Palestinian prisoners in Nafha prison violently attacked, collective Friday prayers prohibited


Palestinian prisoners in Nafha prison have been forbidden from Friday prayers on 15 April following a violent attack by Israeli prison guards and special forces on several units inside the prison on Wednesday, 13 April. Israeli armed units stormed section 14 in the prison on Wednesday, an area where 80 Palestinian prisoners affiliated with the PFLP, Islamic Jihad and Fateh are held, with tear gas and pepper spray. On Wednesday morning they also stormed the prison’s sections 13 and 11.

Ma’an reported that “the warden informed prisoners of the decision and threatened that every cell of the prison will be raided if the decision is violated.” Collective Friday prayers have never been prohibited in Nafha before, reported the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies. Prisoners’ representative Ahmed al-Khatib was isolated after being attacked; four Palestinian prisoners were transferred to solitary confinement in Ramon prison. The entire prison has been placed under lockdown by the Israeli prison administration.

Al-Muhja Foundation reported that prisoners in section 14 began protesting after over two months of strict security conditions, including repeated denials of family visits; on Wednesday, 13 April, a prison guard refused for 40 minutes to allow one Palestinian prisoner, Akram Siyam, to visit the toilet. Siyam was assaulted by prison guards and when other prisoners came to his defense, the section was attacked by special forces wielding dogs, tear gas and pepper spray. The attack on the section continued for six hours, in which the attacking forces deliberately poured out food supplies, oil and cola, ransacked and destroyed books, and flooded the cells with large amounts of water, including mattresses. Section 14 consists of 10 rooms, including three rooms of prisoners of the Popular Front, two rooms of prisoners of Islamic Jihad, and five rooms of Fateh prisoners.

Several prisoners were hospitalized due to pepper spray injuries and injuries from beatings; at least one was critically injured. Palestinian prisoners in Ramon and Ketziot have announced protests in support of fellow prisoners in Nafha. There is also a movement for a general one-day hunger strike in all prisons on 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, in protest of the attack on Nafha prisoner.

Photo: Ira Machefsky/Flickr