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A report released today by two Israeli human rights organizations (B'Tselem and HaMoked) charges Shin Bet security service in regularly torturing almost all Palestinian detainees. Despite Israel High Court of Justice ruling from 1999 limiting the use of force in investigations, B'Tselem and HaMoked reported torture methods includes beating, painful binding, back bending, body stretching and prolonged sleep deprivation.

According to the report, despite the ruling, prisoners are shackled to chairs in painful positions for protracted periods of time and subjected to humiliation, swearing and threats by the interrogators.

Despite more than 500 complaints have been filed since 2001, no criminal investigations have been opened against the Shin Bet by the 'Justice' system. It makes one wonder what type of Justice system did Israel adopt. The report also indicates that interrogators who abused interrogees in "ticking bomb" situations may be exempted from criminal liability. The exception was made in this case so that interrogation could prevent a terror attack planned to take place immediately. However, again, how many "exceptions" were made is a number that I leave for your imagination since Israel consider all Palestinians as terrorists and possible "ticking bomb."

The report identified seven "Routine Ill-treatment" and seven "special" kinds of torture. The key aspect of the "Routine Ill-treatment" is to harm, to varying degrees, the dignity and bodily integrity of the detainees. The combined exercise of these aspects last an average of 35 days. Not less Ill-treatmen, the "special" methods mostly involve direct physical violence.

The seven "Routine Ill-treatment" methods include: 1) isolation from the outside world; 2) holding in solitary confinement and in putrid, stifling cells; 3) preventing physical activity such as sleep disturbance and inadequate food supply; 4) painful binding of the detainee's hands and feet to a chair; 5) cursing and humiliation, strip searches, shouting, spitting etc.; 6) threat of physical torture, arrest of family members, etc.; and 7) the use of informants to extract information (the report clarifies that the last method is legitimate, but is dependant on use of more abusive practices).

The other identified seven "special" methods of torture includes: 1) deprivation of sleep; 2) "Dry" beatings; 3) painful tightening of handcuffs, sometimes while cutting off blood flow; 4) sudden pulling of the body while causing pain in the hand joints which are cuffed to the chair; 5) sudden tilting of the head sideways or backwards; 6) the "frog" crouch (forcing the detainees to crouch on tiptoes) accompanied by shoving; 7) The "banana" position - bending the back of the interrogee in an arch while he is seated on a backless chair.

"These practices are clearly classified as torture under International Law, and are neither common nor negligible," the report states.

While the international law is clear in prohibiting ill-treatment and torture, and it allows for no extenuating circumstances, the Israeli justice ministry quoted saying:

"The role of the Shin Beth is to ensure state security and to prevent illegal activities. To achieve these goals, it interrogates people suspected of terrorist activities."

One can wonder; how can you expect to "prevent illegal activities" if you are practicing "illegal activities"?

Among other recommendations, the report advises that the same laws be applied to Palestinian detainees as for Israelis, and it urges that those who allegedly abused the rights of Palestinian prisoners be brought to justice. But...

In my previous diary, some said that "hearing the individual stories is critical for Americans to understand what the reality of the Occupation is." Many readers confirmed that and I agree. However, some testimonies and real stories are very hard to digest and more disturbing to hear and watch than Nadia's story. My apology in advance, for following videos might expose real painful testimonies and scenes than one can stand.

The following are part II and III of a three parts video (15-minute total. Part I can be found here) in which you hear some testimonies of Palestinian prisoners tortured in Israel.

Captured Prisoners: the Whole Story, Part II

Captured Prisoners: the Whole Story, Part III

Finally, the following infamous video is one of its kind which documented torture of some Palestinian youths during the first Intifada.

Warning: This video contain 'violent content' that is inappropriate for some users, as flagged by YouTube's user community.

Since we are talking about prisoners, it is noteworthy that while one Israeli is being held prisoner by Palestinians, 10,756 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel. (Source: If Americans Knew)

Cross posted at Sabbah's Blog

Originally posted to Sabbah on Sun May 06, 2007 at 12:25 PM PDT.

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