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Palestinians speak out about torture in PA prison

Jerusalem – Palestinian journalist Sami al-Sai were ordered launched from the custody of the Palestinian intelligence services and products in Tulkarem in February, however simply as he used to be about to depart, he used to be rearrested and transferred to Jericho prison.

There, he underwent 15 days of interrogation and torture, he informed Al Jazeera.

“They strung me up from the roof of the cell with a rope tied around my arms, which were behind me. There was so much pain,” he mentioned, noting that he used to be overwhelmed on his ft with a hose all over some other interrogation consultation. “I couldn’t believe the pain … Afterwards, I couldn’t walk properly; I couldn’t reach out my arms.”

Sai used to be launched after paying a nice to droop a three-month sentence for hyperlinks to the Gaza-based Palestinian motion Hamas.

His tale suits with a trend of abuse, which ex-detainees, their households, attorneys and human rights organisations say is increasingly more not unusual in the occupied West Bank, and particularly Jericho. The prison, they are saying, is taking part in a key position in a Palestinian safety equipment that has ratcheted up its makes an attempt to stifle dissent and imprison political fighters.

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“People face torture in many places when they are in [the] custody of the Palestinian Authority,” mentioned Anas Barghouti, a Ramallah-based human rights attorney. “Many people also face torture in Jericho, but what makes it different is that it is especially a place for political prisoners.”

Barghouthi informed Al Jazeera new “security committee”, a joint frame of Palestinian intelligence businesses arrange in 2016 in Jericho, has larger the ability of the safety services and products as a result of they’re running in combination and reporting immediately to the president. “It was set up to deal with people accused of supporting [Mohammed] Dahlan,” he mentioned, relating to an exiled opponent of President Mahmoud Abbas, “but it’s now being used as a tool in political arrests of different kinds.”

A spokesperson for the PA’s army prosecution showed to Al Jazeera that the committee were arrange in 2016 and reported to the president.

Anas Barghouti says Jericho prison ‘is particularly a spot for political prisoners’ [Jacob Burns/Al Jazeera]

A person from Hebron, who spoke to Al Jazeera on situation of anonymity, mentioned that he were held in Jericho prison below the safety committee for 2 months this summer season, accused of getting hyperlinks to Hamas and ownership of guns – fees he denies.

He mentioned it gave the impression that the safety committee wielded nice energy over the judges at his fortnightly detention hearings: “The hearings were a joke. It was all for nothing; they just re-detained me immediately.” He used to be denied get admission to to a attorney and tortured by means of being positioned in a pressure place for as much as 5 hours at a time, he added, noting that he used to be launched after paying a bail of 10,000 shekels ($2,800). 

Human rights teams have condemned the expanding selection of arbitrary detentions carried out by means of Palestinian safety forces. Ashraf Abu Hayyeh, a criminal adviser for Al-Haq, informed Al Jazeera that the hot detention of Shadi al-Nammoura, a Hamas member from Dura, used to be exceptional.

Shadi is being held in Jericho prison regardless of a courtroom having ordered his liberate 4 occasions. Initially, Palestinian intelligence services and products were including new fees after each and every liberate order, however since August three – except a short lived length when he used to be held below the order of the governor of Nablus – he has been held with out the addition of any new fees.

“Perhaps in the past, orders for release have been ignored for a day or three. That’s illegal, still, but this is something new – something that we haven’t seen before,” Hayyeh informed Al Jazeera. Letters to the government in regards to the case had long past unanswered, he added.

Shadi’s father, Faiz, mentioned his son had served greater than seven years in Israeli prison earlier than being launched final November. The PA then arrested him from his administrative center in the village on May 25.

“I want to see him again, immediately,” Faiz mentioned.

Meanwhile, Noha Halaweh’s sitting room in the outdated town of Nablus is coated with photos of her husband, Ahmed, who used to be overwhelmed to demise in Jneid prison by means of Palestinian safety forces on August 23 final 12 months. Five of her sons have been in Jericho prison on fees associated with the violence in Nablus that resulted in her husband’s killing. She says they’re blameless and have been merely detained on account of who their father used to be.

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“It’s a punishment for me to be alone in the house,” Halaweh informed Al Jazeera, noting that one in every of her sons used to be tortured in Jericho – hung from the ceiling of his mobile by means of his hands. “He used to be like a flower. When I visited him, I didn’t recognise him.”

Adnan Damiri, a spokesperson for the Palestinian safety forces, denied that any torture came about in Jericho, telling Al Jazeera: “We do not torture people. Jericho prison complies with all legal specifications and is one of the best in the world in that regard. We are open to human rights organisations visiting us.”

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, then again, say they’re residing via an exceptional length of repression.

“We’ve been sliding back in terms of human rights under the PA for years,” Barghouti mentioned. “Things now are bad, and it could get worse. People are scared of the security committee more than any of the individual services because they’re now all working together as one.”
Source: Al Jazeera

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