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Israel forced women in Gaza to abandon their children then detained them

December 18, 2023 at 9:15 am

Displaced Palestinians, taking shelter in hospitals and schools, walk amid destruction as a result of Israeli attacks to check on their homes and collect their items remain intact as the 4-day humanitarian pause begins for prisoner exchange and aid in Khan Yunis, Gaza on November 24, 2023. [Ashraf Amra – Anadolu Agency]

The Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners’ Affairs Commission has warned that Israel is subjecting Palestinian female prisoners held in Damoun Prison, especially those randomly arrested from the besieged Gaza Strip, to “inhumane” treatment and “horrific” detention conditions including severe punishments on a daily basis.

In a report issued yesterday, the rights group quoted its lawyer saying that since 7 October, Israeli occupation forces have launched a massive arrest campaign in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem, inside Israel and in Gaza, specifically targeting female prisoners, who were tortured and abused from the moment of their arrest.

“The female prisoners were subjected to degrading treatment including beating and insults, strip searches, isolation and deprivation of the most basic rights,” the lawyer said.

The prison administration deliberately singled out female detainees from the besieged Gaza Strip for the worst type of torture, according to one female prisoner.

In her testimony, the prisoner said: “A few days ago, an elderly woman [80 years old] from Gaza arrived at the department, walking on a crutch and without a cover on her head. Her body and clothes were covered with blood and she appeared to suffer from Alzheimer’s.”

According to the report, all the female prisoners from the Gaza Strip had their clothes taken away and replaced with summer clothes, and had been tortured before arriving at Damoun Prison and were subjected to physical and verbal abuse.

“Some of them had spent seven days outdoors in the rain and in the cold, and all of them arrived at the prison in a deplorable condition both physically and psychologically.”

The report lists the case of a female prisoner from Gaza who is a mother of four children and who was forced to hand her children to an unknown man in the street when she was detained.

“Other female prisoners were also forced to leave their children in the street when they were arrested by the Israeli army forces,” the detainee said.

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