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

 

Swing States: Gordon Campbell On Why The US Needs MMP

After the bizarre events this week in Helsinki, the world will be hoping and praying that the US midterm elections in November can put a restraining brake on the presidency of Donald Trump. This may happen, but there’s a highly undemocratic reason why such hopes may be frustrated. More>>

ALSO:

putin, trump scalpGordon Campbell: On The White House Romance With Russia

Tough on Europe over trade, at the G-7. Tough on Europe over defence, at NATO. And utterly smitten as usual by Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki summit. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On This Week’s NATO Debacle

For someone routinely cast as a clown presiding over an administration in chaos, Donald Trump has been very consistent about his agenda, and remarkably successful in achieving it, in the short term at least. More>>

ALSO:

NZ Law Society: Rule Of Law Threatened In Nauru

“The recently enacted Administration of Justice Act 2018 is another clear sign of the deterioration of civil rights in Nauru,” the Law Society’s Rule of Law Committee convenor Austin Forbes QC says. More>>

ALSO:

'Fixing' Family Separation: Executive Order Imprisons Families Indefinitely

Amnesty: President Trump signed an executive order today mandating for children to stay with their parents in detention while their asylum claims are processed. More>>

ALSO: