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'Painful testimony' of female Palestinians beaten in Israel jails

December 11, 2023 at 10:42 am

People gather to stage a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) building in Ramallah, West Bank on October 31, 2023. [Issam Rimawi – Anadolu Agency]

Female Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel are being beaten and abused by guards, the Commission for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners’ Affairs reported yesterday.

Highlighting the plight of 50-year-old Zainab Abu Sajdiyah, the rights group said was detained after occupation forces raided her family home in the Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank at around 3am on 27 November. No details were given for her arrest.

Zainab said she was tied up and blindfolded, then forced to walk to the military jeep, which transferred her to the Hasharon Prison. Once at the prison gate, an Israeli soldier pulled her hair, and a female soldier slapped her in the face.

“They deliberately pushed me so hard and stepped on my feet while I was going down the stairs, then they strip-searched me. During the inspection, I was beaten and a cup of water was thrown at me… One of the female soldiers ordered me to go out while I was almost naked, but I refused, so she tore off my coat… I wanted to button my coat up so she stopped me, then they put me in a cell with other female prisoners which lack the minimum necessities of life,” she explained.

Watch: A 5-month pregnant Palestinian threatened to be raped by Israeli soldiers 

“The female guard came in and beat us. She slapped me and hit me all over my body with her fist. I received severe blows on my stomach; I felt like I could no longer breathe. They also tightened the handcuffs on my hands until my hands swelled.”

Later, she was then transferred to the notorious Damon Prison and was allowed to visit the clinic where she told the medical team there that she had been suffering from cancer since 2009 and needed check ups.

A mother of five, Zinab is due to appear in court today. Two of her children are in Israeli detention.

It is estimated that 55 female Palestinian prisoners are being held in Damon Prison, including two pregnant women and 15 women from Gaza.