The Arab Organisation for Human Rights (AOHR) in the UK on Monday held a seminar on the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip and the plight of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
The seminar was attended by senior experts, international activists and human rights lawyers.
AOHR researcher, Hannah Phillips, focusing on human rights challenges in the Middle East, and told attendees that Israel detains as many as 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in 23 prisons, adding that 4,221 were sentenced in military courts including 513 prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment and 1,309 prisoners held in administrative detention – incarceration without charge or trial.
Phillips explained that the Israeli authorities commit various forms of violations against Palestinian child prisoners who are detained in inhumane conditions and subjected to torture and physical violence while being detained in adult detention facilities.
According to Phillips, the mobile signal jamming devices which the Israeli Prison Service has been installing in prisons admit high levels of electromagnetic radiation, causing negative health effects on the Palestinian prisoners.
Founder Member and Vice Chair of Stop the War Coalition, Chris Nineham, explained that there is media ablackout surrounding Palestinian political detainees, although Western governments have special agendas for campaigns that address gross violations of human rights.
Nineham noted that Israel had detained more than 900,000 Palestinians since 1967, most of whom were subjected to various forms of ill-treatment or torture while in detention.
“As many as 50 per cent of all prisoners at one time were transferred to administrative detention, meaning that they did not face a fair trial,” Nineham said.
National Education Union (NUT Section) President Kiri Tunks said that Israel has been using violence against Palestinian civilians who participate in the weekly Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip as well as medical teams and journalists. This she added constitutes a war crime.
MEMO Director Dr. Daud Abdullah stressed that the Israeli violations against Palestinian prisoners constitutes violations against international law, including subjecting many prisoners to administrative detention and the widespread use of torture.
Abdullah explained that the Palestinians have recently launched an open hunger strike to demand their most basic rights which are guaranteed by international law.