Occupy Wesbank Two of the four re-arrested Palestinian political prisoners told their lawyers they were being subjected to physical and mental abuse and torture by Israeli interrogators, in the first meeting they have had since they were arrested last week.
Attorneys Khaled and Ruslan Mahajneh of the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s Defense Commission’s Defense Committee met with Mohammed and Mahmoud al-Ardah on Wednesday, after Israeli intelligence services lifted the ban about the inmates’ access to their attorneys five days after their re-arrest.
Khaled Mahajneh was emotional maintenance to Palestine TV when he left the Jalama detention center after seeing his client Mohammed al-Ardah, who he said was robbed of food, sleep and medical care while interrogating intensive rounds.
“Mohammed has undergone a very difficult torture journey and is still undergoing it,” Khaled said. “On his back, Mohammed was taken to the Nazareth interrogation center, where he was interrogated in a very ugly way.
‘There were about 20 intelligence investigators in a very small room who deprived him of all his clothes, including his underwear, and forced him to stay naked for a few hours. They later gave him a scarf to cover his genitals and then transferred him to the Jalama Interrogation Center.
‘Cuts and scratches’
The lawyer said Israeli forces beat Mohammed during his arrest. “His head was hit on the ground and he is now injured above his right eye. He has so far not received the necessary medical treatment. He suffers cuts and scrapes all over his body as a result of the escape attempt and the Israeli forces’ search for him and Zakaria Zubaidi. ”
Israeli authorities announced late Friday the support of Mahmoud Abdullah al-Ardah, 46, and Yaqoub Mahmoud Qadri, 49, on the southern outskirts of Nazareth. Zakaria Zubeidi, 46, and Mohammed al-Ardah, 39, were arrested early Saturday in the Palestinian village of Shibli-Umm al-Ghanam. The four are being held and questioned in Jalama.
They were among six men – along with Ayham Nayef Kamanji (35) and Munadel Infaat (26), whose place is unknown – who broke out of the Gilboa prison in Israel at dawn on September 6th.
Khaled Mahajneh said six Israeli interrogators stood behind Mohammed al-Ardah, whose arms and legs were handcuffed, during their meeting. The lawyer said he had repeatedly asked for the handcuffs to be removed at least from Mohammed’s arms, but officials refused.
According to Khaled, Mohammed was only given food four days after his arrest and slept for more than 10 hours due to consecutive rounds of interrogation.
“He has been interviewed continuously since Saturday … He is being questioned late in the early hours of the morning,” Khaled said. “He does not see the sun, the light or the wind. When I met him, he asked me if it was noon – he did not know it was midnight. ”
The lawyer said Mohammed is being held in a cell “that does not exceed 2 by 1 square meter”, lives “under 24-hour surveillance” and that “is interrogated every day by 10 officers”.
In a separate maintenance, lawyer Ruslan Mahajneh, who met with Mahmoud al-Ardah the same night, said the detainee informed him that he was being questioned all day.
And according to a statement by the PA commission, lawyer Avigdor Feldman met with Zakaria Zubaidi on Wednesday afternoon.
“Prisoner Zubaidi was found beaten and abused during his arrest along with prisoner Mohammed al-Ardah, causing him a broken jaw and two broken ribs,” the commission said.
Zubaidi, the statement said, “was transferred to the Israeli hospital and given painkillers after his arrest” and he “suffers from bruises and scratches all over his body as a result of the beatings and abuse”.
While the Israeli Supreme Court use torture In 1999, interrogators – especially the intelligence services – continued to use force against Palestinian detainees, which the courts approved retroactively. The four prisoners are being questioned by the Israeli intelligence services in cooperation with the Lahav 443 unit of the police, which according to lawyers can last up to 45 days.
The detainees appeared separately before the Israeli magistrate’s court in Nazareth on Saturday, which decided to extend their detention until September 19 to complete the investigation.
At the court hearing on Saturday, according to the PA commission, several initial charges were filed against the four: ‘Escape, assistance in an escape, conspiracy to commit an attack, and membership of a hostile organization and service to it. ”
Khaled Mahajneh told Al Jazeera after the trial that the authorities refused to provide information on the allegation “conspiracy to commit an attack”, they claim that the file is secret.
In his interview with Palestine TV, Khaled said Mohammed al-Ardah completely rejects the allegations of security that the intelligence is trying to place on him. Mohammed reportedly told Khaled that he “could do anything in the five days”, but he “tried to seek freedom and wanted to walk the streets of occupied Palestine of 1948”.
Under international law, a prisoner of war escaping from prison is “only punishable,” meaning no additional years should be added to their initial sentence, even if it is a repeated attempt.
In previous incidents where Palestinian prisoners escaped from Israeli prisons and were re-arrested, several punitive measures, such as long periods in solitary confinement but no longer imposed sentences, according to lawyers.
Most Palestinians consider detainees in Israeli prisons, who held 4,650 Palestinians including 200 children and 520 administrative prisoners without trial or indictment, as political prisoners detained because of the Israeli military occupation or their resistance to it.
Before breaking out of prison, four of the six inmates served life sentences while two were in custody pending a military trial.
The convicts were arrested between 1996 and 2006 and convicted of attacks on Israeli military and civilian targets. Five of them are affiliated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, while one is a senior member of the armed wing of Fatah, a Palestinian group dominated by the PA.
After the prisoners escaped through a tunnel that opened a few meters beyond the prison wall, Israeli forces launched a huge chase to search for them and arrested some of their relatives.