A new report by Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer claims that Israeli officials “routinely” carry out the “practice of torture” at a key interrogation facility in occupied East Jerusalem.
The report, “I’ve Been There: A Study of Torture and Inhumane Treatment in Al-Moscobiyeh Interrogation Centre”, is based on the testimonies of 138 individuals held in the Russian Compound of Jerusalem gathered during the period 2015-2017.
“For generations of Palestinians, the Russian Compound has represented the most severe interrogation facility in all of the occupied territory,” Addameer states.
“It has been the place of intentionally inflicted suffering for hundreds of prisoners. Its location in the heart of Jerusalem, next to the Old City, is something of a metaphor for the whole apparatus of the occupation. The domination is hidden in plain sight.”
According to the testimonies acquired by Addameer, eight forms of abuse were identified at the facility: positional torture such as “stress positions”; beatings during interrogation; isolation/solitary confinement, sleep deprivation and long interrogation, threats to family members, being subjected to sounds of torture, deliberate medical neglect, and screaming and cursing.
More than half of those surveyed reported being held in stress positions; one 18-year-old former prisoner was held in a stress position for eight hours a day, for 18 days. A third of prisoners reported being beaten, while a fifth of individuals were subjected to violent shaking.
Addameer noted that “children are no exception when it comes to mistreatment and intimidation”, with 47.8 per cent reporting “that they were beaten during their arrest”, 45.5 per cent experiencing positional torture during interrogation, and 40.9 per cent “threatened with the potentially injuring of their families if they did not cooperate”.
According to the rights group, “the primary conclusion that the above research and indicators provide is that mistreatment, and coercion, amounting to torture, are commonplace and systematic within the occupation’s interrogation systems”.
Addameer added that “as a result of torture’s status in international law, the international community has a distinct responsibility to take action to sanction the perpetrating entity”, urging “the international community to begin sanctioning the occupier for its crimes”.