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Jailed activist accuses Israeli prison guards of torture

Nov. 23, 2008 12:13 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 23, 2008 12:13 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - An International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist detained in an Israeli jail condemned Israel on Saturday for conditions that he said qualified as "real torture."

Vittorio Arrigoni accused Israel of treatment "manifestly violating every human and civil right" during his ongoing detainment in an Israel jail in Ramle, calling Israeli actions toward himself and two others "against every international law."

Arrigoni is an ISM activist detained in an Israeli prison since his arrest on a Gaza fishing boat. He apparently gave up on a previously announced hunger strike in exchange for his telephone, according to the activist.

"In order to report these regrettable events I had to stop my hunger strike so that I could have back my telephone," he said.

In a statement received by Ma'an, Arrigoni wrote that he had spent recent hours "locked in a piggish toilette full of fleas and parasites and without drinking water."

He added that his cell is "absolutely non-compliant with every standard of every convention about detention and human rights."

"This was the treatment we received because we announced a hunger strike in order to ask for the restitution of the fishing boats stolen to Palestinian fishermen offshore Gazan coasts when we were kidnapped by Israeli soldiers," he insisted.

He also accused prison guards of preventing access to lawyers and consulates, even though he and one other imprisoned activist "asked for it tenaciously many times."

The detention is "more than a punishment," the activist insisted; it "can be considered real torture."

Arrigoni affirmed that he would report the "severe events" to Italian, Scottish and American consulates in Jerusalem. On Sunday, the activist planned to "seek urgent medical treatment" due to the bites from insects and parasites, "which attack me every night, leaving my body full of sores."
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