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Palestinian women prisoners subjected to physical abuse, humiliation: NGO

The Palestinian Prisoners Club said Thursday it has obtained testimonies confirming that Palestinian women prisoners were subjected to brutal beatings, humiliation and strip searches during their transfer to Hasharon prison in northern Israel. 

According to the testimony of one of the prisoners, she said: “Upon our arrival, other prisoners and I were placed in a cell filled with water, and it had a toilet that was not suitable for use. Then we were transferred to another cell.”

“We were subjected to strip searches by women guards, and one of the guards hit me in my face after I had already been brutally beaten during my arrest.”

In another testimony, a prisoner said: “Three women guards treated me very brutally and humiliatingly. They insulted me with the worst words all the time without stopping, forced me to walk while my limbs were restrained and with a blindfold over my eyes, and during my transfer, one woman guard kept saying ‘This is not your country. Leave.’”

“A group of women prisoners detained on the same night underwent a strip search upon entering a cell, and after being taken out one by one, they tied our hands and legs,” she added.

According to a series testimonies documented by the Palestinian Prisoners Club, “in the prison corridor, there is a cell with an open window, and the cold air is unbearable, especially at night. The mattresses and blankets are not suitable for use because they are dirty and have a very foul odor, and anyone standing at the cell door can see those using the bathroom.”

The testimonies also indicated that "there is no privacy for the women prisoners, in addition to the proximity of the cells to those of civilian prisoners who shout all the time.”

The statement pointed out that the testimonies of male and female prisoners indicate that torture and abuse are ongoing, escalating and unprecedented since the start of Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7 last year.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club said Israel is currently holding 90 women detainees in its prisons, with 50 of them from Gaza detained in very harsh conditions.

The non-governmental organization and prisoner institutions warned of the systematic arrest campaigns carried out by Israel against Palestinians accompanied by “wide-ranging invasion and torture operations, brutal beatings and threats to prisoners and their families as well as field investigation operations, sabotage and the destruction of citizens' homes and shooting with the aim of killing.”

Israel has launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 attack by the Palestinian group Hamas, killing at least 25,900 Palestinians and injuring 64,110 others. Nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

The Israeli war has left 85% of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while more than half of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

*Writing by Rania Abu Shamala

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