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Dozens of Palestinian prisoners abused, say Israeli rights groups

Palestinian civil society groups have protested against the treatment of prisoners held in Israel [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 24 February, 2016

Palestinians held in Israeli prisons are subjected to 'abuse and inhumane, degrading treatment', according to a report issued by two Israeli rights groups on Wednesday.

A report by two Israeli rights groups says dozens of Palestinians held in an Israeli detention centre are subject to conditions that in some cases amount to torture.

B'Tselem and HaMoked present accounts by 116 Palestinian detainees on the conditions at the Shikma interrogation facility, run by the Shin Bet internal security agency.

The report, released on Wednesday, says the detainees are incarcerated in a small, rank cells, often in isolation.

The conditions constitute "abuse and inhumane, degrading treatment, at times even amounting to torture", according to the Israeli groups.

The report said that practices in the Shin Bet detention block at Shikma included sleep deprivation for long periods, being bound hand and foot to a chair for hours on end and exposure to extreme cold and heat.

"Being denied the possibility to shower or change clothes for days and even weeks; incarceration in a small, foul-smelling cell, usually in solitary confinement, for many days... are some of the standard features," it added.

Being denied the possibility to shower or change clothes for days and even weeks; incarceration in a small, foul-smelling cell, usually in solitary confinement, for many days... are some of the standard features

A 1999 ruling by Israel's High Court of Justice forbade interrogators to use violence during interrogations except in the case of a "ticking bomb" - when "measured physical pressure" could be used - but the report accuses Shin Bet of outright torture.

"The combination of conditions both in and outside the interrogation room constitutes abuse and inhuman, degrading treatment, at times even amounting to torture," it read.

Daniel Shenhar, who was part of the team that compiled the report, lamented the lack of response of Israeli legal authorities to the allegations arising from the testimonies.

"No investigations lead to no accountability, and de facto immunity to investigators and human rights breachers," he told reporters.

The report comes amid months of near-daily attacks on civilians and security forces in the region.

At least 184 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since October, 41 of them under the age of 18.

The latest stage in the conflict is rooted in frustrations stemming from nearly five decades of Israeli occupation and the complete lack of progress in peace efforts.

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