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Torture in Palestinian detention centers exposed by Palestinian human rights organization
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Torture in Palestinian detention centers
exposed by Palestinian human rights organization
j
Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Last month, the Palestinian organization the Independent Commission for Human Rights exposed that torture is being used in Palestinian Authority and Hamas detention centers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to make suspects confess during interrogations, the independent Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.

General Director of the Independent Commission for Human Rights Dr. Ammar Dwaik explained that torture like "whippings, hanging a person from his hands while they are tied behind his back, verbal abuse, sleep deprivation and whipping the soles of feet" is being carried out in Palestinian detention centers by individuals despite the fact that it is against the law. The report stated that this happens with the knowledge of PA security forces. There were more complaints in the Gaza Strip than in the PA:

"The Independent Commission for Human Rights received 292 complaints from citizens regarding torture, maltreatment, and physical assault in the West Bank, and 928 in the Gaza Strip this year [2015]... most of the types of torture and physical assaults take place during demonstrations, detention, and interrogations in detention centers in order to extract confessions."
[Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, Dec. 16, 2015]

 
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Photos from ICHR published with the article in Ma'an

All cases of torture under PA jurisdiction violate Palestinian law. Official spokesman of the PA National Security Forces in the West Bank Adnan Al-Damiri stated in response to the ICHR report that whoever engages in torture "is a criminal and should be prosecuted."

Dr. Dwaik noted that some of the complaints might not be "genuine," but rather "malicious complaints."

In 2014,
Palestinian Media Watch showed that the ICHR had reported that "despite the President [Abbas'] approval of the ban on torture and its illegalization," there were still "numerous cases of torture" in the PA. 

According to ICHR's website, the organization was established in 1993 "upon a Presidential Decree issued by President Yasser Arafat in his capacity as President of the State of Palestine and chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The decree was subsequently published in the Official Gazette in 1995. ICHR commenced its activities in early 1994; the first Commissioner General was Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, who spearheaded ICHR's initial establishment."

The following is a longer excerpt form the report on torture in Palestinian detention centers:

Headline: "Hanging a person from his hands while they are tied behind his back, whippings, and curses - some of the means of torture in Palestinian detention facilities"

"Whippings, hanging a person from his hands while they are tied behind his back, verbal abuse, sleep deprivation and whipping the soles of feet are means used by officers and [PA] security force personnel in order to pressure the detained and force them to confess during their interrogation in Palestinian detention centers.
These means were exposed by Dr. Ammar Dwaik, Head of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, in an article for the Ma'an news agency, in which he exposed the issue of torture in Palestinian detention centers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and that it is still being carried out - by individual initiative, but with the knowledge of the security forces themselves...
The Independent Commission for Human Rights received 292 complaints from citizens regarding torture, maltreatment, and physical assault in the West Bank, and 928 in the Gaza Strip this year, compared to 289 complaints in the West Bank and 989 in the Gaza Strip during 2014.
Dwaik clarified that the commission received 165 complaints about torture this year, 15 complaints about harsh treatment, and 112 complaints about physical assault in the West Bank, compared to 600 complaints about torture, 236 complaints about harsh treatment, and 92 complaints about physical assault in the Gaza Strip.
As for the complaints, most of the types of torture and physical assaults take place during demonstrations, detention, and interrogations in detention centers in order to extract confessions, and this is despite the fact that the revolutionary Palestinian penal code and the Jordanian penal code consider torture a crime punishable by law, according to Dwaik.
However, Dwaik noted that this does not mean that all of the complaints are genuine, as some of them might be malicious complaints...
Official spokesman of the West Bank PA [National] Security Forces Adnan Al-Damiri stated that torture is forbidden by Palestinian law, and whoever engages in it is a criminal and should be prosecuted.
He emphasized the opposition of the security forces to all types of torture, and noted that the torture which takes place in PA prisons is carried out illegally, by individuals, and not by order of or with the consent of the security establishment.
He demanded that every claim of torture be directed to the Palestinian military court system, which will transfer the case to the military prosecution, in order to demand accountability of the criminals.
Likewise, he stated to the Ma'an news agency that security establishment personnel have already been fired in the past for individually carrying out torture."
[Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, Dec. 16, 2015]



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