International Middle East Media Center – The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee has reported that at least 15 political prisoners, held by Israel, have been held in solitary confinement for several years, denied the right to family visits, and held under very difficult, inhumane conditions.
The Committee said that the Israeli “justification” for holding them indefinitely in isolated, small cells, is the allegation that they “pose a threat to Israel’s security.”
“The cells are like tombs; they are small, dirty and lack proper ventilation; they lack basic requirements for human use,” it stated, “The detainees are not allowed to have any of their personal belongings, including books, and whenever they are allowed out of the cells to the prison yards (usually an hour a day), they always remain handcuffed.”
Some of the detainees have been held in solitary confinement for more than three years; each receives a six-month solitary confinement order that is automatically renewed under direct orders from Israeli security officers.
“The orders are a nightmare, constant and illegal violations to the detainees and their families,” the committee added, “Such types of punishments target the detainee’s minds and bodies; they are meant to crush their spirits and steadfastness.”
The Committee also stated that all isolated detainees are denied the rights to family visits, not allowed access to books, newspapers, electric equipment, and are repeatedly transferred between different cells and prisons, in an attempt to keep them disoriented and to deny them the basic feeling of stability.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network denounces the use of isolation and solitary confinement, a form of inhumane and degrading treatment amounting to severe psychological torture. The use of long-term isolation has deeply damaging effects and has been widely condemned, including by the UN Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez.
In 2012, thousands of Palestinian prisoners engaged in the Karameh hunger strike; chief among their demands was the end of the use of long-term solitary confinement and isolation. 19 Palestinian prisoners, including prominent leaders such as Ahmad Sa’adat and Jamil Abu al-Hija were returned to the general population following the agreement to end the strike. Since that time, however, the Israeli prison administration has repeatedly escalated its violation of the agreement to end the use of long-term solitary confinement.
Another isolated Palestinian prisoner, Shadi Mutawa, was just released from solitary confinement in Megiddo prison to the general population in Eshel prison after a 28-day hunger strike demanding an end to his isolation.
The Detainees’ Committee identified the detainees who have been in extended solitary confinement as;
1. Shokri al-Khawaja, from Ramallah.
2. Majed Ragheb Ja’ba, from Jerusalem.
3. Mohammad Nayfa Abu Rabea’a, from Tulkarem.
4. Hassan Omar, from Tulkarem.
5. Fares Sa’ada, from Hebron.
6. Hasan Kheizaran, from Lebanon.
7. Alex Mans from Belgium. (Iranian-born Belgian accused of spying for Iran).
8. Abdul-Rahman Othman, from Nablus.
9. Nour ‘Amar, from Qalqilia.
10. Abdul-Atheem Abdul-Haq, from Nablus.
11. Mousa Sofan, from Tulkarem.
12. Nahar Sa’adi, from Jenin.
13. Issam Zeineddin, from Nablus.
14. Mohammad al-Bal, from Gaza.
15. Majed al-Ja’bari, from Hebron