Sat 13-April-2024

Palestinian female prisoners decry Israeli detention conditions

Thursday 21-March-2024


Two Palestinian human rights groups said in a joint statement on Wednesday that new testimonies conveyed by legal teams regarding recently detained Palestinian female prisoners reveal repeated assaults during their arrest and their harsh and unprecedented conditions of detention in the cells of the Israeli Hasharon Prison before being transferred to Damon Prison.

The Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs and the Palestinian Prisoners Society underlined that Hasharon Prison has become a place of torture and humiliation against female prisoners, which has significantly escalated after October 7. Recent visits to the female prisoners confirmed that they were subjected to humiliation, searches, and assaults in the cells of Hasharon Prison. They were held in conditions unsuitable for human living.

The institutions indicated that the number of female prisoners held by the Israeli occupation authorities is 67, including four prisoners from Gaza in Damon Prison, among whom is a mother and her two daughters. The majority of the female prisoners are either administrative detainees or detained on charges related to incitement. It should be noted that there is no available information about the Gaza female prisoners held in camps due to enforced disappearance.

In this context, the female prisoners called for the legal pressure to close Hasharon Prison. They affirmed that their detention conditions are extremely harsh and difficult due to collective and imposed isolation. Additionally, the prison administration provides poor-quality and insufficient food, as it is served without salt and inadequately cooked.

With the beginning of the month of Ramadan, three meals are provided, and the female prisoners save the food for breaking their fast. It is divided for both suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and iftar (meal to break the fast), despite its limited quantity.

Moreover, the female prisoners fear drinking water in the prison. They are forced to place it in containers so that the dirt settles at the bottom before they can drink it.

The prisoners’ institutions published a joint report on several recent visits to female prisoners in Damon Prison, which included testimonies from several prisoners about the torture, humiliation, and assaults they were subjected to, as well as their conditions of detention in Hasharon and Damon prisons.

Female Prisoner (N.M) said, “After my arrest, I was tightly bound with plastic handcuffs, my eyes were blindfolded, and I was forced to walk a long distance between rough terrain and stones. They transferred me to one of the houses where detainees were held that day, and they ordered me to sit on the ground, but I refused due to the pain in my feet.”

She added, “I requested to use the restroom, but one of the female soldiers refused. When I repeatedly asked her, she pushed me violently, and one of the soldiers hit me on the chest with his weapon. Later, after being transported in a military vehicle, I felt severe difficulty in breathing.”

As for prisoner (A.Y), she said, “After being bound and arrested, I was taken to a camp belonging to the occupying army, where I was forced to stand on my knees for two hours while blindfolded and bound.”

Prisoner (Y.A) pointed out that upon her arrival at Hasharon Prison, she was subjected to strip searches and was held in a cell unsuitable for human living. According to her description, “It was the worst night I’ve ever experienced. The cell was extremely cold, with a very foul-smell and dirty toilet.”

Prisoner (N.T) said, “Three female guards attempted to conduct a strip search on me, but I refused and insisted on not complying with them. They then assaulted me, specifically targeting my head. Another prisoner who also refused the strip search was severely beaten.”

She continued, “Later, we were transferred to an empty cell with nothing in it. After repeatedly requesting a mattress and blanket, two damp and foul-smelling mattresses were brought, along with a blanket.”

Prisoner (H.D) said, “After my arrest and being blindfolded, they transferred me to one of the camps. The weather was very cold, and I felt that a police dog was approaching me and attempting to bite me. I started screaming until it was removed. Throughout my transfer, they called me and other detainees ‘terrorists.'”

She added, “I arrived at Hasharon Prison at 4:00 p.m. and was placed in an empty cell with water-covered floor. I began to lose balance as I suffer from diabetes, and they kept me without drink or food for a long time.”

She continued, “Later, they transferred me to another cell with cameras, and the toilet was exposed. I started feeling extreme fatigue, yet the process of transferring me by the prison vehicle to Damon Prison took an entire day. When I arrived at Damon, I was extremely exhausted and unable to walk.”

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