[Ppnews] Facing imprisonment in Israeli Jails: A Palestinian Woman’s Testimony by Leena Jawabreh

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Sep 23 10:54:19 EDT 2013

  Facing imprisonment in Israeli Jails: A Palestinian Woman’s Testimony
  by Leena Jawabreh


/The following article is translated from Arabic. It is written by Leena 
former Palestinian political prisoner in Israeli jails. Leena Jawabreh 
served four years in Israeli prisons until her release on July 16, 2008. 
She was again arrested on August 15, 2013 along with Myassar Atyani and 
Linan Abu Ghoulmeh 
and sentenced to one month in prison and a 1000 NIS fine. She has 
organized multiple actions and solidarity hunger strikes in support of 
Palestinian prisoners, in particular women prisoners./

/This article addresses the experience of Palestinian women prisoners 
from the author’s personal knowledge. /

*Facing imprisonment in Israeli Jails: A Palestinian Woman’s Testimony*

*By Leena Jawabreh, former political prisoner*

 From the first moment of arrest, a Palestinian prisoner finds herself 
held in the Israeli interrogation centres, often located in military 
bases or settlements. Here begins the stage of steadfastness and a 
fierce psychological battle between the prisoner, who is disarmed of all 
tools of defence except her strong will, and the occupation. The dark 
Israeli interrogation cells are referred to, by Palestinian prisoners, 
as the “graves of the living underground.” Prisoners held there do not 
know night from day. The cells are completely closed off, with a noxious 
musty and damp odor, high humidity, and very dim yellow lighting.

 From the first moment that she arrives in such a place, her captors 
shackle her arms and legs to an iron chair – and this is when the 
interrogation begins.  Interrogation usually includes physical force; 
threats of arrests of members of her family: her mother, father, brother 
or sister; constant shouting; stress positions on an iron chair; sleep 
deprivation; and denying her access to personal hygiene, including 
forbidding her from using the washrooms.

Interrogation methods and tools are many, and among them is the 
polygraph. It is worth noting that it is the recognized right of the 
prisoner to refuse questioning on the polygraph. Interrogation periods 
can be extended multiple times by the occupation authority, and lawyer 
visits denied.

This stage of steadfastness is followed by charges or a detention order, 
a court date, and transfer from the interrogation centre to another 
prison where another constant struggle begins for her: confronting 
racism and oppression by the prison administration.

*Medical Negligence*

The occupation exercises deliberate medical neglect in the treatment of 
Palestinian prisoners. They often do not receive treatment for their 
illnesses and suffering. Even when it is clear that a prisoner urgently 
needs to enter the hospital, her request is often, almost always, 
rejected. Instead, she is given only painkillers and water to treat her 
pain, illness or disease. On multiple occasions, prisoners have been 
given incorrect medicines with lasting and negative side effects. The 
prison authority does not allow specialist doctors to enter with the 
International Committee of the Red Cross, to examine the prisoner, or to 
give her a proper diagnosis, tests, imaging or treatment.

In cases where a prisoner is allowed to enter the hospital after her 
situation deteriorates further, she is chained in the transport to the 
hospital by her arms and legs and her medical files are hidden from her 
so that she is not informed about her own medical condition.


The families of the prisoners are often banned from visiting on the 
pretext of security. The occupation forbids prisoners from seeing her 
family and loved ones; this is part and parcel of the psychological 
coercion. The denial of family visits is an attempt to break the will of 
the prisoner and prevent her from communicating with the outside world 
and deny her contact with her family for long periods of time. This 
policy has particularly impacted prisoners from Gaza.

Prisoners are regularly subject to strip searches by jailers when they 
are being visited, or when they are going to court.

In the visitation room itself, there is a glass wall separating her from 
her family members, or iron bars with only small holes, and sometimes 
telephones for communicating with her family, which are constantly 
monitored by the prison authority. The prisoners are also prevented from 
touching or coming close to members of their family despite being only 
inches away.

*Internal conditions*

As for the living conditions in the  prison cells themselves, they are 
very small cells with only one window that is constantly closed from the 
outside with metal bars. Sun and air does not enter the rooms, which are 
very humid, particularly in summer and often infested with rats and 
stinging or biting insects. The rooms do not exceed three meters in 
length and six prisoners or more are held in each cell. She is also 
often forbidden from bringing winter clothes to protect her from the 
freezing cold of winter inside the prison.

The occupation prison administration often punishes the prisoner without 
warning. She is fined and prevented from using recreation time, which is 
the only time that prisoners are outside their cells, or denied family 
visits, or held in solitary confinement. The solitary confinement cells 
are isolated from the rest of the prisoners’ sections and isolated in 
every sense of the word, not only from her family but from her fellow 

She is transferred in the “Bosta”, the designated vehicle to transfer 
prisoners to the military courts. It is in fact a mobile cell with a 
metal chair. It can barely accommodate one person in a sitting position, 
and the windows are blacked out. The prisoner is chained by her hands 
and feet, and the shackles hurt her wrists every time she moves and 
leave marks on her body. The Bosta is used without any mercy from the 
occupation. She is subjected to all kinds of humiliation, verbal abuse, 
and mockery by the soldiers who transport her.

We, women Palestinian prisoners, call on the people of the world to 
support our struggle, to demand our rights and our freedom. We demand to 
be treated as prisoners of war with our rights fully recognized under 
the Geneva Conventions. We know that we are prisoners of freedom, 
because we are committed to the freedom of our Palestinian land and 
people. The Palestinian, Arab and international voices calling for our 
rights and our freedom break through the darkness of the interrogation 
cells, the cruelty of soldiers and guards, and the injustice of the 
prison. We call upon you to make our case, the case of the Palestinian 
prisoners, an international imperative for justice and freedom.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mail.freedomarchives.org/pipermail/ppnews_freedomarchives.org/attachments/20130923/31af209e/attachment.html>

More information about the PPnews mailing list