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Guantanamo victims: Israel using ‘US-style’ torture against Palestinians

Stripped, blindfolded, and bound Palestinian civilians are taken prisoner and ordered into a line by Israeli occupation forces in Gaza in December 2023. (File photo via social media)

Former Guantanamo detainees recount their abuse and torture in the United States detention facilities, saying Israel is using the same pattern against Palestinians illegally jailed in the occupied territories.

Asadullah Haroon, a former Guantanamo prisoner, was held without charge in the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba for 16 years following his arrest in 2007.

Looking at pictures of Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons, Haroon said Palestinians held in Israeli jails now are undoubtedly enduring similar treatment to that he experienced, Al Jazeera reported.

“It’s like in the first days when I was arrested, I was beaten to an extent that I was standing; I couldn’t sit down or if I was sitting down and beaten up, I couldn’t get up. Same with insomnia and I was assaulted for several days. A lot of the prisoners were bitten by dogs. We were provided very little medical care.

“Physical torture was really bad but the worst was mental torture in different forms. I believe there isn’t much of a difference in the torture of prisoners of Palestine, Guantanamo, Bagram, and Abu Ghraib.”

He says when someone is “labeled as a terrorist” they cannot defend themselves “in any way” and this is what he calls “the worst form of oppression.”

“Without a doubt, it’s the same process; they are torturing the people in the same way. I think the Americans have made this and the Israelis are implementing it,” he added.

Haroon won his case against the US government for illegal imprisonment in 2021.

Sheikh Talal Abdulrahman, a former Palestinian prisoner who was in Israeli prisons for 18 years, made similar remarks in an interview with Press TV saying what is happening to Palestinians in the Israeli jails is “harsher” than what inmates suffer in US-run prisons.

Israeli jails ‘harsher’ than US-run prisons of Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib: Ex-prisoner

Since the genocidal Israeli regime forces launched its brutal war on the Gaza Strip last year in October, it has executed some 54 Palestinian inmates in its detention centers, according to the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs in Gaza.

The United Nations Human Rights Office in Palestine says it has been receiving multiple reports of mass detentions, abuse of prisoners, and forced disappearances of Palestinians for months, while harrowing testimonies have been provided to aid agencies or posted to social media by Palestinians who have been released from detention.

In late April, the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, published details of the abuse of Palestinian prisoners who had been jailed without trial.

Its report included descriptions of regular beatings, prisoners being attacked by dogs, being forced to kiss the Israeli flag, being forced to curse the Prophet Muhammad, being deprived of water (including for a toilet in a cell shared by 10 inmates), the electricity being cut, feeding insufficient food, stripping, and systemic violence in Israeli custody in seven different prisons and detention facilities.

Much of the abuse carried out in Israeli prisons has been filmed by the soldiers carrying it out. It has strong echoes of the treatment of Iraqi and Afghan prisoners in US detention centers such as the notorious Abu Ghraib prison – where US soldiers photographed themselves alongside prisoners in humiliating positions in 2003.

Lawyers and activists say the Israeli treatment of Palestinian prisoners bears all the hallmarks of “US-style” abuse and torture.

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