Israeli Internal Security Minister, Gideon Ezra, replied to a petition filed by an Arab member of the Knesset, Dr. Azmi Bishara, regarding closing Al Damoun detention facility as a result of its bad conditions.
Izra stated that he “will personally follow-up this issue” until finding a proper solution.
Dr. Bishara sent a letter to Ezra on November 28, 2005, and demanded that he move the detainees out of Al Damoun, and close it down since it has cracked walls which are filled with humidity, bugs, cockroaches and reptiles.
Also, the facility does not include windows which would allow fresh air or even the sunrays in the rooms which became filled with humidity, in addition to its polluted water which is not fit for human consumption.
Bishara mentioned in his letter that Al Damoun was previously closed after several formal reports were published, which revealed that it was not fit for human use, but it was reopened last year anyway.
Walls cracking down in Al Damoun detention facility
Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies – Thursday, 20 October 2005
The Palestinian Prisoners Society reported on Thursday that the structural conditions of Al Damoun detention facility are imposing real threats on the lives of the Palestinian detainees.
“Israel is holding some 300 detainees there under very bad conditions, with complaints such as cold rooms and cracked walls which are flooding the rooms with rain and cold wind”, the society reported, “These conditions are also causing serious threats after it appeared that some of the walls might fall on the detainees”.
Several detainees reported that the prison administration is not conducting the needed maintenance to these walls and cracks in spite of the repeated demands of human rights organizations and the appeals of the prisoners.
Detainee Shadi Yousef Kameel, 22, from Qabatia town near the West Bank of Jenin, said that the rooms at the facility are very cold, and that the ceilings are leaking whenever it rains. Kameel is scented to four consecutive years.
Also, the detainees do not have enough clothes, covers and other needed materials to protect themselves during winter time.
Detainee Majdi Mahdi Nasser, from Nablus, who is sentenced to eight years, said that the prison is very old, since it was constructed at the time of the Turkish mandate, before the British forces occupied Palestine.
“You can feel the walls moving with the wind”, Nasser said, “Each time there is strong wind and heavy rain, we feel that the walls will collapse over us”.
The prison administration at Al Damoun facility decided to close it in 1999 after it became unsafe as a result of its old shaky structure, but Israel reopened it after the Al Aqsa Intifada started late 2000.
Currently, there are some 300 Palestinian detainees imprisons in Al Damoun detention facility facing very bad living conditions.
Wall falls in Al Damoun detention facility
Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies – Wednesday, 17 August 2005
A Palestinian detainee in Al Damoun detention facility, north of the country, complained to lawyer of the Palestinian Prisoners Society, Raed Mahameed, that one of the inner walls in the prison fell, which endangers their lives in the old prison.
Detainee Raed Bani-Odeh, from Jenin, said that the concrete is slowly falling from the roof as a result of humidity and old structure.
Israeli Prison Authorities decided to close Al Damoun in 1988 after it found that its structure is not safe, and emptied it in 1988, but the Israeli government reopened it after the beginning of Al Aqsa Intifada which inflamed late September 2000.
There are currently 240 detainees imprisoned in Al Damoun suffering from bad living conditions, and rooms filled with bugs, humidity and cockroaches.
Each twelve detainees are placed in one room which is barely enough for 8, in addition to the bad ventilation system and the water which contains bugs and warms which makes it unfit for human use.
In a separate incident, lawyer of the Prisoners Society, Mohannad Al Kharraz, said that Israeli soldiers and interrogated attacked several residents in Salem military detention, near Jenin.
The detainees are also held in over-crowded rooms which lack proper ventilation.