Prisoners' institutions: The occupation arrested (446) Palestinians during the month of October 2020
November 12, 2020

The Israeli occupation forces continued the arrest of Palestinians. According to the monitoring and follow-up operations carried out by the institutions, the occupation forces arrested (446) Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territory during the month of October 2020, including (63) children, and (16) women.

According to the prisoners and human rights institutions (Commission of Detainees and Ex-detainees Affairs, Palestinian Prisoners Club, Addameer Prisoner Support & Human Rights Association, and Wadi Hilweh Information Center- Silwan) as part of a fact sheet issued today, Thursday, the occupation authorities have arrested (200) citizens of Jerusalem, (34) residents of Ramallah and Al Bireh, (70) from Hebron, (34) from Jenin, and (37) from Bethlehem. They also arrested (27) residents of Nablus, (10) from Tulkarm, (17) from Qalqilya, some from Jericho, (8) from Tubas, some from Salfit, as well as (5) from Gaza.

Thus, the number of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in the occupation prisons during the month of October 2020 reached nearly (4,500), including (40) women, while the number of children arrested reached nearly (170), and administrative detainees reached approximately (370), the number of administrative detention orders issued was (68) among them (38) new orders and (30) extended.

The report issued by the institutions includes a monitoring of the most important policies of the occupation that was implemented against the prisoners and detainees during the month of October -Most notably the policy of solitary confinement, and the continuation of systematic arrests, particularly in Jerusalem, and depriving hundreds of prisoners from visitors as an example (the prisoners of Gaza).

The policy of solitary confinement

The occupation, with its forces and its oppressive regime, continues to inflict physical and psychological harm on the Palestinians inside its detention centers and prisons, beginning with keeping about 4,500 male and female prisoners inside prisons and the use of the systematic solitary confinement policy against a group of prisoners, depriving them of communicating with other prisoners inside the prison, and separating them from the outside world especially by the occupation’s decision to deprive their families of visiting them.

The occupation prisons administration used solitary confinement as a tool of abuse and punishment against the prisoners under the pretext of “breaching prison security or state security”, and keeping them in separate cells for an indefinite period, in an attempt to break their determination and keep them away from their fellow prisoners. After the strike waged by prisoners in 2012, which lasted for 28 days, one of its most prominent results was the ending of the isolation of (19) prisoners. And again, the occupation prisons’ administration placed dozens of prisoners in solitary confinement, under the pretext of “security”, and held them in small cells. A prisoner stays there from 22-23 hours continuously, with a complete cut off from the outside world, and only one hour is devoted to going out to the “Fora” (prison yard) daily.

The decision to issue isolation and its term are issued by a civil court to which the prisoner or detainee is presented without legal representation on his part, at the request of the Israeli intelligence service “Shin Bet security service” under the pretext of the existence of a “secret file”. The law allows occupation courts to issue a decision to place the detainee / prisoner in isolation for a period of 6 months in one room, and 12 months in a shared room.

Prisoner Wael Al Jaghoub

Prisoner Wael Al Jaghoub told Addameer institution's lawyer the details of his isolation in Megiddo prison. Al Jaghoub lives for 22 hours in a 2 by 3 meter cell, which contains a bathroom and a TV. He goes out for one to two hours a day, and his family is not allowed to visit him or call him to check on him. Al Jaghoub (41 years old), sentenced to life imprisonment, was arrested in 2001, on June 28, 2020. The occupation prison administration transferred him from “Gilboa” prison to isolation in “Megiddo”.  He stayed there 20 days in harsh conditions. Then he was transferred to the “Jalameh” investigation center, where he stayed for 24 days. Upon a decision by the Israeli “Shin Bet” intelligence service, he was returned to solitary confinement at the end of last August.

Prisoner Imad Al Batran

The occupation prisons’ administration continues to isolate the prisoner Imad Al Batran (44 years old) in “Megiddo” prison, since 3/3/2020. The prisoner Al Batran is an administrative detainee from Hebron. He was arrested on January 27, 2020, and is also a former prisoner who spent nearly ten and a half years in captivity, of them, nine and a half years of administrative detention. In 2013, he carried out an individual hunger strike that lasted for 105 days,  as well as another hunger strike at the end of 2016 which lasted for (35) days as a rejection of his administration detention. Al Batran has been suffering from stomach problems, lipids in the blood, and sebaceous cysts in the skin for five months, however the administration of the occupation prisons are stalling to perform medical examinations on him till this day.

Other prisoners suffer in isolation, just as Al Jaghoub and Al Batran suffer from the bad and harsh conditions imposed by the prison administration. In addition to the fact that the food provided is of poor quality and quantity, and there are continuous implementations of frequent inspections of the isolated prisoners in solitary confinement cells.

At the time of the “epidemic” solitary confinement turned into a double isolation due to the difficulty of the lawyers visiting them and the irregularity of their visits which used to be the only means in which they were able to communicate with their families.

It is noteworthy that, in 2011, Juan Méndez, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, called on all countries to prohibit solitary confinement of prisoners except in extremely exceptional circumstances and for the shortest possible period [1]. It can be said that the manner in which the occupying power uses the method of isolation with Palestinian detainees is a violation of the rights guaranteed in the Fourth Geneva Convention. In addition to their blatant violation of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners - the Mandela Rules - [2]. It should be noted that the Human Rights Committee's Comment No. 7 on Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights affirms that solitary confinement, especially when the detainee is placed in complete isolation from others, is one of the inhuman and degrading methods of treatment prohibited by virtue of the same article.

Despite all this, the Israeli occupation authorities continue to isolate 12 prisoners in solitary confinement cells.

Jerusalem continues to face the systematic campaigns of arrests and abuse

The occupation authorities stepped up a campaign of arrests in the city of Jerusalem during the month of October, (200) cases of detention were recorded in the city of Jerusalem, including (45) minors and (15) women.

The arrests were concentrated in the village of Issawiya with about (90) arrests, as the campaign of “assaults and collective punishment” has continued for more than a year, as well as daily raids, arrests and the delivery of summons to the people of the town. This brings the number of arrests in Issawiya to more than 1,100 cases from June 2019 until the end of October.

During the arrest, the occupation authorities deliberately put the face masks “that the prisoners put on to prevent the Coronavirus” on their eyes while they were being held in police vehicles and during their presence in the detention centers. They also continued to prosecute released prisoners immediately after their release from Israeli jails. So they arrested the released prisoner Areen Za'anin upon his release from “Nafha” prison, after serving his 5-month sentence, and released him after several hours under the condition that he deports Jerusalem for 10 days.  They also rearrested the released prisoner Oday Obeid and his father, from the village of Al Issawiya on the day of his release after serving his 15-month sentence, minutes after his arrival to the village, then released him again after several hours of investigation.

The Bashiti family as an example

In the old city of Jerusalem, and specifically near Bab Al Majlis - one of the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque - the Bashiti family lives. The family suffers almost daily from the occupation's policies, from storming their home, searching it, vandalizing its contents, arresting their three sons, assaulting them, and imposing bails or house arrests on them. And the last of these prosecutions was last month, with the arrest of their eldest son, Hisham, from the village of Issawiya by the undercover unit (Musta’riben) after they beat him. He was transferred directly to solitary cells, and the extension sessions continue to this day. As well as the arrest of the family’s two sons, Hatem and Abdel Rahman, then releasing them under the condition of deporting the Old City of Jerusalem and undergoing house arrest.

The Bashiti family said that the invasion of their home does not stop. Any incident that happens in the area, the house is broken into and the children are arrested and subjected to beatings, and they are released on the same day or a day later, under the condition of paying bail, even when members of the family go out on the rooftop of their house across from Al Aqsa yards, their homes become exposed to invasions.

The two brothers Abdel Rahman and Hatem complained that the police constantly provoke them while they are in front of their house with their friends, stopping them and arresting them. The young boy, Hatem, indicated that the repeated arrests last year led him to miss his school year.

As for the boy Abdel Rahman (16 years old), he undergoes double the arrests and house confinement due to his suffering from diabetes. The family explained that he was arrested several times just because of suspicion of “the diabetes screening machine he has”, even though he tried to tell them about the device and its necessity. He is also denied access to food and medicine in a timely manner during investigation and detention.

The occupation continues to pursue and prosecute the children of Jerusalem

At the end of October, the judge of the Occupation Magistrate Court issued a verdict of two years imprisonment and a fine for the child Ashraf Hassan Adwan (13 years old), from the town of Al Eizariya, east of Jerusalem, on charges of “attempting to stab a female soldier” at the gates of Al Aqsa on 9/26/2019.

 The judge decided during the 10/28/2020 session that he would spend the term of his sentence inside the “Yarka Interior Foundation”, “calculated from the date of issuing the sentence,” and therefore his sentence will be 3 years “from the date of his arrest”. He was also obliged to pay a fine of 5 thousand shekels.

The child Adwan was arrested a year ago from Al Aqsa Mosque, and after the investigation and the extension sessions, he was transferred to the internal Yarka Foundation. During the past months, his mother was able to visit him once inside the institution, as the mother holds a West Bank ID and needs a permit to enter Jerusalem.

The so-called “internal institutions” are another means of difficult and harsh conditions for children, to abuse the children of Jerusalem, and to consolidate the systematic policy of detaining children.

Wafa Abu Jumaa is an example of the occupation's pursuit of women and ill patients

Within the prosecution operations and abuse procedures imposed on Jerusalemites, is the ruling on what is known as “public service”, which is nonpaying and compulsory work for a period of eight hours a day inside Israeli institutions, which takes place under the supervision of the prison officer. Women, elderly people, and minors are not exempt from this abusive procedure.

The occupation court ruled on the Jerusalemite woman Wafa Abu Jumaa (52 years old) from Al Tur, to carry out “public service” for a period of eight months as a starter. Then a decision was issued to sentence her to an actual imprisonment term of six and a half months, instead of “public service” after the institution rejected her because of her difficult health condition. Abu Jumaa said: “The ruling is not easy. Physically, I cannot work in my house. I suffer from diabetes and heart disease, and I had an accident and screws were inserted in my hands.  This ruling is psychologically destructive”. It is noteworthy that the occupation pursuit of Ms. Abu Jumaa began in 2015, and she was arrested three times on various charges, “Incitement on social media, and threats and attacks against settlers during the settlers' incursion.”

“Corona” is a means of punishment that deepens the pain of the prisoners from Gaza who are deprived of visits

Visits of the prisoners' relatives to their children are a legitimate and guaranteed right in accordance with all international norms and conventions. In the event that it is stopped for emergency reasons, as in the case of the spread of the “Corona” virus, it is natural to find alternatives for communication and human contact between detainees and their families, especially the prisoners who have been banned from family visits for many years.

The (255) prisoners from Gaza and their families in particular, suffer double suffering due to the continued suspension of visits and the interruption of communication means between them and their detained children since the start of the “Corona” crisis last March, as they were not allowed to visit at all, or even have phone calls.

Through follow-up and examination, it was noted that the occupation prisons administration is using this pandemic “Corona” as a means of punishment to deprive prisoners from communicating with their families, whether through visits, or through possible alternatives such as phone calls.

Prisoner Basil Arif

The case of the prisoner Basil Imad Arif (38 years old) from Al Rimal neighborhood, west of Gaza City, who is sentenced to life without parole, is one of the harshest cases of prisoners who are deprived of family visits, since he has not seen his father since his arrest (20 years ago), under the pretext of what is called “the security ban”. They are even using the pandemic (Corona) as an excuse to prevent him from making any phone calls no matter how short, even for a few minutes between him and his family.

The case of the prisoner Basil Arif and his father is one of dozens of severe cases among the Gaza prisoners. This prompts us to renew our requests to the Red Cross and all humanitarian organizations, for the necessity of urgent intervention and pressure on the occupation authorities to create mechanisms for humanitarian communication between the prisoners of Gaza in particular, and the prisoners in general, in light of the continued suspension of visits under the pretext of “Corona”.

The prisoners' institutions renew their call to all international human rights institutions, to put serious pressure on the occupation, especially in the current circumstance and with the continuing spread of the “Corona” virus, in order to release sick prisoners and the elderly, and to allow the existence of a neutral medical committee to follow up on the health of the prisoners. As well as to provide them with a means of communication to communicate with their families, and pressure the occupation to stop the daily arrests, in addition to the systemic abuse policies that the prison administration continues to implement against the prisoners in detention centers and prisons.