In 1987, Mukhlas Burgal was sentenced to life in prison for throwing a bomb that failed to detonate at a bus full of Israeli soldiers. Since his release in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, Mukhlas has opened a library, and heads several educational projects in his hometown of Lyd ("Lod" in Hebrew, "Lydda" in English). Three years after his release, he discusses his membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the torturous interrogations of the Shin Bet, his time in prison and his new life. By Rami Younis "Have you heard of 'Iskot' cigarettes? Mukhlas Burgal…Read More...
How can signs of deliberate physical injury be detected years after they were caused? What are the physical and psychological ramifications of torture for its victims? How can we cope with the moral dilemmas raised by treating captives and prisoners? Physicians who attended the first workshop in Israel devoted to locating and treating torture victims share their insights. By Einat Fishbain / 'The Hottest Place in Hell' (www.ha-makom.co.il) This article first appeared in Hebrew here. “I must admit that the issue of torture kind of passed me by,” says Dr. Revital Arbel, a senior gynecologist at a hospital in Jerusalem. “It…Read More... | 12 Comments
It has been five years since President Barack Obama promised to close the notorious Guantanamo Bay detention center - and yet 155 prisoners remain imprisoned under harsh conditions. By Chen Liraz Five years ago yesterday, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The facility has not closed, and as of today, 155 detainees are still imprisoned there. So what's the story? Established in January 2002 following the September 11th attacks, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp has become a large holding facility for hundreds of people. Detainees there were captured as part of the notorious "War on…Read More... | 1 Comment
Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem is laying the blame on Israel's police for ignoring the systematic abuse and violations of Palestinian minors’ rights during interrogations. The organization has received dozens of complaints by Palestinian residents under the age of 18 who have been beaten and threatened during interrogations in Etzion police station, which is in charge of the Hebron and Bethlehem areas. Many of those minors and their families were afraid or reluctant to press formal charges. According to B’Tselem, some of the events described included torture. Once defendants admit to breaking the law (usually stone throwing), the beating and…Read More... | 9 Comments
With a political process that consistently demands peace without justice, Palestinian children living in the occupied territories have been denied justice at almost every turn. By Brad Parker Israel seldom holds its officials and individual perpetrators accountable for violations of Palestinian human rights, particularly against children. The resulting impunity grants Israeli forces a license to expand, rather than curb, violations systemic to Israel’s 46-year-old military occupation. Just last week, five-year-old Wadi’a Maswadeh, a Palestinian boy from the West Bank city of Hebron, was detained for nearly two hours after reportedly throwing a stone at a passing Israeli settler car. Notwithstanding…Read More...
Zabib Sultan, an asylum seeker from Eritrea who heads the Eritrean Women's Community Center, shares a shocking testimony about her and other women's experiences on their way to Israel. She gave her testimony during a meeting organized by Amnesty International and the ASAF NGO on May 23, 2013.Read More... | 32 Comments
Findings by a Palestinian human rights group paint a grim picture of imprisonment and torture under both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas regimes. One guest blogger holds that despite the Israeli occupation, these political groups can no longer act with impunity under the guise of liberators. By Talal Alyan “The image before the return of the PLO was the image of the freedom fighter/ Now here is that same freedom fighter (chained with the conditions of his enemies), exercising his direct authority on the ordinary citizen, on the old men, on the students.” - Mourid Barghouti Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces recently…Read More... | 18 Comments
It is clear that through its decision to leave the asylum seeker in custody, the court refused to recognized his particular situation. Thus, it rejected the possibility that will forever remain open before us: the possibility - which is both an obligation and a right -- to discover compassion. By Asaf Weitzen Judge Eliyahu Beitan of the Be'er Sheva District Court recently handed down a decision on an appeal filed by Raya Meiler of the Hotline for Migrant Workers, ordering the continued detainment of an Eritrean asylum seeker, despite him being recognized as a victim of severe torture. Among the explanations…Read More... | 9 Comments
"Revenge of the agonized killers" would have been a more appropriate title. Sometime in the late 1960s, Israeli cinema stopped producing heroic war stories – the kind of action or drama movies where the protagonist serves his country, noble against a powerful and cruel enemy. The quantity of other such works of fiction – in literature, for example – dropped as well. Which, when you think about it, is kind of weird for a country that has a war every few years and needs to reinforce its own ethos. Instead, Israeli popular culture started producing a different genre – that…Read More... | 39 Comments
A new Human Rights Watch report details severe human rights violations in the criminal justice system of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, including arbitrary detention and torture. Several cases detail executions based on confessions obtained through torture. Prisoners are often refused access to a lawyer, abusive security officials are said to enjoy impunity, and families of prisoners often don't know of their relatives' whereabouts. The 43-page report includes testimonies from victims, families, representative of the criminal justice system, and Palestinian human rights organizations. Abusive System: Failures of Criminal Justice in Gaza (Human Rights Watch) Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting…Read More... | 2 Comments
In honor of International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Israel Social TV prepared a special edition in cooperation with the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. Watch to learn about methods of physical and psychological torture that are common in Israel and the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators. Related: High Court upholds flawed procedure on torture investigations Knesset extends legislation that facilitates tortureRead More... | 1 Comment
The High Court of Justice upheld the procedure regarding complaints of torture against Shin Bet agents, despite the fact that this procedure resulted in no investigations after nearly 600 complaints The High Court of Justice has upheld a controversial procedure governing investigations into allegations of abuse and torture against employees of Israel’s General Security Service, better known as the Shin Bet. According to this procedure, all complaints, usually filed by Palestinians who the Shin Bet detained and interrogated on suspicion of terrorism, are first examined by a Shin Bet official, working under the professional supervision of the Attorney General’s Office. This examination…Read More... | 21 Comments
The Knesset has extended temporary legislation under which interrogations of security prisoners are exempt from requirements to visually record the investigation, Haaretz recently reported. The security establishment pushed hard to make the law permanent; Haaretz reports that opposition by two of the democratic-leaning Likud members, Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan, as well as human rights organizations like ACRI resulted in the compromise of a temporary extension. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel wrote in a statement that: In security-related offenses, full documentation is all the more necessary. This, both because of the increased concern for wrongful pressure in such…Read More... | 2 Comments
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