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Lawyer: Israel puts Palestinian teen in solitary after suicide attempt

Feb. 26, 2014 10:04 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 27, 2014 9:32 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities placed a Palestinian teenager with mental health issues in solitary confinement after a failed suicide attempt in Israeli prison, the Palestinian ministry of prisoners' affairs said on Wednesday.

Ministry lawyer Hiba Masalha said that Muhammad al-Rajabi, 16, from Hebron attempted to commit suicide in his prison cell in Hasharon prison, but was rescued by his fellow prisoners at the last moment.

"His fellow prisoners rescued him at the last moment after they heard unusual sounds in his bathroom. They forced open the door and found that he has tied a rope around his neck and tried to hang himself," the lawyer said.

She added that Israeli prison guards handcuffed the teenager and took him to solitary confinement following his failed attempt, although he was brought back the next day.

The statement highlighted that al-Rajabi had been detained since Oct. 27, 2013 and that he was suffering from mental and psychological issues in prison.

Youths tell of torture in Israeli prisons

Separately, Masalha said she was told by several teenage prisoners that they were being tortured in Israeli jails.

Khalil Ameen Muhammad Abu Sanad, 17, from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan told Masalha how he was detained on Jan. 1, 2013 by undercover Israeli forces.

He said they "leaped upon me, beating me brutally," adding that an undercover agent punched him in the face, smashing his glasses. A piece of glass, he said, pierced his eye and caused bleeding while the agents continued to beat him with clubs and rifle butts.

Sanad added that he was then evacuated to Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem where he was treated before being taken to the Russian Compound detention center where he was interrogated for 27 days.

Another teenage prisoner, 17-year-old Anas Muhammad Ismail Abu Hilal, said he was detained from his home in Abu Dis on Aug. 11, 2013 at 3 a.m.

He told the lawyer that masked Israeli special agents in black uniform broke the main door and ransacked his family home. They then handcuffed his hands and dragged him out beating him with rifle butts and helmets. He sustained bruises in the head, face and other parts of his body.

Similarly, Ahmad Yousif Muhammad Abu Ghazi, 17, from al-Arrub refugee camp near Hebron said he had been detained since March 23, 2013. He told the ministry of prisoners' affairs' lawyer that Israeli troops broke into his family home at 3 a.m. before they blindfolded him and dragged him "brutally" to a military jeep, beating him until he fell to the ground.

A soldier, he added, attacked him with a rifle at his face breaking his nose. He was interrogated before he received any medical treatment to his bleeding nose. He was forced to stand still in the rain for long hours, according to his lawyer.

5,200 Palestinians were being held in Israeli jails as of Oct. 2013, according to the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs. Another 1,280 are in Israeli prisons for being inside Israel without permits.

Since 1967, more than 650,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel, representing 20 percent of the total population and 40 percent of all males in the occupied territories.

Under international law, it is illegal to transfer prisoners outside of the occupied territory in which they are detained, and the families of Palestinian prisoners' face many obstacles in obtaining permits to see their imprisoned relatives.
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