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UNRWA exposes painful testimonies of prisoners from Gaza detained by Israel

March 4, 2024 at 11:24 am

Palestinians, holding photos of their relatives, gather to stage a demonstration on demanding release of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in Nablus, West Bank on February 20, 2024. [Nedal Eshtayah – Anadolu Agency]

An unpublished investigation conducted by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) “accuses Israel of abusing hundreds of Gazans captured during the war with Hamas [sic],” the New York Times has reported.

The report includes accounts from prisoners who said that they were “beaten, stripped, robbed, blindfolded, sexually abused and denied access to lawyers and doctors, often for more than a month.” It noted that the detainees included males and females whose ages ranged from 6 to 82, some of whom died in detention.

The report is “based on interviews with more than 100 of the 1,002 detainees who were released back to Gaza by mid-February.” It estimates that “3,000 other Gazans remain in Israeli detention without access to lawyers.”

One of the detainees was 25-year-old Fadi Bakr. The Gazan law student provided documentary evidence that he had been detained in Israel, and told the New York Times that he was “brutally beaten” throughout his detention at three makeshift Israeli military sites.

“Mr Bakr said that he was captured in Gaza City on 5 January and released in early February. He said that while he was held at a detention site near Beersheba, in southern Israel, he was beaten so badly that his genitals turned blue and that there was still blood present in his urine as a result,” explained the newspaper.

Bakr also told the NYT that “guards made him sleep naked in the open air, next to a fan blowing cold air, and played music so loudly that his ear bled.” It was noted that he was released “after the military appeared satisfied that he had no links to Hamas.”

READ: UNRWA says children in Gaza are dying slowly before our eyes