Palestinians compensated over torture claims
Israel transfers NIS 2.4 million to 28 Palestinians after decade-long campaign demanding compensation from Ministry of Defense due to claims of torture by interrogators. Justice Ministry: It was decided that the final compensation figure paid to the prosecutors would save the expenses of going to trial
Israel has transferred NIS 2.4 million (about USD 520,000) to 28 Palestinians after a decade-long campaign demanding compensation from the Ministry of Defense due to claims of torture by interrogators.
"In one case, a Palestinian lost his testicles due to beatings he received during interrogations," said lawyer Bishara Jabali, who handled the legal campaign with his colleague Dan Assan.
"Although the State did not admit in the agreement that the Palestinians were indeed tortured, there's no doubt that the payment of compensation is a form of silent agreement," said Jabali.
Between 1996 and 1997, a group of Palestinians, residents of the West Bank, demanded compensations based on torture claims against Shin Bet and IDF interrogators, as well as against the State of Israel.
The legal process took place in the Tel Aviv District Court.
The Palestinians claimed they were tortured through shakings, being tied up in painful positions, being forced to crouch for a long time, the placing of a sack over their head, and sleep deprivation. These methods were allowed but have been banned in the meantime by the High Court.
Jabali said some of those demanding compensation claimed that they were tortured in more extreme ways, such as severe beatings, threats of severe violence, the withholding of food and drink, not being allowed access to a bathroom or shower, threats of imprisonment and harming family members, denial of medical treatment, or being locked in a tiny cell with cold air being pumped in.
The State has always denied these accusations.
'I slept with your wife'
"The Palestinians described torture weapons which caused them severe physical and psychological damage," he said.
Hassin Zayid, 17, of Qalqiliya, was arrested for suspicion of throwing Molotov cocktails. He said he was tortured with much violence, with tear gas thrown during his interrogation, being handcuffed to the ceiling while his body hung in the air, being beaten with a water pipe and a club, being shaken, and being withheld water and food.
The military court ruled he was not fit to stand trial and ordered his immediate release into a psychiatric hospital.
Ahmed Marai claimed that his interrogators placed pornographic photographs in front of him and spoke about the images as if they were his daughters and wife. Another arrestee was brought in and forced to tell Ahmed: I'll screw your daughter; I slept with your wife.
After collapsing and being unable to stand, the interrogator forced Ahmed to his feet, forcibly opened his mouth and spat in it. He then placed his finger in his pants, and "cleaned" it in the prisoner's mouth.
Lawyers for the Palestinians said the compensation funds would be used to provide physical and psychological treatment.
The Ministry of Justice said in response that the contents of the claims were never discussed.
"In entire accordance with the State's desire to reach an agreement, it was decided that the final compensation figure paid to the prosecutors would save the expenses of going to trial and reaching a final verdict. In light of the agreement that was reached, the prosecutors asked the court that their suit against the State be deferred, and the court answered their request," said a statement from the Ministry.