Torture and Ill-Treatment

Israel’s Interrogation of Palestinians from the Occupied Territories

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Despite the historic peace process that is under way in the Middle East, Israel’s interrogation agencies in the occupied territories have continued to engage in a systematic pattern of torture and ill-treatment. Well over 100,000 Palestinians have been detained since the start of the intifada in 1987. Of these, thousands have been subjected to severe abuse under interrogation, including many detained since Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed the Declaration of Principles in September 1993. The dominant interrogation strategy is a coordinated, rigid and increasingly painful regime of physical constraints and psychological pressure applied over several days, and often for weeks at a time, on detainees who are held without charge and usually without access to a lawyer. The chief methods include prolonged sleep deprivation, the use of blindfolds or tight-fitting hoods, shackling or otherwise forcing detainees into body positions that grow increasingly painful, prolonged toilet and hygiene deprivation, and verbal threats and insults. Many, but not all, detainees are also beaten during rounds of questioning. The extraction of statements under these coercive conditions compromises the fairness of the military courts that try Palestinians in the occupied territories. Human Rights Watch calls on the government of Israel to end the practice of torture and ill-treatment of detainees under interrogation, by adhering to and enforcing the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which Israel acceded to in 1991.