Home News UN report describes physical abuse, harsh conditions in Israeli detention

UN report describes physical abuse, harsh conditions in Israeli detention

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Gazans released from Israeli detention described graphic scenes of physical abuse, according to testimonies collected by U.N. staff. Report released on Tuesday It is run by UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.

Palestinian detainees described being forced to kneel for hours, having their hands tied, blindfolded, being deprived of food and water, and being urinated on, among other humiliations, the report said. Others described being beaten with metal bars, gun butts and boots, or being forced into cages and attacked by dogs, the report said.

The Times did not interview witnesses who spoke to UNRWA aid workers and could not independently verify their accounts. No witnesses were cited.Still, some of the testimony in the report matches accounts given to The Times by more than a dozen released detainees and their relatives. in januaryhe spoke of beatings and harsh interrogations.

Israeli forces have arrested thousands of Gazans in a six-month operation targeting the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The Israeli military said it arrested people suspected of involvement with Hamas and other groups, but women, children and the elderly were also detained, according to UNRWA reports.

The Israeli military and the Israeli prime minister’s office did not respond to requests for comment on the report.But was asked about similar abuse allegations in the pastIsraeli officials said the detainees were being held in accordance with the law and their basic rights were respected.

Over several months, UNRWA staff collected testimonies from more than 100 freed Gazans who arrived at the Kerem Shalom crossing. Palestinian medical staff sometimes transported injured or sick released prisoners directly to regional hospitals, the report said, adding that they sometimes bore “signs of trauma and abuse.”

Many of the detainees were taken to military detention facilities inside Israel, and many of them were later transferred to Israeli civilian prisons. The report states that as of April 4, Israeli authorities had released at least 1,500 Kerem Shalom detainees.

The UNRWA report said the detainees’ treatment in prison included “being forced to lie on thin mattresses on top of the rubble for hours without food, water or a place to go to the toilet, with their legs and hands damaged.” He was tied up with plastic straps and beaten,” he said.

In the report, a freed prisoner described how an Israeli officer threatened to kill her entire family in an airstrike if she did not provide more information to the Israelis. Another man said he was forced to sit on an electric probe that burned his anus.

UNRWA reports said some released Gazans told aid workers they had been beaten on the genitals, violently searched and sexually harassed. Women said they were forced to strip naked in front of male officers, suggesting some of the incidents “could amount to sexual violence and harassment,” the report said.

When the findings in the UNRWA draft report were presented, leaked last monthThe Israeli military said all abuse of detainees is “absolutely prohibited”, adding that all “specific complaints of misconduct will be forwarded to the relevant authorities for review.” All detainees have ready access to medical care and mistreatment of detainees “violates the values ​​of the IDF,” the report said.

The Israeli military said last month it was aware of the deaths of 27 Palestinians in its custody, with at least one injured.At least 10 Palestinians, mostly from the West Bank, have died in Israel’s civilian prison system since October 7, according to the official Palestinian Prisoners Commission and Israeli rights groups. Israeli Physicians for Human Rightswhose doctors participated in some of the autopsies.

UNRWA, the main provider of humanitarian aid to Gaza, has come under scrutiny in recent months after Israel accused it of harboring numerous Hamas members. Major foreign donors, including the United States, subsequently suspended funding to the agency, but some later resumed funding.

Israel says at least 30 of the group’s 13,000 staff in Gaza were involved in Hamas-led attacks on Israel on Oct. 7 and later.

In response to the allegations, UNRWA fired staff members accused of being members of Hamas. Two investigations have been opened into the allegations – one by the United Nations’ internal investigative agency and the other by an independent reviewer appointed by the United Nations secretary-general.

UNRWA said in a report released on Tuesday that some of its staff had been beaten, threatened, stripped naked, humiliated and abused while in custody by Israeli authorities. During interrogation, they were allegedly forced to admit that UNRWA had links to Hamas and that its staff had participated in the 7 October attack.

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