Israel Intensifies Crackdown on Palestinian Prisoners

Palestinian activists take part in a protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. (Photo: via MEMO)

Israel has imposed heavy fines on Palestinian prisoners in Al-Naqab (Ketziot) and Ramon prisons as part of a series of crackdowns which have seen their cells raided and phone signals jammed.

The Israeli Prison Service today imposed fines on 96 prisoners being held in Al-Naqab prison, located near the Egypt-Israel border, southwest of Beersheba, and on 74 prisoners in Ramon prison, located near Mitzpe Ramon deep in the Negev desert. The fines are thought to amount to 250,000 shekels ($68,000) and will be deducted from the prisoners’ stipends, Ma’an reported.

Israel has also imposed other measures on the prisoners, including holding them in solitary confinement, forcing them to sleep while handcuffed and preventing their families from visiting.

The news comes just days after Israeli prison guards attacked Palestinian prisoners in Al-Naqab, raiding their cells, targeting them with teargas and severely beating them. Israel claimed this came following the stabbing of two Israeli wardens by prisoners on Sunday evening, which it says escalated into a riot.

Chairman of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, Qadri Abu Baker, said that over 25 prisoners were injured in the crackdown, 15 of whom sustained life-threatening injuries. The prisoners were subsequently transferred to Israel’s Soroka hospital in Beersheba for treatment, according to Wafa, though it is unclear whether their condition has improved since then.

The fines against Palestinian prisoners are just the latest in a series of Israeli crackdowns on Palestinian inmates in the past two months.

In February, Israel’s prison administration installed phone jamming devices at Al-Naqab and Ramon prisons. The devices produce powerful radiation and stop radio and television signals from penetrating into the area, in a bid to stop prisoners maintaining contact with the outside world.

In March it emerged that the prisoners were suffering from depression, headaches and fainting as a result of the radiation from the devices, with experts saying this can lead to “genetic deformities of human cells and cancer”.

Human rights organizations have condemned these events, with the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Associations – better known as Addameer – issuing a statement on Monday to say:

“We are following up closely and with much concern, the systematic increasing crimes carried out by the Israeli prison services against the Palestinian prisoners. [These] violations are opposed by all international conventions related to the protection of prisoners.”

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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