Report: Shin Bet, police severly tortured Palestinian suspects

By Nir Hasson

In a harsh report released yesterday, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel accuses the Shin Bet security service and police of severely torturing Palestinian security suspects.

The report includes the testimonies of nine Palestinians who were arrested by the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet between 2004 and 2005, including one that charged police investigators with severe sexual abuse.

The prisoners interviewed complain of beatings, painful sitting positions for long periods of time and being tied up painfully, among other things.

The report says the doctors at the hospitals and prisons ignore the prisoners’ complaints or treat them with contempt, thus enabling the security services to continue torturing the prisoners.

A 24-year-old prisoner from Nablus testified that during questioning a police investigator held his legs in the air, and inserted an object into his rectum.

“While the investigator inserted the ‘object’ into my rectum and removed it, he pulled my genitalia, as if he wanted to rip it out,” he said. “He told me that he wanted to cut it off and throw it to the dog – this lasted at least 10 minutes. The whole time I yelled out in pain.”

This prisoner’s examination by an Abu Kabir Forensics Institute doctor revealed signs of sexual abuse, the report says.

Another prisoner, Louay Ashkar, 27, of Saida village, said he sat during questioning on a chair with a bent back, both hands tied behind the chair and each leg tied to chair leg.

“The interrogator Effi would push my chest backward until my head reached the floor, then grab my bound hands and pull me to him,” said Ashkar. “I lost consciousness because of the pain, especially in my back.”

The report says Ashkar’s legs are paralyzed due to the spinal damage caused by the torture.

One of the complaints alleges forceful use of iron shackles “until the iron cuts into the flesh and you felt as if your hand was being cut off,” said Amin Shakirat.

He also charged his own screams were taped and played back as a means of psychological pressure.

The Shin Bet responded that its methods were “legal” in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling.

Article 2 of the 1984 United Nations Convention Against Torture, to which Israel is a signatory, allows “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever,” including a state of war or any emergency, as a justification of torture.
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