Israel still uses torture against detaineesPress release, The Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, Email: [email protected],
Jerusalem December 9, 1999
Three Palestinian prisoners tortured despite the Israeli High Court
Three young Palestinian men from Bethlehem have been severely tortured in the Russian Compound prison in Jerusalem, despite the ruling of the Israeli High Court in September 1999 to abandon the practice of torture against detainees.
The ruling of the High Court said that the use of various interrogation techniques by the General Security Service (GSS) was illegal, including torture or ill-treating detainees during interrogation. The international community and local human rights organisations welcomed this decision as a great step forward.
Following the High Court ruling, the GSS reportedly ceased using torture. Unfortunately, it is now clear that the decision is not at all implemented by the GSS.
Mohammed Ali Hameid Souman, 17 years from Braitha'a, al-Ta'amreh in Bethlehem, was arrested in his home on August 24 1999 and taken to the Russian Compound prison in Jerusalem, where he was interrogated for 55 days. The first 25 days he was tortured severely. They covered his head with a dirty bag, and forced him to sit in painful positions (Shabeh) for long periods of time. Further, they forced him into a very small and narrow cupboard where he could not move at all. The torture made Mohammed to confess to charges of trying to purchase guns, throwing stones and being a member of the Islamic Jihad movement. His lawyer was not allowed to meet Mohammad until 40 days after his arrest.
Ali Issa al-Wahsh, 20 years from al-Ta'amreh, Bethlehem, was also arrested at his home the night of August 24 1999, and taken first to `Atzion and then transferred to the Russian Compound prison in Jerusalem. He was interrogated here for 70 days, being beaten and tortured severely. He was not allowed to use the toilet for some days, and his health deteriorated. He was not taken to hospital. As a result of the torture, Ali confessed that he was a member of Islamic Jihad, possessing and dealing with weapons. His trial will take place on December 16 1999.
Ra'ed Ahmad Salem al-Hamri, 19 years from Braitha'a, al-Ta'amreh in Bethlehem, was arrested from his home on August 21 1999. He spent the first night in ?Atzion and was then taken to the Russian Compound where he spent 62 days in interrogation. He was beaten and tortured, they put burning cigarettes on his body and forced him to sit in painful positions (Shabeh). During the interrogation he was hospitalized at "Pikur Holem" on September 22, 1999 because his health deteriorated badly during the detention. They accused him of membership in Islamic groups, of dealing with weapons and throwing stones. As a result of the torture, he confessed to the charges.
The Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG) collected the testimonies of the three boys through their fathers and their lawyers.
Israel signed the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in October 1991. The PHRMG strongly oppose the sustained use of torture against detainees in Israeli prisons. This practice is also in breach of various other international treaties, such as the International covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Celebrating the Human Rights Day 1999 tomorrow, the Palestinian Human
Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG) find this practice a great step backward
for the situation for human rights in Israel. We call for the immediate
implementation of the Israeli High Court ruling from September 1999.