Palestinian political prisoners targeted in Israel’s campaign of vengeance

Palestinian political prisoners targeted in Israel’s campaign of vengeance

The Observer reports:

Marwan Barghouti spends his days huddled in a cramped, dark, solitary cell, with no way to tend to his wounds, and a shoulder injury from being dragged with his hands cuffed behind his back.

Barghouti holds almost mythic status within Palestinian politics, seen as a figure whose potential to unify different factions has only grown during his 24 years in prison.

The books, newspapers and tele­vision that he used to be able to access have been gone since last October, along with any former cellmates. The lights that flicker in his cell each evening are intended to make sleep near impossible.

“Mentally he’s a very strong person, but physically his condition is deteriorating, you can see it. He’s struggling to see out of his right eye, as a result of one of the assaults,” said his lawyer Igal Dotan, who visited Barghouti in Israel’s Megiddo prison two months ago. “He has lost weight – he doesn’t look good. You wouldn’t recognise him if you compare his current appearance with the famous photos of him,” he said.

Israel jailed Barghouti on five counts of murder while accusing him of directing attacks against civilians, which he denies. His lawyers and supporters fear that as one of the highest profile Palestinian detainees, he was abused to send a message to others that no one is safe. [Continue reading…]

UN News reports:

A renowned Palestinian orthopaedic surgeon’s death in Israeli detention has been labelled “horrifying’ by a UN human rights expert, prompting calls for an independent international investigation.

Dr. Adnan Al Bursh, 50, the head of the orthopaedic department at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, died on April 19, 2024, in Ofer prison, a detention facility in the West Bank. His body has not yet been released by Israeli authorities.

Before his death, he had reportedly been beaten in prison, with his body showing signs of torture.

Dr. Al Bursh had been detained with other doctors and medical personnel by Israeli forces on 18 December 2023, at Al Awda Hospital in North Gaza. At that time, he was generally in good health and was performing his duties normally.

Tlaleng Mofokeng, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, said she was “horrified” by the news.

“He was detained while undertaking his duty to patients and caring for them according to the oath he took as a medical practitioner … he died for trying to protect the rights to life and health of his patients,” she said.

The expert underscored the need for an independent probe. [Continue reading…]

Physicians for Human Rights Israel:

“Each of us, whether it is the medical personnel or you, the supervising authorities at the Health and Defense ministries, is implicated in breaching Israeli law. Even more concerning for me as a physician is the breach of my commitment to providing equal treatment to all patients—a vow I pledged to uphold upon graduating two decades ago.”

This conclusion was shared earlier this month by a physician working at the field hospital located within the Sde Teiman military facility. His testimony adds to the mounting evidence revealing the treatment and detention conditions of Gazans at the facility. Various reports and a UNWRA document compiling the testimonies of over 100 released detainees indicate that hundreds of individuals are being held in open-air pens, with their hands cuffed and eyes covered for the entire day, and are prohibited from moving or speaking; otherwise, they face severe punishment. According to all testimonies, these detainees regularly endure severe violence, leading to cases of fractures, internal bleeding, and even death.

Since the start of the current war and particularly following Israel’s ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, thousands of Gazans, including minors, women, the elderly, and dozens of healthcare workers, have been detained. Many of them were apprehended from protected spaces such as hospitals and schools. So far, all efforts to locate or obtain information regarding their well-being and whereabouts have proven unsuccessful.

The evidence and information disclosed to the public confirm the findings outlined in the ethical position paper we are releasing today. [Continue reading…]

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