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Palestinian Groups Demand Transparency in Israeli Prisons Amid Detainee Health Concerns

Saturday 15 June 2024 - 10:25
Palestinian Groups Demand Transparency in Israeli Prisons Amid Detainee Health Concerns

The Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza has issued a call for international inspections of Israeli detention centers. This demand follows the recent release of several prisoners who appeared frail and emaciated after spending several months in custody.

Among those released was the former Speaker of the Council, Aziz Dweik, who had been held for nine months on accusations of affiliation with Hamas. Upon his release, Dweik appeared significantly thinner and grayer than before his detention.

The Council expressed outrage at the alleged mistreatment of prisoners, stating, "We look with anger at the crimes committed by the enemy against the prisoners, and the greatest example is the photo of Dr. Aziz Dweik when he left the occupation prisons."

The Council has accused Israeli authorities of subjecting prisoners to starvation, isolation, and torture.

In a statement on Friday, Dweik himself claimed that prisoners were "starved for 24 hours a day. The prisoners are in poor health conditions, suffering from skin diseases, and the food is insufficient even for children, let alone meeting the needs of men." He further stated that essential items like sugar, salt, and fruit were virtually absent in the prisons.

CNN has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces and prison authorities for a response to the allegations made by the Council.

Most of the approximately 30 prisoners released from the Negev and Ofer prisons this week were administrative detainees who had not been charged with any offenses.

One of those released, according to the Palestinian Prisoners' Society, was Saed Abu Shanab from Tulkarm, who had spent 21 years in Israeli prisons.

The Prisoners' Society stated that the condition of the released detainees "reflects some of the harsh and humiliating conditions of detention, including acts of torture, abuse, and starvation, in addition to medical crimes."

In May, CNN published an investigation based on testimonies from whistleblowers at the Negev facility, which reported that "doctors sometimes amputated prisoners' limbs due to injuries sustained from constant handcuffing; [and] medical procedures sometimes performed by underqualified medics."

In response to that reporting, the IDF stated, "The IDF ensures proper conduct towards the detainees in custody. Any allegation of misconduct by IDF soldiers is examined and dealt with accordingly."

The Israeli military has acknowledged partially converting three different military facilities into detention camps for Palestinian detainees from Gaza since the Hamas-led attack on Israel on October 7.

The Prisoners' Society reported in April that the vast majority of detainees released suffered from health problems "which required the transfer of some of them to the hospital immediately upon their release."

As tensions escalate in the region, Palestinian groups are demanding transparency and accountability from Israeli authorities regarding the treatment of detainees in their custody, citing grave concerns over reports of mistreatment and deteriorating health conditions.

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