Palestinian journalism student Mays Abu Ghosh, 21, a student activist who has consistently supported Palestinian prisoners herself, has been jailed since 28 August along with five other young Palestinians. In comments published at Al-Resalah, her mother said that after a month in Israeli interrogation in the al-Moskobiyeh interrogation center in occupied Jerusalem, she was bruised, pale and nearly unrecognizable. Abu Ghosh is a senior student at Bir Zeit University.
“Her face was full of bruises and her body is very pale. I could not hug her due to the pain hurting all of her body.” Abu Ghosh’s mother said that she and her husband, Mays’ father, were told they would be permitted to see their daughter after she had been held in interrogation for 30 days. However, she said that, when she arrived, she learned this was no normal family visit. “I recognized that we were taken to the investigation centre for blackmailing. When we were there, the Israeli soldiers told Mays that we were detained, trying to put pressure on her in order to accept that claims made against her.”
In 2018, Mays published an article in Al Jazeera English denouncing U.S. President Donald Trump’s cuts to UNRWA, speaking as a Palestinian refugee born and raised in the Qalandiya refugee camp near occupied Jerusalem. “The faith we inherited from our ancestors is strong and deep – we believe that it is possible for us to return to our lands. In fact, we believe that our return will come soon. After all, it is a basic human right,” she wrote. Mays’ brother, Hussein, was killed by Israeli occupation forces in 2016 and their family home in Qalandiya camp was demolished. Mays’ other brother, Suleiman, 17, has been imprisoned under administrative detention, held without charge or trial as a minor.
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association convened a press conference on 23 December highlighting the torture and abuse of Palestinian prisoners, including Abu Ghosh. According to the Addameer conference, she was subjected to a number of stress positions, including the so-called “banana position.” The eventual military court indictment against her charges her with involvement in student activities. Addameer noted that 95% of detainees are subjected to some form of torture and the majority are indicted for political, social and student activities or participation in public actions like demonstrations.
Mays’ father spoke at the press conference, saying that he was summoned to Ofer prison and military base for interrogation. He said that the soldiers threatened to jail Mays for life and asked him, “How do you raise your children? Why is your daughter so stubborn?” He also said that “the torture that Mays encountered in the prisons of the occupation is part of the suffering experienced by the women prisoners, especially the wounded prisoner, Israa Jaabis.”
He also said that he last saw his daughter on 18 December in Damon prison, where she is being held with the other Palestinian women prisoners. He reported that despite everything she experienced, she is in high spirits and committed to her principles. Jamil Saadi, a lawyer representing Abu Ghosh, said that she has had repeated military court hearings but that she has not yet been continued. Her next military court hearing will take place on 7 January. Israeli occupation military courts convict over 99% of the Palestinians before them.