Shabak" or "Shin Bet").

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, as part of its "Prisoners and Detainees Project", has been conducting tours of police detention centers for the last 5 years. The goals of the visits are to examine the conditions the detainees are held in, to discover problems and to work to effect change in the system. Those held behind bars are particularly vulnerable to human rights abuses since they are essentially locked away and hidden from the eyes of the public. The visits are conducted in coordination with the police- the only body in Israel which allows PHR-Israel to visit their lock-up centers. The Israeli army and the Israeli Prison Service do not allow such visits.

A full report on the visit to the Russian Compound Detention Center was compiled and is available in Hebrew. What follows here is a brief summery of the information disclosed in the report:

1) On the day of the visit, 30 detainees slept on the floor. This is a violation of the Israeli law pertaining to detention, which entitles each detainee to a bed. Below, one may find a link to the PHR-Israel press release following the relevant verdict handed down by the Israeli High Court.

2) In the basement of the detention center there are, it seems, three isolation cells. The detention center's staff attempted to hide their existence from the PHR-Israel team, and they were informed of the cells existence by a detainee. PHR-Israel was not allowed to visit them.

3) The detention center's staff punishes detainees for disciplinary violations. One of the punishments is the "banana shackle" (please see illustration above). This type of shackling causes suffering and pain to the detainee, and is not allowed according to the regulations of the Convention against Torture (entry into force 26 June 1987).

4) Jewish and Arab detainees are held in separate cells. There is reason for concern that the detention center discriminates against the Arab prisoners. For example, the majority of the complaints received by PHR-Israel regarding dental care were of Arab detainees.

5) The prison doctor examines all the security prisoners before they enter. According to the GSS's demands, the doctor decides whether the detainee is "fit" or "unfit". A copy of the form the doctor must fill out is included as an appendix in the full report. There is serious concern that the doctor is essentially clearing detainees for interrogations during which torture might be used.

6) There is no mental health care given at the detention center. Instead, the detainees that are "suspected" by the medical staff of being mentally ill are held in observation cells. In the event that the prisoners act out by rioting or by other means, they are severely punished, without any verification of whether or not their actions were a result of mental distress; they do not receive treatment.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel turned to the Attorney General and to the Police Inspector General, demanding that the use of the "banana shackle" and all other forms of physical punishment be stopped. Likewise, PHR-Israel turned to the Ministry of Health and to the Israeli Medical Association (IMA), demanding that they express their opinion on the alleged involvement of doctors in the torture of those being interrogated. Full report (Hebrew only): http://www.phr.org.il/Phr/downloads/dl_162.rtf Homepage of the Police Detention and Inspection Project: http://www.phr.org.il/Phr/Pages/PhrArticle_Unit.asp?Cat=20&art=127&Pcat=4 Link to PHR-Israel press release following the High Court's decision banning the practice of making detainees sleep on the floor: http://www.phr.org.il/Phr/Pages/PhrArticle_Unit.asp?Cat=11&art=572 International Law page on the PHR-Israel website. Special attention should be paid to the Convention against Torture from 1987, and the WMA's Declaration of Tokyo: http://www.phr.org.il/Phr/Pages/PhrArticles_index.asp?Cat=143


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news