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Israeli forces assault prisoners in Etzion detention center

March 24, 2016 3:51 P.M. (Updated: March 27, 2016 8:48 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Palestinian prisoners in Israel's Etzion detention center were “aggressively” assaulted while under Israeli custody, the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs said on Thursday.

The committee said Israeli soldiers raided the prisoners’ cells and forced them to leave before their rooms were subjected to a “humiliating” inspection. The groups were later forced to crowd together into two rooms.

The committee said that Israeli soldiers inspected the rooms in the presence of the prisoners’ representative, leaving the premises in disarray.

The committee added in the statement that Palestinian prisoners Nidal Muhammad Arafat Basal, 29, and Sameh Musallam Abu Sel,18, were assaulted violently by Israeli soldiers during their detention .

Basal said he was assaulted when he was taken to the detention center clinic and Sel reported being beaten across his body with guns and left in cold conditions for more than 10 hours.

Earlier this month, 46 prisoners at Etzion detention center ended hunger strikes after Israeli authorities agreed to let the prisoners receive clothes and other supplies from the prisoners’ committee.

The director of the committee’s Bethlehem office, Munqith Abu Atwan, told Ma’an at the time that Etzion detention center and its interrogation rooms were "hell” and “unfit for human life."

The prisoners had been on strike to protest the quality and quantity of food served to them, in addition to filthy living spaces, inadequate medical treatment, and lack of regular access to showers.

In February, the prisoners' committee also said the detention center was "flooded" from heavy rainfall. The flooding, the committee said, ruined prisoners' clothing and blankets, as mold took root in the dampened materials.

The committee added that due to the poor conditions, flu and skin infection had started to spread among the prisoners, who remained untreated.

Rights groups have long criticized Israel for mistreatment of Palestinians in Israeli jails, as well as the illegality of their imprisonment.

According to the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, a total of 7,000 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli jails, many of whom face torture, denial of family visitation, and medical negligence.
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