The Banana Position
Since its creation, the occupying state developed and enforced laws and practices that led to both the systematic use of torture and to absolute impunity for the perpetrator of this crime. There has never been any individual or agency held accountable for the well-documented crimes of torture and ill-treatment at Israeli prisons and interrogation centers. The occupation authorities, in particular, the Israeli intelligence agency “Shabak” resorts to torture and ill-treatment as the standard operating procedure in a systematic and wide-scale approach against Palestinian detainees. Over the past three months, the intelligence agency subjected a number of detainees at Israeli interrogation centers to severe physical and psychological torture without any form of monitoring and protection.
Addameer has hard evidence on the crimes of torture and ill-treatment committed against a number of detainees held at interrogation centers since late August 2019. Addameer was banned from publishing any of the details of torture prior to this date, due to a gag order issued by the Israeli Court of First Instance in Jerusalem.
On 10 September 2019, a gag order was issued on a number of cases under interrogation at al-Mascobiyya interrogation center. Hence, preventing the public, including Addameer the legal representative, from publishing any information regarding these cases. The gag order was issued based on a request from the Israeli intelligence agency and Israeli police and was renewed multiple times. Despite the gag order, Israeli media outlets and the Israeli intelligence agency published information to the public about some of those cases. This inconsistent enforcement of the gag order, where the Israeli sources exercised the freedom to publish, can only be understood as a means to influence public opinion. Most importantly, the issuance of this gag order is an attempt to hide crimes committed against the detainees and prevent the public and the legal representatives from exposing the details of the crimes of torture and ill-treatment that were committed against the detainees in question throughout the past months.
Torture at Israeli interrogation centers
According to Israeli military laws, a detainee can be held in interrogation for a total period of 75 days without receiving any official charges. According to these same laws, a detainee can be banned from meeting his/her lawyer for a total period of 60 days. Those detainees, in particular, were held for extremely long periods of interrogation and were also banned from lawyers’ visits and legal consultation. The periods of the ban on meeting the lawyers ranged from 30 to 45 days in some cases. During the interrogations, the detainees suffered from different forms of both physical and psychological torture.
The methods used against them included, but were not limited to harsh beating, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, stress positions, the denial of basic hygiene needs, sexual harassment, threatening and intensive psychological torture including the use of family members and/or other detainees. The used threats included threats of rape, torture, and revocation of residency. The severe torture and humiliation these detainees suffered from, led to injuries, broken bones, fainting, vomiting, bleedings from different parts of the body (nose, mouth, hands, legs and genital area). In addition, the detainees also suffered from the false assessment made by doctors at the interrogation centers, who almost in all cases stated that the detainees are qualified for interrogations denying the clear signs of torture.