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Photo: Oren Agmon
Court taking its time (illustration)
Photo: Oren Agmon
Petition: Shin Bet investigators abused prisoner
Palestinian youngster detained since March claims investigators put out cigarettes on his body. Petitions by two human rights groups to send physician granted only after Ynet query
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) and The Public Committee against Torture in Israel petitioned the Tel Aviv Administrative Court on Wednesday, demanding an urgent court order allowing their physician to visit a minor Palestinian detainee at the Sharon Prison.

 

The young man claimed he was tortured during his stay in the prison, and that cigarettes were put out on his body.

 

PHR was given permission by the Israel Prison Service o send a doctor to visit the minor and check whether or not he had been abused, only after an official query was made by Ynet.

 

The 17-year-old boy was arrested by IDF forces in the West Bank in early March. He reported the incidents to his attorney in May, alleging he was severely abused both while in custody and during his stay at the Kishon detention facility.

 

According to his deposition, he was handcuffed, blindfolded and put in a military jeep, where he was thrown around the vehicle walls by the soldiers.

 

After being left out in poring rain for two hours, he was transferred to the Salam detention facility, where he spent a few hours before being transferred again, to the Kishon detention facility.

 

Questioned from dusk to dawn

The young man further claimed he was held in solitary confinement for a week, while being questioned from dusk to dawn, with his hands and feet in chained.

 

He went on to describe one incident, during the first few days he was imprisoned, saying when he failed to give the investigator information, the latter threw a cup of coffee in his face.

 

In another incident, he said he cussed his investigators, and they proceeded to chain him to his chair, handcuff him, put cigarettes out on his hands and feet, and beat him. The young man's attorney verified the existence of burn marks on his body.

 

After being placed in the Sharon Prison, the young man – via his family – contacted The Public Committee against Torture in Israel and reported the abuse. They approached PHR, which than asked to examine the youngster.

 

'Prison service stalling'

An official request was made to the prisoners' officer at the Sharon Prison, asking that a doctor, accompanied by an attorney who will observe the youngster's rights, be allowed to meet and examine the prisoner.

 

PHR also requested they be allowed to bring a camera and document the session and abuse marks – should any be found. Anat Litwin, PHR representative for the case, said the prison took its time in granting the request.

 

"They kept telling us the matter was under advisement, and just kept stalling… we didn't think there would be any security problem, but we were denied access."

 

On May 31, and after the Prison Service failed to comply with PHR request, they petitioned, along with The Public Committee against Torture in Israel, for a court order compelling the prison service to allow their physician's visit, but the court has yet to reply.

 

"As time goes by," said Litwin, "the signs of abuse are fading, making it harder to affirm the allegations."

 

Following Ynet's interest in the case, a PHR doctor was allowed to visit the youngster.

 

"Anything that might have happened to the minor in question during his arrest is the Shin Bet's responsibility," a source in the Prison Service told Ynet Wednesday.

 

"As for the requests to allow a visit by a private physician with a camera and an attorney, the request for a private physician was granted. He could not be accompanied by an attorney and a camera. That constitutes a separate visit."

 

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