Women detainees in Israeli jail describe cells as ‘burial chambers’

 As we go to press, a United Nations Human Rights report was issued Feb. 19, 2024, stating that Palestinian women and girls under Israeli detention in Gaza have systematically suffered from various forms of sexual assault including rape, stripped naked and searched by male guards.  The article below was published by the Palestine Information Center on Feb. 15. (palinfo.com) 

The Commission of Detainees Affairs stated that 60 Palestinian female detainees in the Israeli Damon prison are living in tragic conditions, quoting one of the prisoners as saying that their prison is like a “burial chamber.”

The Commission pointed out that the female detainees are “completely isolated from the outside world, with no communication or visits allowed, and there are significant restrictions on lawyer visits.”

Protest demanding freedom for Palestinian women held in Israeli jails, Gaza City, May 2023.
PHOTO: Ali Jadallah – Anadolu Agency

This comes “amid severe sanctions imposed since the start of the Israeli aggression on Gaza on October 7, with complete absence of the role of the Red Cross, and all humanitarian and rights organizations,” it said, warning that “detainees are in real danger.”

The Commission shared the testimony provided by the prisoner Dina Khoury, 24, from the city of Haifa, who told a lawyer from the Commission, “We are living in burial chambers.”

According to the Commission, Khoury recounted details of her ordeal since her arrest on Oct. 11 last year, stating that she faced “threats of murder, rape, insults, beatings, isolation, and deprivation of the most basic human necessities,” on charges of “incitement via social media.”

Khoury said:  “A police force raided my house and arrested me. I remained bound hands and feet, then an interrogator came and told the policeman to open the closet and put her head in it so that our youth could come and rape her, and they also threatened to kill me and shoot me in the head.”

Khoury continued, “I was transferred to Sharon Prison, where the series of torture and abuse continued, and I was transferred to a room resembling a cell, which is narrow and contains nothing. Its windows are high and have iron bars on them without plastic or glass, letting in very cold air, and it’s full of bedbugs, with very thin mattresses, and full of polluted water.”

Khoury says, “Female prisoners are constantly subjected to strip searches, we almost die from cold and hunger, there are no clothes or even soap for bathing, and the daily break (outside cells) is prohibited, and the food is extremely bad.”

The statement explained that Khoury “suffered a seizure and lost consciousness, and when she was transferred to the clinic, it was found that she was suffering from low blood pressure, low blood sugar, and rapid heart rate, while the prison doctor merely advised her to drink water.”

The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) have detained 70 female prisoners in their prisons, according to a previous statement by the Commission.

The IOA has launched a series of arrests since October 7, targeting Palestinians from the West Bank, Jerusalem, and 1948 occupied territories, coinciding with a devastating war on the Gaza Strip that left tens of thousands of civilian casualties, most of them children and women.

The war on the Gaza Strip caused an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe and massive infrastructure damage.

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