Samah Jaradat’s family highlights Israeli abuse and torture under interrogation

Samah Jaradat. Photo: Samidoun Palestine

After Mays Abu Ghosh spoke about the torture and abuse to which she was subjected under a month of Israeli interrogation at the Moskobiyeh detention center, the family of her friend and fellow Palestinian student prisoner Samah Jaradat discussed her experience, as reported in Quds News.

Jaradat was subjected to 22 days of harsh interrogation at the Moskobiyeh detention center in occupied Jerusalem after she was seized by Israeli occupation forces who invaded her family’s home in Al-Bireh on 7 September 2019. Her father reported that armed occupation soldiers began banging on the door of the family home at 3:00 am. After the soldiers invaded the family home, two female soldiers entered Samah’s room alone and began to interrogate her.

Samah refused to open her phone for the occupation soldiers, so they brought her father to demand he open the phone for them. He reported that when he supported his daughter, an Israeli intelligence officer began questioning him about “how he raised his children,” a theme he had earlier pursued when Samah’s brother refused to greet the intelligence officer. The agent began shouting at her father, and he affirmed that he was proud of his children and how they were raised.

Samah’s father reported that the invading soldiers blindfolded her, cuffed her hands and detained her at a military camp before transferring her to the Moskobiyeh detention center. He said that “At the beginning of her interrogation at Moskobiyeh, the jailers strip-searched Samah and kept her in the room for five consecutive hours without anyone else present before beginning the interrogation.” He said that she was held in isolation and subjected to various forms of psychological torture, including sleep deprivation, during her interrogation. She was prohibited from seeing a lawyer for over 22 days.

Samah Jaradat. Photo: Quds News

He also said that “The occupation intelligence officers were interrogating Samah for lengthy, continuous hours, from 9 in the morning until 5 am the next day, in order to exhaust her and attempt to force her to confess.” He said that they first began to interrogate her, accusing her of participating in exploding a roadside bomb placed by the Palestinian resistance near an illegal Israeli settlement, but after discovering nothing, shifted instead to questioning her about her student activism at Bir Zeit University.

During the interrogation, Israeli interrogators threatened to keep her in prison for the rest of her life or to arrest her father or her brothers, her father reported. He also said that his daughter was taken to a room with speakers broadcasting screams and cries of pain, which Samah was told were the sounds being made by Palestinian prisoners during interrogation under torture.

Samah’s father reported that the Israeli intelligence officers directed that Samah be moved to the cells of collaborators in Ramle prison. This is a well-known technique in which arrested Palestinians are transferred to cells with others who claim to also be Palestinian prisoners. However, they are actually collaborators working for Israeli intelligence who are attempting a different form of interrogation to extract information from the person who has been detained.

Mays Abu Ghosh and Samah Jaradat. Photo: Facebook

He reported that one of the intelligence agents came to Samah and identified himself as a representative of the Palestinian prisoners, saying that he had requested that a place be opened for her with the rest of the prisoners. The undercover agent asked her to tell him all of the details about her political work and student activity, but she refused, because she recognized that it was a trap, her father reported.

“Samah has a strong personality and a deep concern for the Palestinian national cause. She loves her family very much. These are qualities that always make us proud, and we hope to see her free very soon,” he said.

In a letter she sent to her family, Samah wrote: “I send this letter to you from Damon prison, located on Mount Carmel. I am fine and everything is well. During the interrogation period, you were always with me at every moment. I was strengthened by your strength, so stay strong. I love you very much and hope you are well. When I saw you, and to Samar, Samer, Salwa, Sami and Salma, I love you so much.

Samah Jaradat was arrested only days after her graduation from her undergraduate studies at Bir Zeit University with a major in sociology. There are dozens of Palestinian students from Bir Zeit alone held in Israeli prisons, including several jailed under administrative detention without charge or trial.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges the broadest possible action and mobilization to support Samah Jaradat, Mays Abu Ghosh and Palestinian students and new graduates jailed by the Israeli occupation forces. We urge students around the world to hold events, vigils and informational actions to highlight the struggle of Palestinian students under occupation and all people of conscience to develop the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Freedom for Samah Jaradat and all Palestinian students! 

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