Life under occupation – 8
14 September 2010
The Israeli authorities escalated the violations against Palestinian prisoners and detainees in the Israeli prisons. The Israel Prisons Administration (IPA) prevented visitation between rooms and departments within the same prison facilities. It implemented a campaign of transfers of prisoners to other prisons and put more prisoners in solitary detention. The IPA also prevented the prisoners from conducting the mass Eid Al-Fitre prayer and prevented the entry of new clothes for them. The families of Gaza prisoners were not allowed to visit the prisoners.
The number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons is estimated at 7,000, according to prisoners’ affairs researcher, Abdel Nasser Farwana. Of those, 735 are from the Gaza Strip. Since 2006, families in Gaza have not been allowed to visit their relatives in Israeli prisons. Palestinian prisoners and detainees who are confined for ‘security offenses’ are subject to systematic violations of their basic rights in flagrant disregard for international law.
These violations have continued during the Eid Al-Fitre holidays this year. Israel has also continued with the process of approving the so-called ‘Shalit Law”, which imposes even harsher measures on the conditions of detention for Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons and violates the human rights of the Palestinian detainees.
Palestinian detainees are subject to degrading treatment in the form of the following practices:
- Palestinian detainees are held in places of detention which do not accord with international standards for the treatment of detainees. Places of detention do not provide protection from extreme weather conditions and large numbers of prisoners are held in cramped and confined spaces. The Prison Administration also deliberately dims lighting in detention facilities which damages the eyesight of prisoners over time. Essential maintenance is not carried out at these places of detention
- Detainees are provided with poor quality meals, which are sometimes spoiled, and are insufficient in quantity, which leads to malnutrition. This violates international standards on the treatment of prisoners which state that prison authorities must provide detainees with food of nutritional value adequate for health and strength.
- The Prison Administration conducts arbitrary search campaigns during which prisoners are strip-searched. The detainees are also beaten, hit with batons, tear gassed, shot with bullets and placed in solitary confinement for long periods of time and their belongings are confiscated.
- Detainees are not provided with adequate medical services which are limited to the provision of very basic health care for sick detainees. These services do not meet their urgent health needs.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights asserts the rights of Palestinian prisoners and detainees to protection and to communication with the outside world; including by having family visits. Al Mezan Calls on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to exert pressure on Israel to ensure the right of detainees to visitation, to expand the categories of relatives who are allowed to visit prisoners to include second and third class relatives.
Al Mezan condemns the systematic ill treatment of Palestinian prisoners and detainees by the Israeli authorities, which starts once persons are arrested but continue through the interrogation and unfair trial and, then, through detention under conditions that violate international law and human rights standards.
Al Mezan calls on the international community to exert pressure on Israel to ensure its respect of international law and human rights; including the right of detainees to periodic prison visits and to protection under the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, of 1955, as well as other relevant international instruments.