Israel on Wednesday released Palestinian journalist Awadh Rajoub after spending six months in jail for what the Israeli army describes as “security-related” violation.
Rajoub, 28, was charged with harboring pro-Hamas sentiments, and allowing a Hamas operative in the Hebron region to send a letter, using Rajoub’s personal email, to the abroad-based Hamas leadership.
The letter, according to charge sheet, pertained to preparations for municipal and legislative elections in the West Bank.
Rajoub told the Israeli judge that he would have never allowed the letter to go through his email system had he known its content and destination.
However, the judge rejected Rajabob’s argument and sentenced him to another six-month suspended jail term.
Rajoub said he was subjected to systematic harsh physical and psychological torture at the hands of Israeli interrogators.
“They would force me to sit down on a small stool-like chair with my hands tied to my back for up to 18 hours per day. They treated me as if I were a criminal.”
Rajoub said he was placed in solitary confinement in a small 4-square-meter cell for over 48 days at the notorious Russian Lockup in West Jerusalem.
“They threatened me to inflict unspecified harm upon my wife and my mother if I didn’t confess.”
Rajoub interrogators questioned him on the nature of his work as correspondent of aljazeera.net and the journalists he knew as well as the political activists he had interviewed.
He condemned his imprisonment as “unjust and completely incompatible with the most elementary standards of fairness and justice.”
“In any other country, I wouldn’t spend a single day in prison for such petty and trivial charges.”
A spokesman for the Israeli Prison Authority refused to answer questions pertaining to Rajoub assertions that he was exposed to physical and psychological torture while in Israeli jails.
However, human rights groups operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territories had long documented a variety of physical and psychological torture during interrogation of Palestinian suspects, including the so-called Shaking Technique, sleep deprivation and (sitting on a 30-cm high chair with one’s hands tied to his back).
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