Amnesty International has slammed the “legally-sanctioned” torture of a Palestinian prisoner at the hands of Israeli agents as “utterly outrageous”.
Samir Arbeed was arrested by Israeli occupation forces last week, and transferred to the custody of Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service.
On Saturday, he was moved to hospital after losing consciousness and suffering severe injuries, including broken ribs and kidney failure. He is “currently in a critical condition on a respirator.”
In a statement released yesterday, Amnesty International noted that Samir was “badly beaten” during his arrest, and then subsequently “tortured during interrogation”.
Citing Israeli media reports, the global rights group reported that a “judicial body” granted Shin Bet permission to “use exceptional ways to investigate” in his case, which, as Amnesty described, “sanction[ed] the use of methods amounting to torture during his interrogation”.
This authorised form of torture goes back to a 1999 Israeli Supreme Court ruling, which gave Shin Bet interrogators permission to use “physical” methods in so-called “ticking bomb” situations.
Since then, Amnesty stated, “Shin Bet operatives have tortured hundreds of Palestinians, citing the ‘ticking bomb’ scenario.”
While the Israeli Justice Ministry has reportedly launched an investigation into Arbeed’s torture, “historically no-one has ever been prosecuted for abuse in these circumstances”, Amnesty noted.
It is utterly outrageous that the use of torture during interrogations continues to be sanctioned by the Israeli authorities, from the Shin Bet, through the executive branch and all the way to the Supreme Court
said Saleh Higazi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Middle East Director.
“Under international treaties, which legally bind Israel, the use of torture cannot be justified under any circumstances. This case exposes Israel’s claims that its judiciary upholds human rights as a complete sham.”
Arbeed was first arrested on 26 August in connection with the killing of an Israeli next to an illegal West Bank settlement on 23 August. Held without charge, on 2 September a military court issued a three-month administrative order against him, only for him to be released soon after.
On 25 September, Israeli occupation forces re-arrested Arbeed.