Palestinian prisoners have been abused in a systematic manner during interrogations by Israeli internal spying service, Shin Bet, two Israeli rights groups say.
B’Tselem and Hamoked on Wednesday published a report detailing the abuses based on interviews with 116 Palestinians who were interrogated at Israel’s Shikma prison between August 2013 and March 2014.
The 70-page report, entitled “Backed by the System”, said the Palestinians’ accounts revealed “unlawful conduct by the authorities.”
“The descriptions bear a striking resemblance to accounts previously provided by detainees held at other interrogation facilities. Taken together, it would seem that this conduct constitutes official interrogation policy,” the report also said.
The report further noted that Shin Bet agents employed practices such as sleep deprivation for long periods, exposing detainees to extreme heat and cold as well as bounding prisoners’ hands and feet to chairs for hours.
The rights groups concluded that the Shin Bet had tortured the Palestinian detainees, saying, “Being denied the possibility to shower or change clothes for days and even weeks; incarceration in a small, foul-smelling cell, usually in solitary confinement, for many days…are some of the standard features.”
More than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly in Israeli jails, including those under administrative detention.
On February 19, the Palestinian Prisoners Club said that more than 700 Palestinians were held under Israel’s administrative detention law. The organization attributed the rise in the number of Palestinians held by Israel without charge or trial to the new wave of violence which began in October 2015.
Since the start of October 2015, some 181 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in what is regarded as the third Palestinian Intifada (uprising).
Tensions heightened in the Palestinian territories in August 2015, when Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
The Palestinians say the Tel Aviv regime seeks to change the status quo of the holy Muslim site.