- July 24, 2006
Israel Plans Torture Center for Abducted Lebanese
Acording to the Israeli news site Yedioth Internet, the “IDF [IOF] has started constructing a temporary detention center designed to hold the Lebanese prisoners that will be captured during army operations in Southern Lebanon…. The fact that the army was granted special permission from the Chief Military Rabbinate to continue with construction works throughout Saturday attests to the urgency attributed to the project.”
Prisoners have been routinely tortured, three times a day. Torture included beatings, being prodded with electrical cables in sensitive parts of the body and being hung from painful positions….
Detainees were given inadequate food rations and beaten when they prayed until a riot in 1989, during which two prisoners, Bilal al-Salman and Ibrahim Abu ‘Azz, were killed….
Among the prisoners were Lebanese journalist Cosette Ibrahim, kidnapped while reporting in southern Lebanon. Some of the detainees were children, like 15-year-old Ali Tawbeh, who with his parents was dragged from his home by the Israeli occupation forces in 1997. Other hostages, like Abdeh Malkani, were over seventy years old. Hussein Awada, 65 years old, had been detained since June 1999. He had serious heart problems and could only move with the help of a stick….
Between 1987 and 1995 prisoners in Khiam were not allowed access to their families. They were denied the right of prompt judicial review of the lawfulness of their detention. A number of detainees have died in Khiam, some of them after torture, others because of lack of medical treatment. Other prisoners have been released after years of torture and incommunicado detention with serious physical or mental illnesses.
Ketziot was a prison in the middle of the desert. It was in southern Israel, toward the Egyptian border. No one could get there. Visitors were not allowed. Not even lawyers could go there because the prisoners were called administrative detainees, which means they were held without a trial and without being charged.
The soldiers used bulldozers to push the dunes up like mountains around it. The sun there felt like someone was pouring fire on you. It was a place with no buildings, only tents with cells.
I was 14 when they sent me to Ketziot. They put me there during the first intifada for 6 months because I threw stones at the soldiers who came into our camp. I don’t think you can dream a worse nightmare.
The floors of the cells at Ketziot did not sit on concrete but directly on the desert. At night when you slept, the scorpions and black snakes came in through the sand. There were no lights so you could not watch to kill them. The cell was small so you could not move away from them.
If you did not give information about people in your camp, the soldiers beat you. If you did give information, they said it proved you were a terrorist, so they kept you longer. And they beat you.
This prison is located in Betounya just a few kilometers to the West of Ramallah. It is originally a military camp at which a detention center has been formed. It is estimated that 720 Palestinian detainees are held in this prison. Eighty-five of them are administrative detainees. Several others are Palestinians holding Jordanian passports.
Conditions in this prison are not better than those in Ansar 3 [Ketziot]. Prisoners are held in tents distributed on sections. Many harsh beatings have been reported in this prison. Overcrowding, poor food, terrible sanitation services, widespread insects and reptiles are common features of this prison. Prisoners are also in need of changes of clothes, especially underwear.
Additionally, there are some sick prisoners in this prison. These prisoners are deprived of medical care. In an affidavit given by detainee Murad Abu Gharbeyyeh he mentioned that he suffered from psychological instability after his wife had been killed in front of him. He lost his conscious many times. The doctor of the prison diagnosed his case, but he was not given appropriate treatment.