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Israel transfers 16 Palestinian women prisoners from HaSharon to Damon prison

March 4, 2017 1:11 P.M. (Updated: April 18, 2017 12:20 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israel Prison Service (IPS) transferred 16 Palestinian women on Saturday from Israel’s HaSharon prison to the Damon prison until repairs were finished in Section 11 of the prison.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies said that some sections of the HaSharon prison were not suitable for living, as dozens of Palestinian prisoners have complained and demanded that the sections be repaired in order to improve the living conditions inside the prison.

Spokesperson of the center Amina al-Tawil said that Aisha al-Afghani, Ansam Shawahneh, Falastin Nijm, Ghadir al-Atrash, and Asmaa Bahlawi were among the prisoners being transferred.

Al-Tawil highlighted that the living conditions of both HaSharon and Damon were difficult and “worsen day by day,” noting that 51 Palestinian women prisoners lacked the “basics of human life,” while prison officials “ban them from even simple rights and from continuing their studies.”

She added that 12 of the prisoners have been suffering from bullet wounds inflicted by Israeli forces at the time of their detentions, and have experienced medical neglect during their imprisonment, while 13 of the prisoners were minors.

She also pointed out that some of the prisoners were issued long sentences by Israeli courts, in addition to fines, and were transferred from the prison with their hands and legs cuffed.

A spokesperson for IPS was not immediately available for comment.

Israel's HaSharon prison was also where the youngest Palestinian prisoner, 12-year-old Dima al-Wawi, was held for more than two months last year after Israeli forces accused her of attempted manslaughter and being in possession of a knife when she was detained.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, some 10,000 Palestinian women and girls have been detained by Israeli forces over the past 45 years. In 2015 alone, Israeli forces detained 106 Palestinian women and girls, which according to the group represented a 70 percent increase compared to detention numbers in 2013.

Most of the Palestinian women detained by Israeli forces are held in HaSharon and Damon, which the group pointed out are both located outside of the 1967 occupied Palestinian territory, in direct violation of international law that states that an occupying power must hold detainees within the occupied territory.

Since a wave of political unrest spread across the occupied Palestinian territory in October 2015, leading to Israeli forces carrying out mass detention campaigns, the number of Palestinian women and girls detained by Israeli forces has risen sharply.

According to Addameer, among those detained since October 2015 were 13 underage girls, some of whom were wounded when Israeli forces detained them. The group has also reported on the treatment of Palestinian women prisoners by Israeli prison authorities, stating that the majority of Palestinian women detainees were subjected to "psychological torture" and "ill-treatment" by Israeli authorities, including "various forms of sexual violence that occur such as beatings, insults, threats, body searches, and sexually explicit harassment.”

“These techniques of torture and ill-treatment are used not only as means to intimidate Palestinian women detainees but also as tools to humiliate Palestinian women and coerce them into giving confessions,” the group stated, adding that “while Israel’s prison authorities and military forces recruit women soldiers to detain, and accompany women prisoners during transfers, the female soldiers responsible for these procedures are no less violent towards Palestinian detainees than their male counterparts.”

Meanwhile, the group has also researched the “policy of medical negligence” by IPS officials in the prisons, citing a study conducted in 2008 by the group that revealed that “approximately 38 percent of Palestinian female prisoners suffer from treatable diseases that go untreated. The poor quality of food and lack of essential nutrients cause women detainees to suffer from weight loss, general weakness, anemia and iron deficiency.”

Skin disease has also developed in the prisons, according to Addammeer, due to the harsh conditions of the prison, including “lack of fresh air and sunlight, dirty overcrowded cells, and infestation of insects.”

According to the group’s January statistics, 53 Palestinian women were being held in Israeli prisons.
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