‘Inhumane Conditions’ – Israel’s Attorney-General Requests Closure of Sde Teiman Detention Camp

Palestinian prisoners are subject to abuse and torture. (File Photo: Physicians for Human Rights - Israel, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Israel’s Attorney-General has requested the closure of the now-infamous Sde Teiman detention centre “immediately”, the Anadolu news agency reported, citing Israeli media.

Gali Baharav-Miara’s request follows a petition by Israeli human rights organizations to the Supreme Court to close the detention camp situated in the Naqab (Negev) desert after local and international reports of widespread abuses against Gazan detainees, the report said.

The request “directly contradicts the position of National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who publicly called for harsher detention conditions, especially in the Sde Teiman prison”, the Maariv newspaper reportedly said, according to Anadolu.

“From the beginning, the facility’s purpose was to hold detainees from Gaza for a short period before transferring them to prisons,” the paper reportedly said. However, “due to prison overcrowding and the detainee crisis, there are still detainees in Sde Teiman”.

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The Maariv said Israel’s behavior regarding the detention facility changed after the petition by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) to the Supreme Court and investigations about abuses against Palestinian detainees.

No ‘External Monitoring’

In May, the ACRI, Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI), the Centre for the Defence of the Individual (HaMoked), and the Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) filed a petition to the Supreme Court “calling for the facility’s closure and the removal of all detainees” after numerous appeals by organizations to the government and the military went unanswered.

“The petition cited the inhumane conditions at the site and the absence of any external oversight or monitoring,” the PHRI said.

“Evidence has mounted on what is allegedly happening at the facility which reveals an unimaginable reality of surgeries performed without anesthesia,” the organizations said in a joint statement at the time.

The statement pointed to “holding detainees in painful positions for days and handcuffing that leads to amputation, blindfolding for long periods, even when providing medical treatment … holding detainees in diapers, beatings and abuse.”

Since the Israeli offensive on Gaza began on October 7, Israel is estimated to have detained hundreds of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip in Sde Teiman, amidst extensive human rights violations.

Numerous reports of abuse at Sde Teiman have emerged in both Israeli and Arab media, following outcries from local and international rights groups about the horrific conditions there.

NYT Investigation

An investigation by the New York Times confirmed last month that Israel was carrying out a policy of systematic torture at the Sde Teiman center.

The probe revealed that 1,200 Palestinian civilians were detained at Sde Teiman “in demeaning conditions without the ability to plead their cases to a judge for up to 75 days.” Additionally, detainees were denied “access to lawyers for up to 90 days”.

“Eight former detainees, all of whom the military has confirmed were held at the site and who spoke on the record, variously said they had been punched, kicked and beaten with batons, rifle butts and a hand-held metal detector while in custody,” the report said.

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Others reportedly stated that “they had been forced to wear only a diaper while being interrogated” and that “they had received electric shocks during their interrogations.”

According to the NYT, most of these testimonies were corroborated by interviews conducted by officials from UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

“Of the 4,000 detainees housed at Sde Teiman since October, 25 have died either at the site of after being brought to nearby civilian hospitals,” the NYT reported, citing officers at the base.

CNN Report

In May, three Israeli whistleblowers working at the Sde Teiman detention camp revealed systemic abuses by the military, including prisoners being restrained, blindfolded, and forced to wear diapers, CNN reported.

The whistleblowers said they were not allowed to move, talk, or even peek under their blindfolds.

“We were told they were not allowed to move. They should sit upright. They’re not allowed to talk. Not allowed to peek under their blindfold,” the whistleblowers told CNN.

Horrific Details about Palestinian Detainees in Naqab Revealed – CNN

Guards were instructed to enforce silence using Arabic commands like “uskot” (shut up), and to identify and punish individuals described as “problematic.”

They described “a routine search when the guards would unleash large dogs on sleeping detainees, lobbing a sound grenade at the enclosure as troops barged in.”

The recently released Director of the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, Dr Muhammad Abu Salmiya, told the media about the horrifying reality facing detainees, noting that “prisoners in Israeli jails endure different types of torture.” Sde Teiman was one of the detention sites at which he was held.

‘Worse Than Abu Ghraib’

As Robert Inlakesh writes, the Palestinian Lawyer, Khaled Mahajneh, who recently gave a first-hand account of the conditions faced in the detention camp after being granted a visit to the center, said: “The treatment is more horrifying than anything we have heard about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo”.

Mahajneh said that some 4,000 detainees from Gaza, who began calling Sde Teiman a “death camp” after at least 35 detainees died under “unknown circumstances”, were blindfolded and shackled constantly, forced to sleep hunched over on the floor.

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Reports published by CNN, The New York Times, and UNRWA have all attested to severe forms of sexual assault and rape occurring at Sde Teiman.

(PC, Anadolu)

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1 Comment

  1. Use the scale of compensation used against the Third Reich’s death camps after World War 2, against the Zionist regime.

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