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Palestinian women detained by Israel threaten to launch protest against ill treatment

Aug. 18, 2016 7:49 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 27, 2016 4:53 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Dozens of Palestinian female prisoners held in the Israeli prison of HaSharon have threatened to start protests over the Israel Prison Service’s (IPS) ill treatment of their relatives during family visitations, the Palestine Prisoners' Center for Studies (PPCS) said on Thursday.

PPCS spokesman Riyad al-Ashqar said that IPS had shortened family visits and mistreated the prisoners’ relatives, forcing them to undergo fully nude strip searches.

Prominent prisoner Lina al-Jarbouni reported stated on behalf of all 42 female prisoners in HaSharon that they would start a protest movement so long as IPS kept their families waiting for hours in the sun before letting them inside the visitation hall, forced them to experience humiliating strip searches, manipulates visitation schedules, and forbade their relatives from bringing them clothing and personal belongings.

Al-Ashqar said that IPS personnel was also harshly repressing the women and girls detained in the prison.

“Israeli prison service has been escalating tension in HaSharon prison recently, as many female prisoners gave testimonies of constant raids of their cells, confiscation of personal belongings, imposition of fines, and bans on leaving their cells to go to the prison courtyard,” al-Ashqar said.

He added that many female prisoners had been denied family visitations, noting the case of 19-year-old Qalqiliya native Ansam Abd al-Nasser Shawahneh, who has been detained for five months without her family being allowed to visit her.

PPCS called on international women’s right organizations to shed light on the issues facing Palestinian female prisoners and to protect them against Israeli crimes by applying international law.

Earlier this month, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs reported that 41 female Palestinians, including 12 minors, were being held in HaSharon.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, some 10,000 Palestinian women and girls have been detained by Israeli forces over the past 45 years. In 2015 alone, Israeli forces detained 106 Palestinian women and girls, which according to the group represented a 70 percent increase compared to detention numbers in 2013.

Since a wave of political unrest spread across the occupied Palestinian territory in October, leading to Israeli forces carrying out mass detention campaigns, the number of Palestinian women and girls detained by Israeli forces has risen sharply.

Many of the women detained during this time period have been accused of “incitement” for posts on social media in support of Palestinian resistance, with PPCS estimating in May that 28 Palestinian women were detained on such charges.

Addameer has reported on the treatment of Palestinian women prisoners by Israeli prison authorities, stating that the majority of Palestinian women detainees were subjected to "psychological torture" and "ill-treatment" by Israeli authorities, including "various forms of sexual violence that occur such as beatings, insults, threats, body searches, and sexually explicit harassment.”

According to the prisoners rights group, out of 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons in July, 62 were women.

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