Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Freed Prisoner Kifah Afaneh: Full-body Searches Routine for Female Prisoners

19.10.10 - 13:51

Mustafa Sabri – PNN/Exclusive - Recently released prisoner Kifah Afaneh said in an interview that female detainees like her often risk being strip-searched in prison. They fear the interrogation room, she said, where they are stripped in front of hidden cameras as part of procedures at the central prison.

Afaneh added that female prisoners, like other Palestinian detainees, first faced military courts before being transferred from one prison to another. Female jailers then demand that they remove all their clothing piece by piece before examining them thoroughly, often provoking or insulting them in the process.

“It’s a horrific scene,” said Afaneh. “We’re scared they’ll take pictures of us with hidden cameras or cell phones. Ehsan Dababseh was with me in one room before she was released and that dancing video was made with the soldiers’ camera phones.”

“The occupation always says these are isolated incidents,” she continued, “but I’m certain these things happen on a daily basis, and the prison directors know about every one. What is preventing these jailers from making us undergo this treatment, from taking pictures of us naked and putting them on YouTube? It is to break the will of the prisoners and our dignity and to humiliate our families. The occupation knows what it will mean for our honor as Palestinians and Muslims.”

Afaneh said inspections happen suddenly at night, without warning, whereupon they are split into groups and forbidden from covering any part of their bodies. Each one is isolated, tortured, and beaten, she said, and many have their hair pulled.

Afaneh said how important it was to expose the occupation’s practices and stop strip-searches, particularly of women. The prison authorities, she said, didn’t have any humanitarian standards or moral guidelines in their treatment of Palestinians.

The International Solidarity Movement recently released findings showing that seven prisoners came from Nablus, six from Ramallah, four each from Hebron, Tulkarem, and Jerusalem, three from Jenin, and two from Bethlehem.