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PCHR: Gaza detainees underwent 'torture' in Israeli custody

Sept. 16, 2014 1:21 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 17, 2014 10:16 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Center for Human rights said Tuesday that its lawyers confirmed that at least four Palestinians who were arrested during Israel's assault on Gaza were subjected to "torture" during their detention period.

PCHR lawyers visited four detainees in Ashkelon prison, and said they had undergone beatings or had been shackled between two chairs for long hours in a method known as "Shabeh," a statement said.

It said Israeli forces detained dozens of Palestinian civilians during the seven-week Gaza offensive, 31 of whom were transferred to Israeli prisons.

Four of the imprisoned detainees were released while 26 remain in custody and are accused of being members of armed groups.

One of them was charged with being an "illegitimate combatant."

According to international law, members of armed resistance groups are considered prisoners of war, and bills of indictment cannot be presented against them, the statement added.

The recently dissolved Ministry of Prisoner Affairs said in August that 200 Palestinians had been detained in Gaza while Israeli forces conducted a land invasion in Gaza, but that some of them had been released.

Crucial information was not immediately available about the prisoners, and the ministry accused Israeli authorities of withholding the prisoners' names and whereabouts.

An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma'an at the time that the prisoners were transferred to the Shin Bet intelligence agency for questioning.

On Sept. 9, a Palestinian died in an Israeli medical center died after allegedly being tortured in Israeli jails.

Issa Qaraqe, head of the department of prisoner affairs, said 35-year-old Raed al-Jabari had died after sustaining blows to the head, adding that an autopsy showed that internal bleeding and concussion were the cause of death.

An Israeli Prison Service spokeswoman said the man had hung himself in Eshel prison.
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