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US, Israel and EU accused of complicity in torture of Palestinians in PA custody

February 15, 2014 at 1:25 pm

The Arab Organisation for Human Rights in UK has accused the US, Israel and the EU of complicity in the torture of Palestinians in the custody of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Testimony collected by the AOHR, it said in statement, “makes it clear that the PA security services practice systematic torture in its prisons without any monitoring by the judiciary”.
The US, Israel and the EU all have joint security missions with the PA, says the AOHR. “This means that they must know what is going on inside PA prisons, which also means that they are complicit in the torture and related crimes.”

The organisation has called for formal investigations to be carried out on the basis of the evidence it has collected, similar to those in place looking at criminal abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Ultimately, the responsibility for what is happening in the Authority’s prisons lies with President Mahmoud Abbas,” says the AOHR. The statement pointed out that Palestinians living under Israel’s military occupation in the West Bank are “protected persons” according to the Fourth Geneva Convention and that violation of the terms of the convention constitute “crimes against humanity”.

The families of detainees who have been interviewed by representatives of the AOHR allege that their sons are being tortured based on the marks they have seen on their bodies and verbal testimony from the prisoners’ themselves. The time that some have spent in Israeli prisons was not considered by the researchers. Torture is taking place, it is claimed, in respect of charges for which they have been sentenced by Israeli military courts.

Aside from the fact that Palestinian security agencies (there are several) frequently ignore court rulings that prisoners must be released, there is strong evidence that very serious torture is taking place in PA detention centres and prisons which appear to be acting beyond the law. This includes hanging detainees in the position known as “shabah”, with their arms tied behind their backs, beatings and sleep deprivation.

The AOHR called on the Secretary General of the United Nations and the European Union to initiate a formal inquiry into these allegations as a matter of urgency.