Physical assaults with batons and ropes, hanging from windows and doors, being held in stress positions for hours, and near-death strangulation are some of the torture techniques used by the Palestinian security services against detainees, a new report revealed today.
The 1,715 people detained last year included:
- 969 former prisoners previously held in Israeli jails
- 422 students
- 68 journalists
- 41 teachers
- 27 children
- 25 women
Of the 1,715 civilians who were arrested in the West Bank last year, 37 were tortured, the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) revealed.
A number of detainees were held in solitary confinement for several months, prompting some to go on open-ended hunger strike in protest against the inhumane treatment and torture.
On 14 occasions, the PA security forces used live bullets to intimidate Palestinians, injuring a 12-year-old child. At least 43 Palestinians were brutally beaten and one was hit by a car during the course of his arrest.
PA security forces often refused to comply with court orders for the release of detainees. At least 26 Palestinians remained in custody even after the court ordered their release. Another 11 Palestinians were held in “administrative detention”, without charge, by the governor of their respective towns.
Security forces also seized personal belongings and property belonging to 76 Palestinians during the course of the arrests including ID cards, mobile phones, computers, cars, sums of money and various documents.
Four Palestinians were held in custody to force other members of their families, wanted by the security forces, to hand themselves in.
Security forces also cracked down on many peaceful protests held to oppose human rights violations by Palestinian security forces and Israeli occupation troops. At least 33 peaceful protests were crushed in the West Bank, with officers, some dressed in plain clothes, assaulting protesters and seizing personal belongings, banners and brochures. Media outlets were often banned from covering these protests.
All PA security apparatuses were found to have participated in the arrests, summons and acts of torture.
In total, 28 per cent, $1.078 billion, of the PA’s budget was allocated to the security services, more than the total funds given to both the ministries of health and education, AOHR UK said.