Amnesty says Pales­tinian woman tor­tured in PA prison

The Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By KHALED ABU TOAMEH

Amnesty In­ter­na­tional on Thurs­day called on the Pales­tinian Author­ity to in­ves­ti­gate the al­leged tor­ture and ill-treat­ment of Suha Jbara, a Pales­tinian mother of three, who is be­ing held in a PA prison in Jeri­cho.

Jbara, who is a US and Pana­ma­nian cit­i­zen, was ar­rested by the PA se­cu­rity forces dur­ing a raid on her home in a vil­lage north of Ra­mal­lah on Novem­ber 3.

She is sus­pected of in­volve­ment with Is­lamic char­i­ties that pro­vide fi­nan­cial aid to fam­i­lies of Pales­tini­ans killed or im­pris­oned by Is­rael.

In a state­ment, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional quoted Jbara as say­ing she had been beaten, slammed against a wall, and threat­ened with sex­ual vi­o­lence by her Pales­tinian in­ter­roga­tors.

On De­cem­ber 4, Jbara met with Amnesty, telling a rep­re­sen­ta­tive about her or­deals in prison. She also told the or­ga­ni­za­tion she had suf­fered re­lent­less ha­rass­ment from of­fi­cials to end a hunger strike she be­gan on Novem­ber 22 in protest of her de­ten­tion and tor­ture.

“Suha Jbara has de­scribed her tor­ture in har­row­ing de­tail. In her tes­ti­mony she gives an ac­count of ruth­less in­ter­roga­tors who have shame­lessly flouted Pales­tine’s obli­ga­tions to treat pris­on­ers hu­manely and vi­o­lated the ab­so­lute pro­hi­bi­tion un­der in­ter­na­tional law of tor­ture and other cruel, in­hu­man or de­grad­ing treat­ment,” said Saleh Higazi, deputy di­rec­tor for the Mid­dle East and North Africa at Amnesty In­ter­na­tional.

“The Pales­tinian author­i­ties must ur­gently carry out an in­de­pen­dent and impartial in­ves­ti­ga­tion into th­ese al­le­ga­tions. Any of­fi­cials iden­ti­fied as re­spon­si­ble must be im­me­di­ately sus­pended, pros­e­cuted and brought to jus­tice.”

Jbara de­scribed to Amnesty In­ter­na­tional how, upon her ar­rest, she had a seizure and lost con­scious­ness and was taken to hos­pi­tal. How­ever, armed se­cu­rity of­fi­cials later dragged her out of her hos­pi­tal bed, bare­foot, and trans­ferred her to the PA prison in Jeri­cho.

“I was in bed with tubes in my arms when I clearly re­mem­ber armed men came into the room,” she said. “The armed men took off the tubes and dragged me out. I was feel­ing very weak and could barely move or talk. They put me in a mini­van and I slept on the floor. I woke up in an­other place and they said to me, ‘Wel­come to the Jeri­cho slaugh­ter­house.’”

She told Amnesty In­ter­na­tional that a male in­ter­roga­tor threw wa­ter in her face when she asked for a drink, slapped her, punched her in the chest and in the back, and threat­ened her with fur­ther vi­o­lence. She was blind­folded and hand­cuffed through­out her in­ter­ro­ga­tion and was not al­lowed to drink wa­ter or use the toi­let, Jbara said.

“He in­sulted me all the time, used very dirty and vi­o­lent sex­ual lan­guage, threat­ened to bring a doc­tor to look into my vir­gin­ity and say that I was a whore, and threat­ened to hurt my fam­ily and to take my kids away from me,” she said.

She was de­nied ac­cess to a lawyer dur­ing in­ter­ro­ga­tion, and was not al­lowed to read her tes­ti­mony be­fore sign­ing it, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional said. It called on in­ter­na­tional donors to re­view their as­sis­tance to PA se­cu­rity forces to en­sure that they are not fa­cil­i­tat­ing hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions.

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