Prison authorities escalate use of transfers and raids against Palestinian prisoners

prison-cellFouad Al-Khuffash of the Ahrar centre for prisoners’ studies said that the Israeli Prison Service is again pursuing a policy of transferring Palestinian prisoners from one prison to another in order to disrupt prisoners lives and create chaos in the prisons, and in particular to destabilize the prisoners’ movement.

On September 3, Sheikh Jamal Abu el-Hija and his son were moved from Eshel prison to Shata prison; Mahmoud Issa was moved from Gilboa prison to Eshel; and Abdullah Barghouthi was moved from Shata prison to Eshel. Khuffash noted that Mahmoud Issa has not been kept in one prison for more than three months since his release from solitary confinement on May 17, 2012 as part of the agreement to end the mass prisoner Karama hunger strike.

In addition, Israeli forces have raided a number of prison blocs and units in the preceding days. On Monday, Israeli police stormed Section 1, Room 8 of Ramon prison, under the pretext of searching for mobile phones, and confiscated unrelated tools and electronic devices belonging to prisoners.

Amina Tawil of the Center for Prisoners’ Studies reported that in the past month there were 9 sudden raids of prisoners’ units, including 4 different sections in Negev prison, Section 5 Room 1 in Gilboa Prison, Section 12 in Nafha prison, Section 1 Room 1 in Ramon prison, rooms in Eshel prison, and Room 14 in Ashkelon prison. In each occasion prisoners’ belongings were ransacked and confiscated. The Center stated that these raids are part of an attempt to disorient and break prisoners’ will in order to disrupt and discourage prisoner organizing.

In addition, it was reported on Monday, September 2 that Nafha prison administration announced that prisoners serving sentences of under seven years will be transferred temporarily to the Negev prison, beginning with prisoners of the Fateh movement in section 10. The prison administration said that this is due to repairs, but the Palestine Center for Policy Studies reported that prisoners inside Nafha said that the primary goal of this is the search for mobile phones. In the same context, the Negev prison administration also announced the transfer of some prisoners to other sections under the pretext of repairs, as well as the closure of three sections in Negev prison and the transfer of those there to Ashkelon prison.