Systemic torture and inhumane treatment of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prison facilities since October 7, 2023

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Urgent action needed to protect Palestinians detained by Israel from torture

Joint submission to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture – Informative Note 

15 February 2024

In a submission sent today to the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on torture, human rights organisations call for urgent action to end the systematic abuse, torture and ill-treatment on Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons and detention facilties. Since 7 October 2023, at least seven Palestinians have died in Israeli custody. We describe a “brutal escalation”, over the last four months, characterised by what appears to be systemic violence against Palestinians in Israeli custody

The contributing organisations, Adalah, HaMoked, Physicians for Human Rights Israel and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, have extensively documented cases of torture and abuse by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) over the years. The submission, based on evidence collected from court files, formal complaints lodged by victims and their entourage, visual material of injuries sustained, and direct testimonies from detainees and their legal representatives, documents cases of torture and ill-treatment occurred in seven different prisons and detention facilities

These organisations, suported by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), are extremely concerned that, as described in the submission, the cases of torture and other ill-treatment exposed are only the surface of a much broader pattern of systemic abuse and dehumanising discourse

Cases of severe beating of detainees and prisoners, sexual harassment and intimidation of male and female detainees, as well as other humiliating behaviour and threats by prison staff have been documented. These acts constitute collective punishment and blatant violations of domestic and international law

In February 2024, Israel was holding in prisons administered by the IPS holding a record number of 8,926 Palestinians classified as “security” inmates, including an unprecedented 3,484 administrative detainees

Hundreds of other Palestinians, who have been detained by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip, are believed to be held in military camps, including the Sde Teiman base in the desert. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has no access to the detainees, whereas many media report that people are being kept in open-air cages, blindfolded and handcuffed, forced to kneel, and severely punished if they disobey

We urge the Special Rapporteur on Torture to take immediate action to ensure the protection of Palestinians in Israeli prisons and places of detention

Read the full submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, including our recommendations

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) works with around 200 member organisations, including PCATI and HaMoked, which constitute its SOS-Torture Network, in 75 countries, to end torture, fight impunity and protect human rights defenders worldwide