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Palestinian prisoners recount their mistreatment in Israeli custody

July 4, 2017 5:53 P.M. (Updated: July 4, 2017 5:54 P.M.)
An Israeli soldier stands guard as others ID three Palestinians on March 21, 2017, in the city of Hebron (Christian Peacemaker Teams)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- After recently being released from Israeli prison, three Palestinians, including a minor, have reported being mistreated and assaulted by Israeli authorities, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said on Tuesday.

Mujahid Abu Jad, 23, from the town of Silwad in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, gave testimony of his detention to the committee, which started when Israeli soldiers raided his family home at 2 a.m.

He said he was forced to walk handcuffed and blindfolded to a location near his home, and that over the course of the arrest, soldiers violently beat him, kicked him, and hit him with the butts of their rifles, later pouring cold water on him.

Abu Jad was then taken to Ofer detention center near Ramallah where he was interrogated. He told the committee that his Israeli interrogators threatened him and screamed at him "using abusive language."

Anas Ibayat, 25, from the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, reported that he was detained upon arriving to Israel’s detention center in the illegal Gush Etzion settlement, after being ordered to appear for questioning with Israeli military intelligence.

While inside the interrogation room, Israeli forces yelled and shouted profanities at him to get him to confess to charges, he told the committee.

After several hours of interrogation, he was taken to Ofer prison.

Another released prisoner, 17-year-old Yasser Deriya from the village of Beit Fajjar in the Bethlehem area, said Israeli forces raided his family home at 2 a.m., handcuffed and blindfolded him, before taking to Gush Etzion, where he was held until the following afternoon without being allowed to eat or drink.

He was then taken to Ofer prison for further interrogation.

Human rights organizations have long denounced the mistreatment of Palestinians, including children, at the hands of Israeli forces.

According to a recent report from Military Court Watch (MCW) based on testimonies from 127 children detained by the military in 2016, 53 percent of Palestinian children reported being arrested between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., and 2 percent of children reported being served with a summons as an alternative to night arrest.

The vast majority of child detainees -- 94 percent -- reported being hand tied, 81 percent of children reported being blindfolded or hooded, and 64 percent of children reported being subjected to various forms of physical abuse.

The majority of Palestinian children interviewed by MCW -- 84 percent -- said they were not informed of their right to silence and 88 percent of children said they were denied access to a lawyer prior to questioning.

An overwhelming 94 percent of children reported that they were not accompanied by a parent throughout their interrogation.

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