No peace without human rights at home and abroad
Israeli army troops are capturing and torturing Palestinian detainees with impunity using a “threat to public safety” loophole used in the United States according to a human rights report released in Bethlehem by Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights on Thursday that called for International solidairty.
The human rights group, Al-Mezan has called on the international community to pressure Israel through political, technical and trade relations.
Al-Mezan’s call has come only three days before United States human rights defenders with peace groups and families of prisoners in the United States are holding an International Day of Solidarity with Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers due to violations of the Convention Against Torture similar to those in Israel.
“Palestinians face torture and inhumane treatment in Israeli jails,” the report states.
It documents human rights violations against Palestinians by the Israeli army over two years in Gaza and outlines 85 cases of Palestinians tortured in the Israeli prison system.
It is estimated that 100,000 Americans are tortured in prisons in the United States, daily.
Israelis inflicting torture use U.S. familiar “war on terror” loophole: “Immediate threat to public safety”
One detainee accused of being a threat to public safety told Al-Mezan he was prevented from sleeping, bound in stress positions, spat at and bombarded with loud music, during a 42-day interrogation.
Another prisoner, Nadedh Ali Abed-Rabbo, from Jabalia in north-east Gaza, passed out four times and lost 12 kilograms during the questioning, the report said. After he was released in July 2010, he required medical treatment in Gaza City for hearing loss, nerve spasms and ongoing head pain.
The report slammed the “loophole” in the Israeli Supreme Court prohibition of torture that allows Israeli interrogators to secure permission from supervisors for banned methods if they believe a detainee poses an immediate threat to public safety.
“The study detailed around 50 Palestinian prisoners being held in solitary confinement, and at least 15 Palestinians from Gaza detained as ‘unlawful combatants.'”
Al-Mezan documented Isrealis imprisoning 28 Palestinian rubble and scrap collectors, including four children, by the Israeli army near the buffer zone, and 65 arrests fishermen off Gaza waters.
“The essence of the policy of the blockade is cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of the population at large, a prima facie violation of the [Convention Against Torture],” the report noted.
Call to international community to end prison torture
The Al-Mezan study calls on the international community to pressure “Israel to comply with its international obligations through their political, technical and trade relations with the state.”
A similar call has been made by Unied States human rights defenders due to similar abuses in American prisons.
On Monday, August 1, United States top peace, justice human rights groups and family members of prisoners, those committed to non-violence, are standing in solidarity with the 100,000 tortured prisoners in American solitary confinement “hell-holes” and with tortured prisoners globally.
The day of action, International Day of Solidarity with the Prisoner Hunger Strikers, was called by World Can’t Wait with prisoner family members and advocates in honor of the approximately 7000 California prisoners who refused food for up to 25 days during the historical peaceful Pelican Bay Prison hunger strike this month, conducted due to American torture in prisons.
The August 1, international actions intend to raise awareness about core violence perpetrated daily in the United States, the nation with the highest prison population in the world yet ignored by the public, many “peace groups,” and media. Human rights groups are calling for accountability of all nations violating the Convention Against Torture.
For further information about creating an event to participate in Monday’s day of action, peace and human rights peace groups plus families of prisoners are requested to see firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Related articles by Deborah Dupré