Rights group condemns Israeli torture

Hundreds of Palestinians were tortured by Israel’s internal security service in the first six months of 2003, many more than in previous years, according to the Public Committee Against Torture.

    Handcuffed and blindfolded, Palestinian detainees are tortured, says report

    The rights group accuses Shin Bet of using a variety of violent methods including hitting, kicking and shaking suspects.

     

    But the report additionally details use of sleep deprivation, threats, humiliation, isolation and exposure to extremes of cold and heat.

     

    Justifying the use of term "torture" under criteria established by international law, the report’s authors charge Israeli authorities such as the High Court and the attorney general with failing to discharge their responsibilities.

     

    No petitions accepted

     

    The High Court has rejected 124 petitions this year demanding Palestinian suspects be allowed to confer with their legal representatives, the report observes.

     

    Meggido jail: scene of major riots
    last week over conditions

    The writers also claim the State Prosecutor’s Office entrusts Shin Bet with the right to review complaints lodged against it by detainees.

     

    This self-policing has unsurprisingly not led to a single interrogator being reprimanded or disciplined – despite hundreds of complaints.

     

    Evidence

     

    Of 48 released detainee statements published in the report, over half complained of sleep deprivation, nearly two thirds suffered direct violence and 90% said their hands were tied behind their backs for prolonged periods of time.

     

    The report concludes with a denunciation of what it calls a moral decline in Israel and its consistent violation of democratic norms, calling on the government to comply fully with international laws.

     

    But a spokesman for Israel’s High Court rejected the findings, stressing that prevention of a right to legal counsel does not necessarily mean interrogators use torture.

     

    The spokesman also said judges require Shin Bet to furnish detailed reasons for preventing suspects from conferring with their legal representatives.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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