Every Palestinian detainee has his own story of the horrors of being
held in Israeli detention facilities, but in the case of detainee Luay Al Ashqar,
28, from Saida village, near Tulkarem (in the northern part of the West
Bank), the result and the outcome are clearly apparent on his body,
which has been paralyzed due to Israeli torture. Al Ashqar is
currently in Majeddo prison after the Israeli Salim military court
sentenced him for 26 months.
Here is his story, in his own words, of how he became paralyzed:
“During interrogation, I was seated on a chair, my back was bent backwards, and my head nearly reached my legs (a common torture technique used by Israeli interrogators that has been documented by human rights groups and condemned on multiple occasions). Then an intelligence officer who was interrogating me started pressing hard on my chest, he pressed twice at first, and on the third time my back cracked and i felt that something big had happened, that something broke….I immediately had the feeling that something had been taken away from me.
“After this round of interrogation I could not control the lower part of my body. I lost my ability to control my urine. Prison doctors tried “to fix what could be fixed” by my left leg is paralyzed now. They suggested that they should amputate it and replace it with a plastic one, but I refused.
“My lawyer demanded the Prison Authorities to pay a 200,000 Shekels (about $40,000 USD) to pay for specialized treatment and therapy form my condition, after what they did to me, but this request was rejected by the authorities.
“Once, as many detainees and myself were at the prison clinic, Katusha shells fired by the Palestinian resistance in Gaza landed in Affola, close to Majeddo prison. I was chatting to one of the other detainees and told him, “I wish those shells would fall on the jailers who are torturing us, and kill them”. One of the soldiers heard me and filed a report to the security department at the facility and I was confined to solitary for 21 days.
“When they decided to confine me to solitary, I appealed to the authorities to designate another detainee to help me since i had lost my ability to walk, but they rejected my appeal.
“I had to live in continuous torture, being unable to walk, or even to move, while I was in solitary. I was unable to have a normal bowel movement without help. They refused to even give me a wheelchair and insisted that I should remain confined to solitary confinement without any help or medical care.”
Those are the words of Luay Al Ashqar, who remains in prison without proper medical care in his newly-inflicted condition.
Now, Luay Al Ashqar remains imprisoned by Israel, and now, doubly imprisoned, in the prison of his body, due to the paralysis caused by his Israeli interrogators. Other detainees in the facility try to help him as much as they can, they try to make things easier for him, but none of the other detainees are trained in proper medical care, or know the correct techniques for dealing with a paralyzed person. They try to help, but all detainees in Israeli detention have their own difficulties, as they have all been deprived of basic rights guaranteed by the International Law – such as the right to a fair trial and representation.
Israel does not regard the Palestinian or Arab detainees as prisoners of war, and practices all sorts of violations against them. They do not receive proper medical treatment, proper food, their rooms are filled with humidity, they do not have proper ventilation and in most cases their cells are filled with cockroaches and bugs.
Sick detainees have to suffer even more than others; detainees with disabilities or chronic diseases are not provided with the basic necessities and requirements that will enable them to survive. They are left to their own devices to face their destiny, a destiny forced on them by their prosecutors and jailers.