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Israeli forces 'assault' Palestinians detained for Facebook posts

March 30, 2016 4:50 P.M. (Updated: March 30, 2016 5:51 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Four Palestinians arrested this week for Facebook posts have spoken of physical assault during their detention and interrogation, in the latest evidence to emerge of abuse that rights groups say is systemic in Israel's prisons.

The testimonies were collected by the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners' Affairs and relate to four Palestinian youths, including at least two teenagers detained overnight Tuesday.

Hussein al-Sheikh, a lawyer with the committee, said 19-year-old Sameh Abu Sel was "seriously assaulted" when Israeli forces stormed his home in al-Arrub refugee camp north of Hebron on Tuesday.

The youth was tied up and left outdoors in cold weather for more than 10 hours, al-Sheikh said, noting that the mistreatment left him sick.

Meanwhile, al-Sheikh said that 18-year-old Ahmad Raed Jadallah, from Beit Ur at-Tahta in the Ramallah district, was physically assaulted by Israeli forces during the four-hour drive to the Etzion detention center after he too was detained on Tuesday.

The lawyer also cited two other recently detained Palestinians -- Muhammad Mahmoud Othman and Muhammad Samer Othman -- who also spoke of being physically assaulted in the Etzion detention center, although no further details were provided.

All four detainees were charged with "inciting violence" against Israel in posts made Facebook, al-Sheikh said.

In recent months, Israeli has detained scores of Palestinians for social media activity, alleging that a wave of unrest that swept the occupied Palestinian territory last October was encouraged largely by "incitement."

Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel's nearly 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon.

Those detained for Facebook posts join an estimated 7,000 Palestinians currently inside Israeli prisons, where reports of mistreatment and torture is common.

Earlier this year, Israeli rights group B'Tselem released a report documenting "systemic" torture in Israel's Shkima prison, which they said was taking place with total impunity.
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