Saturday, June 13, 2009

Amnesty International 2009 Report about Palestinian prisoners

excerpt from Amnesty International 2009 Report

Military justice system

Hundreds of Palestinians, including scores of children, were detained by Israeli forces in the OPT and many were held incommunicado for prolonged periods. Most were later released without charge, but hundreds were charged with security-related offences and tried before military courts, whose procedures often failed to meet international standards for fair trial. Some 8,000 Palestinians arrested in 2008 or in previous years were still imprisoned at the end of the year. They included some 300 children and 550 people who were held without charge or trial under military administrative detention orders, including some who had been held for up to six years.

* Salwa Salah and Sara Siureh, two 16-year-old girls, were arrested at night from their homes in June and were still held in administrative detention at the end of 2008.

* Mohammed Khawajah, aged 12, was arrested by Israeli soldiers at his home in Ni’lin village at 3am on 11 September. He was beaten and detained with adults in an army detention camp until 15 September, when he was released on bail. He was charged with throwing stones at soldiers and sent for trial before a military court.

* Dozens of Hamas members of the Palestinian parliament and ministers in the former Hamas-led PA government remained detained without trial, up to two years after their arrest. The Israeli authorities held them apparently to exert pressure on Hamas to release an Israeli soldier held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas’ armed wing since 2006.

Almost all Palestinian detainees were held in prisons in Israel in violation of international humanitarian law, which prohibits the removal of detainees to the territory of the occupying power. This made it difficult or impossible in practice for detainees to receive family visits.
Denial of family visits

Some 900 Palestinian prisoners from the Gaza Strip were denied any family visits for a second year. Many relatives of Palestinian detainees from the West Bank were also denied visiting permits on unspecified “security” grounds. Many parents, spouses and children of detainees had not been allowed visits to their detained relatives for more than five years. No Israeli prisoners were subject to such restrictions.
Prisoner releases

In July, the Israeli authorities released five Lebanese prisoners, one of them held since 1979 and four captured during the 2006 war. They also gave back the bodies of 199 other Lebanese and Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in previous years in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers killed by Hizbullah in July 2006. In August and December, the Israeli authorities released some 430 Palestinian detainees, in what were described as goodwill gestures to PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Torture and other ill-treatment

Reports of torture and other ill-treatment by the Israeli General Security Service (GSS) increased, especially during interrogation of Palestinians suspected of planning or involvement in armed attacks. Methods reported included prolonged tying in painful stress positions, sleep deprivation and threats to harm detainees’ families. Beatings and other ill-treatment of detainees were common during and following arrest and during transfer from one location to another.