Israel resumes isolation of PFLP leader

Standard

October 27, 2011

Israeli prison guards stand at the entrance to Ketziot prison in southern Israel, ahead of a prisoner swap on Oct. 18. (Reuters/Yehuda Lachiani/Maariv)

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — The Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association said Thursday that an Israeli court in Beersheva decided to extend the isolation of Popular Front secretary-general Ahmad Saadat for a year.

The association added that the court ruled on secret documents that were presented by the Shin Beit which were released on August 8. Thus, the decision to extend his detention was made before the prisoners strike.

The association also said that Saadat was present in the court without his lawyers.

The court decision is the opposite of what the prison administration had reportedly promised the prisoners. They were to end isolation and other policies following the hunger strike, according to the association.

Saadat was recently taken to hospital in Ramle prison as his health deteriorated after the hunger strike. Saadat’s family has not been allowed to visit him since March 2009, according to the prisoners rights group.

The Israeli prison administration has not fulfilled its commitment to stop holding Palestinian prisoners in solitary confinement, the ministry of prisoner affairs in Ramallah said Wednesday.

Around 20 detainees are still in isolation despite Israel’s pledge to end the practice following a 3-week mass hunger strike in jails across Israel to protest the policy, the ministry said in a statement.

Prisoners suspended the strike on Oct. 17 after they said Israel had announced it would meet the strikers’ key demand.

Israel promised that detainees would be released from isolation immediately after 477 prisoners were released in a swap deal to free captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on Oct. 18, minister of detainees affairs Issa Qaraqe said, announcing the agreement.

Some prisoners who remain in solitary confinement have been in isolation cells for many years, including Hassan Salama, Ahmad al-Mughrabi, Abdullah al-Barghouthi and Saadat, the ministry noted.

The UN special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez told a UN General Assembly panel last week that all governments should ban solitary confinement except in extreme circumstances.

“Segregation, isolation, separation, cellular, lockdown, Supermax, the hole … whatever the name, solitary confinement should be banned by states as a punishment or extortion technique,” he said.

He also said indefinite and prolonged solitary confinement in excess of 15 days should be ended, citing studies that have established that lasting mental damage is caused after a few days of isolation.

“Considering the severe mental pain or suffering solitary confinement may cause, it can amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment when used as a punishment, during pre-trial detention, indefinitely or for a prolonged period, for persons with mental disabilities or juveniles,” he said.

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