The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) slammed the Israeli forces for failing to address reports of soldiers abusing Palestinian prisoners, neglecting to formulate clear arresttransport orders that would ensure prisoners safety.
PCATI said in its semiannual report released last fortnight that Israeli soldiers routinely abuse Palestinian prisoners while being taken into custody and the army and law enforcement ignores the abuse.
The report, dubbed Unlawful in reality soldiers abuse of Palestinian detainees, unveils a series of cases in which Palestinians who were arrested and handcuffed were abused by Israeli soldiers while being detained or transported to a holding facility, to the extent that some of them needed medical attention.
The PCATI report noted 90 testimonies of abuse between 2006 and 2007, but said the actual number of cases is higher. The Israeli forces, said the report, is doing little to nothing, to stop this abuse. According to an Israeli forces spokespersons unit report, filed with the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, only 35 of the investigations resulted in indictments PCATIs report said the Israeli military chooses to ignore the majority of these cases. The fact is that soldiers abuse of handcuffed detainees has become somewhat of a routine matter, said the report. The military and its wardens are doing nothing to stop this phenomenon. Acczording to the PCATI, even the cases that made it to trial resulted in convictions of soldiers on charges that carry no more than a fourmonth prison term.
At times, abusive practices involve dogs that are employed by the military forces during arrest operations and transported in vehicles along with Palestinian detainees.
Minors, who must be granted special protection under both Israeli and international law, are also victims of abuse. The report, which is based on testimonies from prisoners, soldiers and commanders, said the abuses of Palestinian detainees are met with absolute indifference from the military and political establishments.
There are nearly 11,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails and detention centers, including at least 126 women and 450 minors.