Geneva – Following its documentation of Israel’s systematic, widespread, and intensifying policies of torture and abuse of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor voiced deep concern over Israel’s ill-treatment of these vulnerable detainees amid total impunity.
Euro-Med Monitor has documented cases of torture, humiliating abuse, and ill-treatment of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons. The rights group said that many of the detainees are subjected to severe beatings, filmed without any clothes on, blindfolded, handcuffed, and forced to perform various acts against their will under the threat of torture.
Video footage obtained by the Euro-Med Monitor team shows Palestinian detainees being transferred to buses while they are naked and wearing blindfolds. Israeli soldiers are seen beating and purposefully insulting and humiliating the detainees, who they kept their heads bowed.
According to Euro-Med Monitor, Israeli authorities have arrested more than 2,600 Palestinians from the West Bank since the start of Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip on 7 October, and have adopted a set of “emergency” prison measures in order to impose exceptionally brutal and inhumane treatment. The human rights organisation further noted that Israeli authorities have used administrative detention—a form of arbitrarily detention without charge or trial—against Palestinians in the West Bank on a record-breaking scale.
In clear violation of the standards of a fair trial, administrative detainees are detained for months or years without charge, while their lawyers are often denied access to clients’ indictment files under the pretext of secret intelligence information needing to remain private.
Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Israel ratified in 1991, prohibits the arbitrary arrest or detention of individuals and states that, “No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.”
Along with intensifying their abuse, torture, and other forms of cruel treatment of Palestinian prisoners, Israeli authorities have failed to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of at least five detainees in Israeli prisons since 7 October.
The Israeli authorities extended the “prison emergency” state on 31 October for an additional month. This grants the Israeli Minister of National Security virtually unrestricted authority to keep Palestinian detainees isolated from the outside world, deny them the right to family and lawyer visits, confine them in overcrowded cells, and prevent them from physically exercising outdoors, as well as to impose harsh collective punishments on them, such as prolonged power and water outages.
Meanwhile, Israeli authorities have implemented the “Unlawful Combatants Law”, which violates international law, to indefinitely hold Palestinians from the Gaza Strip without charge or trial. Furthermore, thousands of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who have work permits in Israel and the West Bank were taken into custody by Israeli authorities and held there for several weeks after 7 October Some of them were later released, while others’ fates remain unknown.
According to Euro-Med Monitor, Israel has a long history of using widespread torture and abuse tactics in detention facilities located in the West Bank, all while operating with complete impunity, which provides them with the green light needed to commit more violations against Palestinian detainees.
The Geneva-based rights organisation stressed that torture and other cruel treatment of Palestinian detainees constitutes a clear violation of international humanitarian law, is prohibited at all times and in all places, including in times of war, and may amount to a war crime. Detainees must retain all their rights, including receiving family and lawyer visits and an eventual end to their arbitrary detention.
Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor demanded that an impartial global inquiry be launched into allegations of torture and other severe treatment meted out to Palestinian prisoners, and that those responsible for issuing these cruel orders be held accountable.