Israel Abuses Minors in Ofer Prison, says Prisoners’ Commission

RAMALLAH, November 5, 2015 (WAFA) – Minor Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli Ofer prison, illegally built on land to the west of Ramallah, reported being subjected to abuse prior to and during detention by the Israeli authorities, according to the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs (CPA).

Abdul-Fattah Douleh, who represents minor prisoners in Ofer, told a CPA attorney that out of 130 minor Palestinian prisoners who have been jailed in Ofer since the beginning of October 2015, at least 49 of them reported to have faced multiple forms of maltreatment, including physical abuse during investigations.

Douleh added that five of the prisoners arrived in Ofer prison last month although they had been injured by Israeli live ammunition prior to their imprisonment, while five others were already suffering serious health diseases.

Some of the prisoners also said they were brutally beat up by Israeli soldiers, either using machine guns, clubs, or by hitting them with their legs.

Away from physical abuse, the prisoners also reported to have been in dire need of winter clothes and mattresses, in addition to overcrowding of detainees due to the increasing number of daily arrests carried out by Israeli forces since early October.

Meanwhile, another CPA attorney, Fadi Ebayat, said 40 Palestinian minor prisoners in Jaf’on prison in Ramla, in central Israel, have been suffering unbearable imprisonment conditions, including overcrowding, and severe lack of winter clothes and heating wares.

Food items provided to the prisoners in Jaf’on are also insufficient and badly-stewed, the prisoners told Ebayat.

Prisoners are also exposed to daily harassment and maltreatment by the prison’s guards, and sick prisoners only receive painkillers.

In June 2013, a UNICEF report found that ill-treatment of Palestinian minors held within the Israeli military detention system was “widespread, systematic and institutionalized.”

UNICEF, in the 22-page report that examined the Israeli military court system for holding Palestinian children, found evidence of practices it said were “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.”

“Ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized,’ it concluded, outlining 38 recommendations to improve the protection of children in custody.

“In no other country,” it said, “are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing the necessary guarantees.”

The report cited terrifying nighttime arrests; physical and verbal abuse; painful restraints; denial of access to food, water and toilet facilities; solitary confinement; coerced confessions; lack of access to lawyers and family members; shackling during court appearances; and transfer to prisons outside Palestine. It noted that these practices violate international law.


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