A Palestinian human rights group has branded the treatment of Palestinians in Israeli prisons as "worse than Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib". According to the Prisoners' Studies Centre, Israeli soldiers have forced dozens of Palestinian prisoners to strip naked at gunpoint before being searched, despite complaints from the prisoners.
One of the 120 prisoners transferred from Shatta prison to Megiddo prison recently told the Centre that they have been subjected to a "blackmail situation" that was "almost like rape under threat of arms and suppression". The "Dror" and "Nahshun" task forces of the Prison Service, led by the Service's director, the prison's director and the area officers, forced the prisoners one by one to undress completely on the pretext of carryout out a security search. The prisoner warned that this sort of treatment could lead to a revolt in the prison.
Raafat Hamdouna, the Centre's director and a member of the national prisoners' committee, said that the deterioration in procedures carried out by the prisons' management is intended to increase the suffering of the prisoners and their families. "This is a throwback to the conditions of forty years ago," he said, "when there were no prisoners' rights or similar achievements." The procedures used by the authorities include the use of force, strip searches, solitary confinement and other degrading punishments.
In a written statement, Mr. Hamdouna called on human rights and humanitarian organizations concerned with prisoners' affairs "to highlight the Israel Prison Service's violations that make the system worse than Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib." Calling for "joint and responsible action to support prisoners," he added that there is a need to organise events and campaigns in proportion to the magnitude and seriousness of the suffering to which prisoners are subjected.