The Palestinian Center For Human Rights, PCHR, issued a special report on the conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation jails.  The report, issued on 17 April 2006, coincided with the annual Palestinian Prisoners’ Day.

The statistics of the Center and those of the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs were highlighted to indicate the latest numbers of prisoners and deaths within prison.  Up to the end of March 2006, there were 9,400 Palestinian prisoners detained by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF).  These prisoners were distributed over 34 detention centers, 4 interrogation centers, and 2 military holding centers.  Among the prisoners are 120 females, 330 children and 810 administrative detainees.  The number of Palestinians who have died in occupation jails is 182 since 1967.  Sixty-nine of these were killed while undergoing torture, 41 due to medical negligence and 72 were willfully killed.

The report pointed to the continued suffering of Palestinian prisoners in occupation jails due to Israeli violations of their rights, which are guaranteed under International Humanitarian Law.  For example, the report points to the fact that Israel continues to use the policy of torture against Palestinian prisoners.  This policy is implemented with the approval of the political establishment and is perpetrated under protection of the judicial establishment.  Such complicity can only lead to further violations of international law.

The report highlighted a number of key topics covering Israeli legislation and orders pertaining to detention and prisoners, legal violations against prisoners and the complicity of Israeli courts in violating prisoners’ rights.  Furthermore, the report shed light on the activities of PCHR’s legal unit relevant to prisoners in occupation jails, including follow up of cases, testimonies of prisoners and families, and statements from the Center’s legal representatives following cases in Israeli courts.

The report gave special emphasis to the legal situation of prisoners from the Gaza Strip after the implementation of the unilateral disengagement plan from the Strip.  This section pointed to the development in Israeli legislation, which allowed for the continued detention of Gaza Strip residents.  In addition, these laws widened the mandate of the Israeli security services to interrogate residents of the Strip, in violation of International Humanitarian Law.

The report pointed to the complicity of Israeli courts in providing legal cover for the occupation’s crimes.  This was instrumental in allowing a number of Israeli crimes against prisoners to be committed with impunity.

It was noted that the available statistics are not a comprehensive scan of prisoners in Israeli jails and that the numbers were, to some extent, estimates because the detention and release figures change daily.

For more reports, please follow the link to the PCHR website