Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Addameer

TORTURE and ABUSE , PRISONERS, and ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION of Palestinians in Israel occupied territories

FACTS & FIGURES –

PRISONERS

‘Israeli military justice authorities arbitrarily detained Palestinians who advocated non-violent protest against Israeli settlements and the route of the separation barrier.

In January,a military appeals court increased the prison sentence of Abdallah Abu Rahme, from the village of Bil’in, to 16 months in prison on charges of inciting violence and organizing illegal demonstrations, largely on the basis of coerced statements of children.’

  • According to the Israel Prison Service, there were about 4424 Palestinian prisoners and security detainees being held in Israeli prisons as of the end of April 2012. According to prisoners’ rights organization Addameer, there were 4653 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel as of May 1, 2012.
  • Since 1967, Israel has imprisoned upwards of 700,000 Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, or about 20% of the total population of the occupied territories.
  • Those who are charged are subjected to Israeli military courts that human rights organizations have criticized for failing to meet the minimum standards required for a fair trial.
  • According to Amnesty International’s 2011 Annual Report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: “Palestinians in the [occupied territories] subject to Israel’s military justice system continued to face a wide range of abuses of their right to a fair trial. They are routinely interrogated without a lawyer and, although they are civilians, are tried before military not ordinary courts.”
  • According to Human Rights Watch’s 2012 World Report:

– TORTURE & ABUSE –

  • Until 1999, the use of torture by Israeli military and security forces was both widespread and officially condoned under the euphemism of “moderate physical pressure.” Methods included beatings, forcing prisoners into painful physical positions for long periods of time, and sleep deprivation.
  • In 2000 it was revealed that between 1988 and 1992 Israel’s internal security force, the Shin Bet, had systematically tortured Palestinians during the first, mostly nonviolent, uprising against Israel’s occupation, using methods that went beyond what was allowable under government guidelines for “moderate physical pressure.”
  • These methods included violent shaking, tying prisoners into painful positions for long periods, subjecting them to extreme heat or cold, and severe beatings, including kicking. At least 10 Palestinians died and hundreds of others were maimed as a result.
  • In 1999, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the use of “moderate physical pressure” was illegal, however reports of torture and abuse of Palestinian prisoners continued unabated.
  • Amnesty International’s 2011 Annual Report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories states:

    Consistent allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, including of children, were frequently reported. Among the most commonly cited methods were beatings, threats to the detainee or their family, sleep deprivation, and being subjected to painful stress positions for long periods. Confessions allegedly obtained under duress were accepted as evidence in Israeli military and civilian courts.

  • Other abusive practices employed by Israel against Palestinian prisoners include the use of solitary confinement, denial of family visits, and forcing prisoners to live in unsanitary living conditions.
  • The harsh conditions endured by Palestinians in Israeli prisons prompted a series of hunger strikes, including a mass hunger strike by more than 1500 prisoners in early 2012 leading to some concessions from Israel. The concessions reportedly included an end to the use of solitary confinement as a punitive measure and allowing family visits for prisoners from Gaza.

– ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION –

  • Israel uses a procedure known as administrative detention to imprison Palestinians without charge or trial for months or even years. Administrative detention orders are normally issued for six-month periods, which can be extended indefinitely.
  • Administrative detention was first instituted by the British during the Mandate era in 1945, prior to the creation of Israel.
  • There are currently as of May 29, 2012, approximately 308 Palestinians being held in administrative detention.
  • Since 1967, some 100,000 administrative detention orders have been issued by Israel.
  • Although there are none currently being held in administrative detention, Israeli authorities have in the past used the procedure against Palestinian children as well as adults.
  • Israel’s frequent use of administrative detention has been condemned by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as Israeli human rights groups like B’Tselem.
  • An end to the use of administrative detention was one of the main demands of a recent wave of hunger strikes by Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
  • In May 2012, Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch implicitly admitted that Israel uses administrative detention for reasons other than stated urgent “security” concerns, urging authorities to “use it only if there’s a need.”

 

Bill Gates Foundation sells shares in Israeli prison contractor G4S

The Bill Gates Foundation appears to have responded to activist pressure over its investment in Israeli prison contractor G4S by selling some, if not all, of its shares in the company.

Stock exchange filings published yesterday show that the foundation’s stake has dropped below the 3 percent threshold above which holdings must be declared.

It is not known how many shares, if any, the Gates Foundation continues to hold, although that should become clear in the next few months when more detailed filings will be published.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation purchased a 3.17 percent stake in G4S for £110 million ($184 million) in June 2013, a move opposed by Palestinian and international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) groups due to the role that G4S plays in helping Israel run its prison system.

G4S has a contract with the Israeli Prison Service to supply and run security and management systems at six prisons where Palestinian political prisoners, including children, are routinely tortured.

In April, protests were held at the at Gates Foundation offices in London, Johannesburg and Seattle. A petition signed by more than 14,000 people called on the the Gates Foundation to divest from G4S because of its role in Israel’s prison service.

A statement signed by more than twenty Palestinian organizations and 130 international groups argued that its holdings in G4S meant that the Gates Foundation “is legitimizing and profiting from Israel’s use of torture and mass incarceration.”

“Pressure is starting to work”

“We are glad the pressure on the Gates Foundation to divest from G4S is starting to work. We urge the foundation to sell any remaining shares it still holds and release a public statement pledging not to invest in corporations profiting from Israel’s military occupation,” said Rafeef Ziadah, a campaigner with the British anti-poverty group War on Want and the Palestinian BDS National Committee.

G4S has already lost contracts worth millions of dollars. Trade unions, universities and other public bodies in Europe and South Africa have canceled many contracts with G4S over concerns about the firm’s role in Israel’s prison system.

Protests will take place outside the G4S shareholders meeting next Thursday (5 June), as they have the previous two years.

Gavan Kelly, advocacy director at Addameer, a Palestinian prisoner support and advocacy organization, said that the ongoing hunger strikes by Palestinian political prisoners underlined why the Gates Foundation’s investment appeared so outrageous.

“More than 125 Palestinian prisoners remain on hunger strike after more than 35 days to protest their detention without trial. It’s clear that G4S’s involvement in Israel’s prison system is incompatible with the Gates Foundation’s stated commitment to human rights and equality,” he said.

Harsh punishment

According to Addameer, more than 125 Palestinian prisoners went on hunger strike on 24 April to protest being held under administrative detention, a form of detention without trial where prisoners are not allowed to see the “evidence” held against them.

Visiting restrictions make it difficult to get exact figures but it is thought that the hunger strikes have since escalated and may now involve up to two hundred prisoners. The hunger strikes have now reached a critical moment as many prisoners have now gone 35 days without food.

More than 40 hunger strikers were yesterday transferred to a hospital due to their deteriorating health. Israel has responded to the continuation of the hunger strikes with harsh punishments, including isolating the hunger strikers from the rest of the prison population, the denial of family visits for four months, daily searches and beatings and restrictions on access to legal counsel.

A video from Addameer details the role that G4S plays in Israel’s abhorrent prison system:


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adonis49

adonis49

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