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Palestinian prisoner severely tortured by Israeli interrogators: Rights group

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This undated file picture shows Palestinian prisoner Samer al- Arbeed.

The Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, which advocates the rights of Palestinian inmates, says prisoner Samer al- Arbeed has been taken to hospital in a critical condition as a result of brutal torture at a detention center in the occupied territories.

Addameer said on Sunday that the 44-year-old father of three was arrested on September after a special unit of the Israeli forces raided the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

During the arrest, Samer was harshly beaten by Israeli forces using their guns. He was then taken to Mascobiyya interrogation center in Jerusalem al-Quds and an order was issued immediately, banning him from meeting his lawyer. 

The Palestinian man has had a court session the following day without his lawyer in attendance. Samer told the judge that he suffers from severe pain in his chest and that he cannot eat anything and throws up continually.

He was not transferred immediately to the hospital, and in fact his interrogation continued using torture and ill-treatment techniques.

Finally, Addameer’s lawyer was informed on Saturday morning by a phone call from one of the interrogators at al-Mascobiyya that Samer had been transferred to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem al-Quds.

The lawyer was also told that the Palestinian prisoner’s health is in critical situation, and that he is unconscious and dependent on the ventilator.

Samer had in fact been transferred to the hospital the previous day, though his family and lawyer were not informed until Saturday.

Addameer called on Israeli authorities to immediately release Samer, saying confessions taken under torture and ill-treatment were illegal.

It also urged Israeli officials to instantly investigate the circumstances surrounding Samer’s torture, and to hold those responsible to account. 

The Palestinian prisoners’ rights group then called on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to from a medical committee aimed at investigating the torture and ill-treatment. 

Addameer also asked the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the international community to take all necessary measures to stop the Israeli practice of torture and ill-treatment in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Moreover, the Palestinian Health Ministry has appealed to international human rights organizations, the ICRC and the international community to intervene immediately and save Samer from the “systematic killing” being practiced by Israeli authorities against him.

The ministry said in a statement that information received from inside Israeli prisons is very appalling, and that Arbeed was subjected to severe torture, which plunged him into a critical condition as a result.

It called on the international community to intervene immediately to save Palestinian prisoners from torture and deliberate medical negligence at Israeli detention facilities, holding the Tel Aviv regime fully responsible for the lives of Palestinian inmates.

More than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have apparently been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention, a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli detention facilities without trial or charge.

Some Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to eleven years.

Palestinian inmates regularly stage hunger strikes in protest at the administrative detention policy and their harsh prison conditions in Israeli jails.

According to reports, at least 13 Palestinian lawmakers are currently imprisoned in Israeli detention facilities. Nine of them are being held without trial under administrative detention.

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