Sunday, June 28, 2009

Torture against Palestinians practiced in Israeli and Palestinian prisons, rights groups demand end

27.06.09 - 12:09

Gaza / PNN – Within Palestinian and international human rights circles it is an unfortunate but well known fact that the Israeli administration commits torture against political prisoners.

It is less publicized that within Palestinian jails torture is used against Palestinians.

The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) joined the Office of the Ombudsman for a meeting on the Prevention of Torture held at the headquarters of the Bar Association in Gaza City this week. Lawyer Salah Abdel Atti, Director of the Office of the Ombudsman for Gaza City and the northern Strip says that the definition for torture falls within the parameters for both.

The Convention against Torture is “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed.”

The lawyer from the Ombudsman office, Salaeh Abdel Atti states that he has reviewed the set of international standards related to torture, and that the reality of the situation is that the occupying Israeli administration has long since adopted the policy of torture in its prisons. “It offers systematic support for this torture through Israeli political and judicial institutions.” The Israeli government does not deny the use of torture.

With respect to the practice of torture in Palestinian jails against Palestinians (no Israelis have been captured save for the single Israeli soldier in the Gaza Strip) in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Atti explained that the Office of the Ombudsman has received dozens of citizen complaints regarding allegations of having been tortured. The Office of the Ombudsman, in a follow-up to these complaints, has asked President Abbas and the Palestinian Legislative Council to enact legislation to criminalize torture.

The participants in this week’s meeting recommended international bodies and institutions responsible to protect human rights and to prosecute violators. They said the most egregious violator is the State of Israel and its practice of torture.

Rabid violations of Palestinian human rights are record with human rights officials and international officials.