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Palestinian girl "subjected to cruel treatment" in Israeli prison

The Mandela Institute has reported that a Palestinian girl has been subjected to "cruel interrogation and detention" following her abduction by Israeli Occupation Forces. The Institute, which is concerned about the rights of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, claims that Bushra Jamal El Taweel, 17, the daughter of the mayor of El Bierah in the Occupied West Bank, was taken from her father's home in August.

According to Buthaina Dukmak, a lawyer and the head of the Mandela Institute, Bushra was in three detention centres in Beit Eil and Askelon inside Israel before she could be seen in HaSharon Prison. She had been subject to what amounted to torture and kept in solitary confinement for 11 days.

The girl told Ms Dukmak that 13 interrogators questioned her while she was handcuffed behind her back. It is alleged that they threw insults at her and threatened to harm her family; photographs were also taken of the girl while she was handcuffed, added Ms Dukmak. Bushra, she said, was "deprived of her rights" and was not allowed to pray. "I was hardly allowed to use the bathroom," the girl said.

Buthaina Dukmak said that Miss El Taweel had spoken of her "journey of misery" pre-trial.

"The Prison administration sent me three times to the court although no trial date had been agreed," Bushra told the lawyer. "They sent me to the court in a closed armoured car with no fresh air or daylight as a form of punishment and revenge." Prisoners sit in the car on an iron seat, hands and feet cuffed, for many hours. They claim that the car has a horrible smell and is hot in summer and cold in winter.

Miss El Taweel's meeting with Dumkak was her first meeting with a prisoners' rights organisation, as she had been prevented by the Israelis from meeting a representative of the International Red Cross. Although the court ordered her release, Israeli intelligence services intervened and prevented the implementation of the court order. Hence, although she has not been charged, the 17 year-old is still being kept in detention by the Israeli Occupation Authorities.

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