Israeli rights group says military abusing Palestinian detainees after arrest

[JURIST] Israeli soldiers regularly beat and abuse Palestinian detainees even after they have been arrested and no longer pose a threat, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) alleged in a report [press release; PDF text, in Hebrew] published Sunday. The group based its finding on testimony it obtained from some 90 detainees covering the period June 2006 and October 2007:

Abuse occurs at various junctions - immediately following arrest, in the vehicle transporting the detainees, and during the time they are held in IDF military camps prior to their transfer to interrogation and detention facilities. At times abusive practices involve dogs that are employed by the military forces during arrest operations and transported in vehicles along with Palestinian detainees. On certain occasions, the ill treatment of Palestinian detainees is highly violent resulting in serious injury. At other times, abuse manifests itself in a routine of beating, degradation and additional abuse. Minors, who must be granted special protection under both Israeli and International Law, are also victims of abuse. The soldiers who carry out arrests do not treat minors with special care and at times – as revealed by various testimonies – exploit their weakness.
PCATI said military violence against detainees is "reinforced by a weak legal system which conducts only a small number of investigations and legal proceedings that concern cases of abuse by soldiers." The Israeli military has denied treating prisoners in any way prohibited by national or international law. PCATI released its report in the run-up to the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture [backgrounder] on June 26. AFP has more.

Earlier this month the Supreme Court of Israel upheld a law [JURIST report] allowing the Israeli government to indefinitely detain "unlawful combatants" suspected of belonging to terrorist groups. PCATI is opposed to that law and has argued against any attempt to broaden it [press release].

 

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