February 4, 2014, Head of the Census Department at the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees, Abdul-Nasser Ferwana, said that Israel is currently holding captive around 4,800 Palestinians in seventeen prisons, detention and interrogation centers.Ferwana said that around 11,034 Palestinians, including 2,500 children, have been taken prisoner by the Israeli army over the last three years, during ongoing Israeli military invasions and violations in occupied Palestine.
The official stated that the soldiers kidnapped and detained more than 10,000 Palestinian children since the beginning of the al-Aqsa Intifada, in late September 2000.
“The arrests violate International Humanitarian Law”, Ferwana said, “The violent way those arrests are carried out, interrogation, torture, and harsh conditions in prisons… all are serious violations”.
“Right now, we have more than 4,800 Palestinians behind bars, more of them have been taken prisoner during the al-Aqsa Intifada”, he said. “They are held in 17 prisons, and detention centers; there are also 17 female detainees still imprisoned, the longest serving is Lina al-Jarbouni; she was taken prisoner 12 years ago, and was sentenced to 17 years”.
Ferwana further stated that Israel is still holding captive 150 detainees, under arbitrary Administrative Detention orders, without charges or trial, and is also holding captive 12 elected legislators, including a former minister of local government.
Israel also kidnapped and imprisoned more than sixty legislators and former ministers over the last ten years. Most of them are held under Administrative Detention orders.
As for detainees who are serving life terms, Ferwana stated that 474 detainees are serving a minimum of one life term, and that detainee Abdullah Barghouthi was sentenced to 67 life terms, and an additional 250 years imprisonment.
The official further said that the number of detainees, held by Israel since before the Palestinian Authority was established on May 4, 1993, currently stands at 30, including 15 who have been were taken prisoners more than 25 years ago.
The oldest serving detainee is Karim Younis, from historic Palestine; he was taken prisoner more than 31 years ago.
Ferwana also stated that Israel continues to deny ailing detainees the right to professional and specialized medical treatment, and said that there are 1,500 detainees suffering with various conditions, including cancer, while others completely lost their mobility and various bodily functions.
As for detainees who died after their arrest, Ferwana stated that 205 detainees have died since 1967. The causes of death range from excessive torture during interrogation to the lack of adequate medical treatment, and the excessive use of force.
The latest casualty is detainee Hasan Toraby, 22, from the northern West Bank city of Nablus, died of cancer at Al-‘Affoula Hospital after Israel failed to provide him with the needed medical treatment, and only moved him to hospital after having a very serious deterioration in his health condition.
Dozens of Palestinians died shortly after their release from prison due to health complications resulting from the lack and, in many cases, the absence of medical attention in Israeli prisons. Among them are detainees Morad Abu Sakout, Hayel Abu Zeid, Ashraf Abu Threi, Fayez Zeidat and Zakariyya Issa.
Ferwana called on media outlets to provide further coverage on the issue of the detainees, their suffering and the ongoing violations, including the mental and physical abuse they face in Israeli prisons.