Palestinians Report Sexual Humiliation and Abuse in Israeli Detention Centers

by | Jan 24, 2024

Palestinians Report Sexual Humiliation and Abuse in Israeli Detention Centers

by | Jan 24, 2024

screenshot 2024 01 24 143934

Palestinians receive medial care after release from Israeli detention center

Palestinians released from Israeli prisons since October 7 have reported widespread abuses that include beating and sexual humiliation. A rights group warned that the Israeli prisons are turning into a “Guantanamo Bay.”

Detainees released by Israel and interviewed by NBC News reported rampant abuse. Ramzi Abbasi, a physiotherapist, was released in November and described his treatment. “Our life became zero. We didn’t mean anything to them. They treated us less than the animals. Beating, abusing, torturing, everything you could imagine,” he explained. “I was sexually harassed.” 

He said he witnessed guards sodomize his cellmates with truncheons, and detainees were forced to pile on top of each other naked. Abbasi reported having lost nearly 30 pounds during his three months in Israeli detention. 

The head of an Israeli rights group reported documenting similar allegations. “What we’ve seen in the prison service now is revenge. There is a sense in the system that things are more allowed — that expressing that anger towards them, that vengefulness, is somehow allowed,” Tal Steiner, an attorney and the executive director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, said.

“Other things, other phenomenons that we’ve seen … sexual assault, humiliation, and degradation, what does that serve? That’s absolutely just people, very angry and frustrated and being able and being allowed to express that anger beyond what they’re supposed to be doing.” She added. “My concern is that what we’re seeing is an Israeli Guantanamo.”

Israeli outlets +972 Magazine and Haaretz have also written on the torture and abuse of Palestinians attested by Israelis. “Detainees and prisoners at Megiddo Prison in northern Israel have reported several cases of harsh violence and abuse carried out by prison wardens,” Haaretz reported. The torture included “guards kicking, punching, hitting their testicles, and humiliating prisoners. Some testified that a prisoner who was beaten died of his injuries.”

“Israeli soldiers subjected Palestinian detainees to electric shocks, burned their skin with lighters, spat in their mouths, and deprived them of sleep, food, and access to bathrooms until they defecated on themselves.” The +972 article continued, “Some testified to having been beaten all over their bodies and having cigarettes extinguished on their necks or backs. Several people are known to have died as a result of being held in these conditions.”

Since October 7, Israel has eroded the rights of Palestinians accused of being “security threats” to Israel. The Knesset passed a law allowing Palestinians to remain in administrative detention for 180 days without access to a lawyer. 

NBC News notes the number of Palestinians in security prisons has exploded in recent months to 8,600. Israel has allowed the movement and contact of those deemed to be “security inmates” to be severely restricted. 

Steiner warned that the abuse and humiliation of the Palestinians will cause some to take up arms against Israel in the years to come. “This kind of phenomenon will echo years ahead. People who have been tortured are radicalized.”

About Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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