[Pnews] Joint Statement on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day: Torture in Israeli prisons

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Apr 18 14:08:01 EDT 2015

  Joint Statement on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day: Torture in Israeli prisons

April 18, 2015


Joint Statement on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day: Israel must heed 
international calls to respect human rights of Palestinians held in 
Israeli prisons and end torture of detainees

16 April 2015

On 17 April 2015, Palestinians around the world commemorate Prisoners’ 
Day in solidarity with thousands of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, 
including minors, held in Israeli prisons, and with those subjected to 
torture and ill-treatment.

To mark this important day, four human rights organizations – Adalah – 
The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Al Mezan Center for 
Human Rights, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, and the Public 
Committee Against Torture in Israel – are issuing this joint statement 
to call upon the international community to urge Israel to heed 
international standards and recommendations to guarantee and protect the 
human rights of Palestinian prisoners and detainees at a time when 
torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (CIDT) is 
increasingly reported in Israel. The United Nations in particular has a 
responsibility to work towards the best interests of the child during 
conflict, including in preventing torture and CIDT.

Policies of arrest and detention

Since 1967, Israel has detained and imprisoned over 800,000 Palestinians 
from the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Around 70% of Palestinian 
families have had at least one relative detained, with vast social and 
political repercussions. As of March 2015, 5,820 Palestinian political 
prisoners, including women and children, are being held in prisons 
located inside Israel, in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Israel’s policies of detention and imprisonment are used in large part 
as political tools to suppress and maintain control over Palestinian 
society. These policies are intended to obstruct the daily lives and 
social fabric of Palestinians, and undermine their ability to oppose the 
Israeli occupation by criminalizing basic political affiliation and/or 
activities and employing methods such as torture and illtreatment to 
target and intimidate individuals and communities.

The recent arrest of Khalida Jarrar on 2 April 2015 and a six-month 
administrative detention order coupled with an indictment filed against 
her, reflects Israel’s sweeping use of administrative detention, 
including against Palestinian elected officials, in violation of basic 
human rights. Further, the arrest and detention of Gaza residents under 
Israel’s ‘Unlawful Combatants’ Law is impermissible; the practice falls 
short of legal safeguards in international law and must be abolished.

Torture and child detainees

This year Prisoners’ Day comes at a time of heightened concern over the 
drastic rise in torture complaints filed against Israel’s security 
agency and the increased use of torture that the trend represents. 
During Israel’s recent full-scale military operation on Gaza, at least 
98 Palestinians of Gaza were arrested, with most subjected to torture 
and CIDT. Dozens other Gaza residents were arrested; and some tortured, 
at sea or as they were crossing Erez Crossing on their way to hospitals. 
In 2014, 59 complaints of torture were filed, whereas 16 and 30 
complaints were filed in 2013 and 2012. Impunity for torture also 
continues; of 860 complaints filed between 2001-2014, no investigations 
were opened.

Palestinian children are the most vulnerable detainees and are subject 
to psychological and physical harm during relatively brief periods of 
detention. As of February 2015, 182 Palestinian children were being held 
as ‘security prisoners’ in Israeli prisons. Between 500 and 700 children 
are prosecuted in the Israeli military courts each year, most commonly 
for the ‘security offense’ of stone throwing. A September 2014 military 
order to reform court requirements to include use of audio-video 
recordings and standardize language during interrogations does not apply 
for security offenses.

The international community has highlighted the serious violations of 
rights against Palestinian minors in Israeli prisons. The European 
Neighborhood Policy progress report on Israel of March 2015 noted 
particular concern over reports of “blindfolding, painful hand-ties, 
physical violence, lack of adequate notification of legal rights, verbal 
abuse, strip searches and solitary confinement while under 
interrogation.” The UN Human Rights Committee’s concluding observations 
in November 2014 that the implementation of reforms by the Israeli 
government was not effective, and that minors remained exposed to 
arbitrary arrest and detention and denied full procedural rights.

The international community has repeatedly called on Israel to address 
these issues faced by Palestinian minors in detention. According to the 
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture’s report in March 2015: “the unique 
vulnerability of children deprived of their liberty requires higher 
standards and broader safeguards for the prevention of torture and 
ill-treatment.” However, to this day, Israel has no legislation that 
establishes or prohibits torture as a crime, as obligated in the UN 
human rights treaties to which Israel is a party.


The four human rights organizations: call upon the international 
community to demand that Israel incorporate the international 
recommendations of the UN and EU bodies in order to address the 
deteriorating human rights conditions of Palestinian prisoners and to 
end its violations of international law. We demand that Israel cease its 
systematic use of administrative detention as a mechanism of deterrence 
and punishment against Palestinian society, and interference with 
political processes. We demand that Israel end the practice of torture 
and ill-treatment against Palestinian prisoners, and end the severe 
tactics of arrest and detention of Palestinian minors, including abuse 
that amounts to torture and CIDT. We further demand that Israel revokes 
all discriminatory legislation that target the rights of Palestinians in 
Israeli prisons, and that it ensures transparency and accountability of 
Israeli security and prison authorities.

Signing organizations:

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I)

Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI)

Email Address

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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