According to a report released on Tuesday by the Israeli rights groups B’Tselem and Hamoked, Palestinians detained for questioning by Tel Aviv’s security services Shin Bet are held in unsatisfactory conditions, and often suffer abuse.Ha’aretz reported that the enquiry conducted by the rights groups reveals that complaints had been filed by 645 detainees over the nature of their incarceration and/or interrogation, none of which had led to a criminal investigation by the Israeli regime.
The report is based on interviews with 121 Palestinians detained in the Israeli intelligence agency’s Petah Tikva detention center last year. Among the respondents, there were four women –one of whom age 63 years old- and 18 minors. Nearly of them said they had been held up at early morning time and were refused to take personal belongings with them. Some reported having been denied the chance to get dressed or put on their shoes.
According to a quarter of the interviewees, damage had been caused to their homes during their arrest, and a third said that violence had been used against them during questioning. Three-quarters of them were reportedly held in solitary confinement, in small cells with no windows and with a bright light kept on all times, and putrid smells originated from the bathrooms.
The respondents also said they were prevented from cleaning the cells or changing dirty mattresses, and were not allowed to know the time of the day. Furthermore, they reported having been tied to a metal chair for hours during the interrogation and only permitted to take short bathroom and meal breaks. Half of the detainees stated they had been forced into confessing in exchange for leaving solitary confinement or making phone calls to their families.
Hila Tene-Gilad, a lawyer in the Justice Ministry’s department for international agreements and litigation, commented the report ‘makes general, baseless assertions, some of which are extremely grave.’ She said ministry officials regularly visit Shin Bet’s detention facilities reporting that interrogations are carried out by legal standards and under the appropriate legal bodies, and that detainees have the right to file complaints over inappropriate or illegal treatment.
Every year, hundreds of detainees are taken to the Petah Tikva prison for questioning. Some of them are transferred to Shin Bet prisons, after their interrogation, to await legal proceedings while others are released without charges filed against them.