Israel holds 19 Palestinian prisoners in 'extremely harsh conditions': NGO

Addameer NGO urges ICRC to pressure Israel to halt collective punishment of prisoners.

Israel holds 19 Palestinian prisoners in 'extremely harsh conditions': NGO

A Palestinian human rights organization accused Israel on Saturday of isolating 19 prisoners in "extremely harsh conditions" in the Negev prison.

In a statement, the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights said a number of prisoners were “stripped of their personal belongings in cells unfit for human use.”

It quoted one of the prisoners, Nabil Mughayer, as saying that they "suffer from extremely harsh and degrading conditions amid a collective punishment that amounts to torture."

The rights group said prisoners belonging to the Islamic Jihad group have been removed from their prison section and dispersed to other detention facilities, a move that prompted them to burn their section.

"The prisoners were placed in twos in an empty room with charred walls and floors," Mughayer continued.

He said the prisoners lack clothes, mattresses and blankets, and that the prison administration only “brings a mattress and blanket for each prisoner after midnight and takes them back before sunrise."

In terms of breaks, they are only allowed a one-hour break, one person at a time, and handcuffed, according to Mughayer.

Addameer NGO cited the detention of five prisoners in isolation cells in connection with last month’s jailbreak from the maximum-security Gilboa prison.

On Sept. 6, six Palestinian detainees successfully escaped from Gilboa prison by digging a tunnel from their cell to outside the prison. Israeli forces, however, managed to recapture them after almost a week of their prison break.

Tamim Salem, one of the five prisoners, told the NGO that they live in "difficult conditions, where the prisoners remain handcuffed and their feet chained when they go out for a break.”

Addameer NGO called on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) “to visit the prisoners, see their conditions, and to use all means to pressure (Israel) to lift the collective punishments that degrade the (prisoners’) dignity and undermines their humanity."