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Dear Sir,

I have been aware of the serious human rights abuses against Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.According to Amnesty International Annual Report 2003 on Israel and the Occupied Territories, Section “Mass arrests, detention and torture or ill-treatment of Palestinians”:

Ill-treatment was widespread during arrest and interrogation, and there were numerous reports of torture in detention. Detainees reported various forms of torture and ill-treatment, including beatings, being handcuffed and tied in uncomfortable positions for prolonged periods, threats to the detainee and their relatives, and sleep deprivation. At least one detainee died in custody after he was beaten.

The hunger strike campaign of the Palestinian political prisoners beginning 15 August again drew my attention to the gross violations of human rights and the appalling conditions under which Palestinian political prisoners are being detained in Israeli prisons. These include:

  • Arbitrary and indiscriminate beating of prisoners in their cells,in prison courtyards and during transportation to and from prisons.
  • Arbitrary and indiscriminate firing of tear gas into prisoner cells and prison courtyards and intimidation of prisoners by guards entering their cells with guns.
  • Humiliating strip searches of prisoners in full view of other prisoners and guards each time they enter or exit their cells
  • Subjecting prisoners to solitary confinement for excessive periods of time, for months and even years.
  • Severely restricting the category of family members entitled to visit prisoners thus denying visitation rights to other close family members.
  • Maintaining prisoners on near starvation diets that are insufficient to sustain health.

Such treatment and conditions violate not only international law but also the Israeli state rules intended to govern the administration of prisons. We would like to strongly urge you to stop the excessively harsh treatment of Palestinian political prisoners and to ensure that the conditions under which they are imprisoned are consistent with international norms of human rights and basic decency.

Yours sincerely,

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