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Palestinian hunger striker details ‘physical and psychological’ torture in Israeli prison

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Palestinians are expressing outrage after hunger-striking prisoner Heba al-Labadi, 24, revealed new details surrounding her interrogation by Israeli forces and numerous torture tactics used on her in order to force her to end her strike.

Al-Labadi, a Palestinian-Jordanian national, was detained by Israeli forces on August 20th at the Allenby Bridge border crossing while she was traveling with her mother, on their way to attend a family wedding in the West Bank. She has been on a hunger strike in protest of her detention for 15 days.

According to Haaretz, her arrest was related to meetings she allegedly had with Hezbollah-affiliated individuals in Beirut while visiting her sister. Her lawyer clarified, however, that she met one time with an announcer from a Hezbollah-owned radio station.

Her case, along with several other young Palestinians of university-age arrested in recent weeks, has garnered lots of attention locally and on social media.

A second Jordanian national of Palestinian origin, identified by local media as Abdulrahman Marei, was reportedly arrested on September 2nd at the Allenby Bridge, also on his way to attend a wedding in the West Bank.

For the first 25 days of her arrest, al-Labadi was denied visitation from her lawyers, and was only transferred from an interrogation to a prison 32 days after her arrest.

On September 25, more than a month after she was arrested, Israeli authorities issued a six-month administrative detention order — with the possibility of renewal — against her, prompting her to begin her hunger strike.

Al-Labadi’s lawyers confirmed that she has lost some eight kilograms (around 17.5 pounds) of weight since starting her hunger strike, and has continued to refuse any food, vitamins, and salt, accepting to only drink water.

The widely condemned practice of administration detention, which allows for the indefinite detention of Palestinians without charge or trial, allows Israeli authorities to imprison individuals without ever informing them why.

Finally on October 3rd, al-Labadi’s lawyer Samer Simaan, was allowed to visit her. During the visit, al-Labadi spoke of the horrific conditions she is being held in in Israel’s Jalameh prison.

“After Hiba announced her hunger strike, she was transferred to isolation in Jalameh Prison, where she reports being abused and harassed by the prison guards attempting to make her end her hunger strike,” Adameer reported, recounting al-Labadi’s statements to her lawyer.

According to al-Labadi, Israeli guards enter her cell to search her every two hours, including throughout the night.

“Hiba’s isolation cell is filthy and has surveillance cameras,” Addameer said, adding that the cell has no windows, and is fitted instead with an air conditioning unit “meant to keep the cell cold.”

“There is nothing in the isolation cell except for one dirty sheet. Hiba is not allowed any yard time,” the group added.

Additionally, al-Labadi has not been able to shower since being transferred to Jalameh because the area where she is to shower is “completely exposed.”

Middle East Monitor, citing the PLO Prisoners’ Committee, reported that Israeli interrogators “got close to her body intentionally and used the dirtiest words to insult her,” citing accounts from al-Labadi.

She also reportedly told the committee that Israeli interrogators “insulted Islam and Christianity,” and “said that I am an extremist and told me that they had arrested my mother and sister and they would put me under renewable administrative detention for seven and a half years and then release me to the West Bank and put me under 24-hour surveillance.”

All of these conditions, including the lengthy interrogations and harassment by soldiers, the groups say, are meant to pressure al-Labadi into ending her hunger strike, which has been gaining increasing attention locally and internationally.

According to Haaretz, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry “delivered an official objection” to the Israeli ambassador in Amman demanding the release of both al-Labadi and Marei.

“Addameer holds the Occupation’s authorities fully responsible for the lives of detainee Hiba Al-Labadi and all of the hunger strikers,” the group said in a statement, adding that al-Labadi is one of six administrative detainees currently on hunger strike.

“The Occupation’s systematic and widespread use of administrative detention against Palestinians violates all applicable international conventions and covenants, and may amount to a war crime,” the group continued.

As of September, Addameer recorded 5,000 political prisoners being held in Israeli jails, including 43 women and 425 administrative detainees.

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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24 Responses

  1. Citizen on October 9, 2019, 3:50 pm

    Makes Kafka look like an abstract piker.

  2. Kay24 on October 9, 2019, 7:21 pm

    The “only” democracy in the Middle East showing how “democratic” they can be, as they continue to behave like nazis.

    • mondonut on October 9, 2019, 11:05 pm

      @Kay24 ….as they continue to behave like nazis.

      Absolutely correct. Because the defining characteristics of Nazi torture definitely included air conditioned cells, naughty language, and lack of freshly laundered linen.

      • eljay on October 10, 2019, 7:21 am

        … “Hiba’s isolation cell is filthy … and is fitted instead with an air conditioning unit “meant to keep the cell cold.”

        “There is nothing in the isolation cell except for one dirty sheet. … ”

        Additionally, al-Labadi has not been able to shower since being transferred to Jalameh because the area where she is to shower is “completely exposed.”

        Middle East Monitor, citing the PLO Prisoners’ Committee, reported that Israeli interrogators “got close to her body intentionally and used the dirtiest words to insult her,” citing accounts from al-Labadi. …

        || mon donut: … air conditioned cells, naughty language, and lack of freshly laundered linen. ||

        I think she was treated inappropriately. What do you think, donut?

        If you, too, think she was treated inappropriately, why would you mock her suffering?

        But if you think she was treated appropriately, do you think Jewish prisoners should be treated the same way?
        – If ‘yes’, why do you hate Jews so much?
        – If ‘no’, why are you such a hypocrite?

      • Talkback on October 10, 2019, 8:21 am

        So if the Nazis had provided air conditioned cells, naughty language and freshly laundered linen, they would’t have not acted like Nazis according to mondonut.

      • mondonut on October 10, 2019, 9:19 am

        @eljay, I think she was treated inappropriately.

        Inappropriate treatment = nazi torture?
        You are going to sign on to that nonsense?

      • eljay on October 10, 2019, 10:04 am

        || mon donut: @eljay, I think she was treated inappropriately.

        Inappropriate treatment = nazi torture?
        You are going to sign on to that nonsense? ||

        Nope. But you didn’t answer my question, so I’ll try again (using fewer words in the hope that you won’t get distracted):

        I think she was treated inappropriately. What do you think?

        If you think she was treated:
        – inappropriately, why would you mock her suffering?
        – appropriately, do you think Jewish prisoners should be treated the same way?

      • mondonut on October 10, 2019, 11:54 am

        @eljay Nope. But you didn’t answer my question,

        Thanks for agreeing with my original comment, but I have no intention of participating in another of your tangents. That said, it should be made clear I was not mocking Heda, I was mocking Kay24 and her never ending Nazi analogies.

      • genesto on October 10, 2019, 1:11 pm

        Mondo, you’re a self-deluding a**hole!!

        I spent 3 1/2 days in Israeli prison once and was kept up every night with constant interrogations and loud rants in Hebrew blasted into our cells with loudspeakers. After two days of this, I was so sleep deprived I became sick and had to see a prison doctor, who wasn’t at all happy about having to treat me.

        I suppose you’d say the prison authorities were just trying to provide useful information that I didn’t appreciate. Right?

        It must be very hard work, coming up with lame excuse after lame excuse for trying to explain away the crimes of your Zionist masters. I truly pity you!

      • eljay on October 10, 2019, 1:35 pm

        || mondonut: @eljay Nope. But you didn’t answer my question,

        Thanks for agreeing with my original comment … ||

        Your original comment was this:

        Because the defining characteristics of Nazi torture definitely included air conditioned cells, naughty language, and lack of freshly laundered linen.

        I did not and do not agree with that comment.

        || … but I have no intention of participating in another of your tangents. … ||

        It’s not a tangent – it’s a separate question directed to you. If you haven’t got the courtesy to answer it, at least have the courage to do so.

  3. Stephen Shenfield on October 10, 2019, 6:12 am

    I know the Israeli authorities act as though they have the right to do anything they like, but would anyone care to comment on any possible legal justification for a state to arrest a foreign national who has not as yet entered its territory on charges arising from acts also supposedly committed outside its territory. The assumption seems to be that all Palestinians, regardless of citizenship, belong to Israel and Israel can do whatever it likes with them.

    • Ismail on October 10, 2019, 8:31 am

      Bingo! Excellent point, thanks for pointing this out.

      Transnational jurisdiction, a fascist’s fantasy…

      • echinococcus on October 13, 2019, 12:29 am

        The Zionist propaganda drudge that calls himself “Mayhem” — all the Zionist program in one single name — this time goes full “Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?”

        I love it. The whole world watches the torture and assassination of Palestinian children happen in real time. Not the Zionists. They are told not to, lest it breaks their will.

    • Misterioso on October 10, 2019, 10:03 am

      @mondonut

      More bull crap and another example of you attempting to defend the indefensible!!

      A few examples of reality:

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/20/we-have-a-duty-to-help-the-children-of-palestine
      “We have a duty to help the children of Palestine” British teachers and lecturers, The Guardian, Nov. 20/18

      EXCERPT:
      “On the UN’s Universal Children’s Day – 20 November – teachers and lecturers urge the UK government to lobby for the release of child prisoners and an end to the mistreatment of children detained under military law

      “As teachers and lecturers, we feel strongly that today, on the UN’s Universal Children’s Day, we must call on our government to work with increased determination to achieve improved welfare for the children living in Palestine under occupation and in Gaza. On this day, we are reminded that we have a duty to advocate for children’s rights as set out in the declaration of the rights of the child, which was adopted in 1959, and the convention on the rights of the child, adopted in 1989.

      “We believe it is shameful that children live in fear, in particular the fear of being detained and imprisoned under military law.”

      Haaretz editorial, Oct 8/19: “Israel Must Put Boundaries on Torture…Of the 102 interrogees in whose name the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel has complained to the Justice Ministry over the past five years, 31 percent said they suffered physical violence. Double that number – 61 percent – complained of threats. Forty percent said they were tied in painful positions for a long time, and well over half – 66 percent – complained of sleep deprivation. A combination of some or all of these methods constitutes torture, which is forbidden by law.”

      https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-illegal-for-20-years-torture-of-palestinians-by-shin-bet-goes-on-1.7830759
      “Illegal for 20 Years, Torture of Palestinians by Shin Bet Goes On” Haaretz, Sept. 11/19 by Dr. Rachel Stroumsa

      Video: ‘Stone Cold Justice’ on Israel’s torture of Palestinian children

      “A film produced by a group of Australian journalists has sparked an international outcry against Israel after it explicitly detailed Tel Aviv’s use of torture against Palestinian children.

      “The film, titled ‘Stone Cold Justice’ documents how Palestinian children, who have been arrested and detained by Israeli forces, are subjected to physical abuse, torture and forced into false confessions and pushed into gathering intelligence on Palestinian activists. Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop has spoken out against Israeli’s use of torture stating that ‘I am deeply concerned by allegations of the mistreatment of Palestinian children,’ Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor has described the human rights abuses documented in the film as ‘intolerable.’ But rights groups have slammed this statement, saying that the Israelis are doing nothing to change Tel Aviv’s policy to torture Palestinian children.

      “Last year a report by the United Nations International Emergency Children’s Fund or UNICEF concluded that Palestinian children are often targeted in night arrests and raids of their homes, threatened with death and subjected to physical violence, solitary confinement and sexual assault. The film Stone Cold Justice has sparked an international outcry about Israel’s treatment of children in Israeli jails. However, rights groups have criticized Tel Aviv for not doing anything to create a policy that protects Palestinian children against arbitrary arrest and torture.”

      Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uDPeeD_RPk
      “Precarious Childhood: Arrests of Jerusalemite Children”

      “This film addresses the process of arrest, interrogation, and the policy of house arrest and their effects on children. The film provides accounts of children who were arrested in order to highlight a larger policy of persecution and targeting of Palestinian children in Jerusalem.”

      • mondonut on October 10, 2019, 11:24 am

        @Misterioso, More bull crap and another example of you attempting to defend the indefensible!!

        Air conditioned cells are indefensible?

      • Talkback on October 12, 2019, 5:44 am

        mondonut: “Air conditioned cells are indefensible?”

        What a truly sick question, because you are morally incapable of adressing the mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners, especially children. This total lack of empathy and pervert sarcasm is psychopathic and reminds me of Nazis jokes while mistreating Jews.

        I don’t mean this as an insult when I say that in my eyes you are a very, very sick person and lost soul.

      • mondonut on October 12, 2019, 2:05 pm

        @Talkback, you are morally incapable of adressing the mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners, especially children.

        Heba al-Labadi is no child, and what I am addressing is the actual story above. In which if you would bother to read, her air-conditioned cell is being presented as torturous.

      • Mayhem on October 12, 2019, 9:17 pm

        @Misterioso, you are certainly showing signs of desperation referring to a highly discredited documentary that was shown on Australian television more than 5 years ago.
        The program was a disgrace, a crude piece of anti-Israel propaganda that revived some of the oldest anti-Semitic tropes. We heard allegations yet again, on the basis of the flimsiest non-evidence you could imagine, that Jewish soldiers systematically physically crucify innocent children? Is there a school of anti-Semitism 101 operating out there? Do you not think that before you would air an allegation like that, if you had any real sense of editorial responsibility, you would be 100 per cent sure that it was true; you would track down the people alleged to have done it and get their testimony? There were exhaustive rebuttals made of virtually all the allegations in this program. The whole program was full of uncorroborated and intensely unlikely allegations.
        [These remarks are taken from Greg Sheridan, senior foreign affairs journalist at The Australian, the leading newspaper in Australia.]

    • genesto on October 10, 2019, 1:16 pm

      That’s what happened to us on the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla. We were kidnapped in the Mediterranean by the IDF navy, 65 miles from Israel and clearly in international waters. We were then taken to the Port of Ashdod to be processed for prison. There, we were charged with – are you ready for this? – entering Israel illegally. Seriously!

  4. Joshua Laskin on October 10, 2019, 3:32 pm

    Nazis behaved differently, later in their movement’s career, than they did in its earlier stages. So, “behaving like Nazis”, is pretty vague, because it doesn’t specify the period. I think Kay24’s comment is reasonable, in reference to the earlier period, before they pulled out absolutely all the stops. The point is, a common attitude is demonstrated. In both cases, the victims are seen as an existential threat to the survival of the Folk-state; and the perpetraters understand that their defense of the Folk-state requires that they suppress their normal Human empathy, and instead treat their opponents as sub-Human; primarily through humiliation. Kay24 is spot on, in declaring such attitude to be definitively undemocratic. Israel is the Jewish state, because of the mystical relationship between the historical Folk and their mythic Homeland; just as the Blood-&-Soil faith justified uncitizening the Jews of Germany. Democracy means, one-person-one-vote; whereas Antidemocracy holds, one-Folk-one-leadership. Calling Israel a democracy, only makes sense if Jews are the only people who matter. To Zionists alone does Israel appear a democracy. To everyone else, it resembles a classic Folk-state. Lengthy, humiliating abuse, of innocent prisoners, naturally comes with that territory. Disgusting; but not surprising.

    • mondonut on October 10, 2019, 5:04 pm

      @Joshua Laskin , Nazis behaved differently, later in their movement’s career, than they did in its earlier stages.

      Thanks for the info. I make a note for future reference that when Joshua and Kay24 compare Jews to Nazis – they mean the good kind of Nazis.

      • DaBakr on October 11, 2019, 2:24 am

        @mnd

        They mean the ‘early’ nazis that euthanized retarded, epileptic and other people they considered inferior. Or maybe they mean the early nazis that burnt and smashed down all Jewish businesses and temples on crystalnacht

      • Talkback on October 12, 2019, 3:58 am

        mondonut: “I make a note for future reference that when Joshua and Kay24 compare Jews to Nazis – they mean the good kind of Nazis.”

        Dishonest as usual to deflect from Joshua’s points. And neither are Jews as such compared to Nazis nor were the earlier Nazis the “good kind of Nazis”. But why didn’t you write that they allegedly refer to the worst kind of Jews?

        DaBakr: “They mean the ‘early’ nazis that euthanized retarded, epileptic and other people they considered inferior. Or maybe they mean the early nazis that burnt and smashed down all Jewish businesses and temples on crystalnacht.”

        It’s normal that Zionists need to refer only to Nazi’s atrocities against jews that Zionists don’t commit against Palestinians to deflect from similarities between Nazis and Zionists including their racist ideologoes and the fact that both legally differentiated between citizens and nationals to legally discriminate against the latter and privilige the former. And let’s mot forget that Israel, too, has illegally annexed and has been illegally colonizing occupied territories and has been collectively punishing the people under its occupation just to mention some charges of the Nuremberg trials. And before 1948 the future Justice minister of Israel claimed that not even the Nazis had something like the British Emergency regulations which Israel still applies against the Palestinans.

        I actually think that your denial is an indirect form of Holocaust denial, because it implies that the Nazis didn’t commit some atrocities against “non-Aryans” that Zionists have been committing against Palestinians.

  5. eljay on October 10, 2019, 8:37 pm

    || mon donut: … Thanks for the info. I make a note for future reference that when Joshua and Kay24 compare Jews to Nazis – they mean the good kind of Nazis. ||

    You’re right: There’s no such thing as a good Nazi or a good Zionist. Thanks for the info.

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