Gaza detainees ‘urinated on, made to act like animals’ by Israeli forces, UNRWA says

Palestinians released from Israeli custody report widespread ill treatment to UN agency

A Palestinian man receives treatment at Rafah’s Al-Najjar hospital after being released by Israeli forces on 12 January 2024

Alex MacDonald reports in Middle East Eye on 17 April 2024:

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (Unrwa) said it received reports of mass ill treatment of Palestinians taken captive from Gaza by Israeli forces, including detainees being urinated on and made to act like animals, and children being attacked by dogs.

A new report, released on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on Wednesday, warned that for the thousands of prisoners kept in detention by the Israeli army, physical, sexual and psychological abuse were routine.

“This included being subjected to beatings while made to lie on a thin mattress on top of rubble for hours without food, water or access to a toilet, with their legs and hands bound with plastic ties. Several detainees reported being forced into cages and attacked by dogs. Some released detainees, including a child, had dog bite wounds on their body,” read the report.

“Detainees were threatened with prolonged detention, injury or the killing of family members if they did not provide requested information.”

The testimonies come from some of the 1,506 detainees that UNRWA said it had documented being released from Israeli detention between November and 4 April.  Among those abused while in detention were UNRWA staff members, who the agency said were made to make forced confessions in addition to suffering other forms of abuse.

UNRWA said other detainees reported having wet blankets thrown on them, or “being made to sit on their knees for 12-16 hours a day while in the barracks, blindfolded, with their hands tied”.

UNRWA also received reports of sexual violence against prisoners. Male victims said they received beatings to their genitals, while at least one detainee reported “being made to sit on an electrical probe” and said he saw one man die after a probe was inserted into his anus.  Both men and women were photographed and filmed while naked and subjected to inappropriate touching.

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