Prisoners systematically mistreated in Palestinian territories

Prisoners systematically mistreated in Palestinian territories

The Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have committed arbitrary arrests and systematic mistreatment of critics and opponents. That’s according to a report by Human Rights Watch.

The human rights organization calls on donors to cease payments to the Palestinian police. The organization also requests the International Criminal Court to investigate the people who are guilty of abuse of power. According to Human Rights Watch, this is happening on such a large scale that there may be crimes against humanity.

Nizar Banat
The report prompted the death of Nizar Banat, one of the Palestinian Authority’s most prominent critics. He accused the Palestinian Authority of corruption. A year ago he was dragged from his house early in the morning by ten men.

A few hours later, he was beaten to death in his cell. He was choking on his blood. His death sparked days of protests that were violently dispersed and led to new arrests and torture.

Human Rights Watch concludes that the Palestinian Authority has continued to arrest and mistreat critics ever since. Hamas is also guilty of this in Gaza. “Systematic abuse of power by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas is an essential part of the oppression of the Palestinian people,” concluded Human Rights Watch.

Those responsible for Banat’s death have not yet been brought to justice, and Human Rights Watch doubts they will receive their due punishment.

Hundreds of assault cases
Hamas and the Palestinian Authority say the abuses are just isolated incidents, which are being investigated and for which perpetrators are held accountable. But according to Human Rights Watch, the facts disprove that.

Last year, the organization received 253 complaints of torture and ill-treatment and 279 complaints of arbitrary arrests by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Human Rights Watch also received 193 complaints of torture and ill-treatment and 97 complaints of arbitrary arrests in the Gaza Strip. In both areas, the perpetrators continue to go free, according to Human Rights Watch.

The report mainly focuses on abuses by the Palestinian authorities, but also describes the abuse of power by the Israeli authorities in the occupied territories. Since 2001, there have been 1,300 complaints of torture and ill-treatment.

In only two cases did this lead to a criminal investigation. In no case has it led to prosecution of those responsible, Human Rights Watch said.

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