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Addameer Stands in Solidarity with Palestinian Victims of Torture

United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture 2010

Jeudi, 24 juin 2010 - 13h34

Thursday 24 June 2010


L’effrayant bilan (trés partiel) des ignominieuses exactions de l’Etat bourreau dont vous devinez le nom !

Le Comité de rédaction


[Ramallah, 24 June 2010]

As the United Nations and the world commemorates the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June 2010, Addameer stands in solidarity with Palestinians prisoners who have suffered the devastating effects of torture and ill treatment, and unequivocally condemns all forms of such treatment in Israeli and Palestinian prisons, interrogation facilities and detention centers.

The right to be free from torture is a fundamental and non-derogable right, guaranteed to all human beings, regardless of detention status. As a state-party to the most essential conventions and treaties protecting this right, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and especially, the United Nations Convention Against Torture,[1] Israel is under unquestionable international legal obligation to ensure that all prisoners are free from torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.[2]

Moreover, a series of 1999 holdings by the Israeli High Court placed some restrictions on the harsh and tortuous interrogation tactics prevalent throughout the detention system, stating that physical means of interrogation that are not “reasonable and fair” and that cause the detainee to suffer are illegal.[3]

Nevertheless, despite the international and domestic legal restrictions on prison and detention authorities, Addameer continues to document an alarming number of cases of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, from their arrest to their interrogation and throughout their detention.

Since the United Nations commemorated its last Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June 2009, Addameer has documented an astonishing number of egregious violations, particularly against women, children and administrative detainees.

Numerous other human rights organizations, including the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel[4] and Defense of Children International – Palestine Section,[5] have also documented an alarming number of cases of torture and ill-treatment in recent months.

Although the use of torture and ill-treatment is routine among Palestinians arrested by Israel, a few recent cases include:

■Loai Sati Mohammad Ashqar, 33, an administrative detainee forced to suffer days on end in the stress position known as the “banana” position, in which the detainee is shackled while bent backwards over a chair. Three of Loai’s vertebrates were broken due to this torture, and due to further negligence by prison officials, his condition led to complete paralysis of his left leg. Loai must spend the rest of his life confined to a wheelchair.[6]

■Nelli Zahi As’ad Sa’id As-Safadi, 33, a female administrative detainee, was also forced to endure painful stress positions, as well as sleep deprivation and threats of further physical and psychological abuse. Israeli interrogators routinely used Nelli’s family members as a means of psychological torture, going so far as to arrest her mother-in-law, 67, and her young nephew.[7]

■Moatasem Raed Younis Muzher, 17, also an administrative detainee, was subjected to psychological ill-treatment with constant threats of being sent to Moskobiyyeh, an interrogation center in Jerusalem notorious for its torture of Palestinians.[8]

■Hassan Yousef Hassan Dabak, 29, (see annexed case) in addition to being subjected to harsh interrogation tactics for weeks on end, was deliberately thrown down the stairs by his interrogators while he was blindfolded and his hands and feet were shackled. Unable to catch himself or brace his fall, Hassan landed with the brunt of the force of the fall on his left side and cracked his pelvis.[9]

Moreover, Addameer remains extremely concerned with the recent deaths of Raed Muhammad Ahmad Hammad in Israeli detention on 16 April 2010 and Muhammad Abdul Salam Abdeen in Ramleh Prison on 10 June 2010. Full investigative reports into the cause of death have not been issued in either case. Addameer demands that Israeli authorities permit an independent body to conduct the full and necessary inquiries that their families deserve.

Additionally, Addameer condemns the increased prevalence of torture in Palestinian Authority prisons and detention centers, particularly against political prisoners, as well as the recent executions by Palestinian authorities in the Gaza Strip and urges all Palestinian authorities to denounce these devastating practices and to employ their own standards aligned with international law.

In summary, to commemorate this June 26 and to truly stand in solidarity with all Palestinian victims of torture, Addameer urges In Kofi Annan’s words, “take action to defeat torture and torturers everywhere.”[10]

Addameer therefore strongly urges the international community, particularly including the United Nations and relevant bodies and agencies, as well as all UN Member States to take note of these appalling practices and:
■Immediately intervene with Israeli and Palestinian authorities and pressure both to adhere to their international legal obligations.■Support the creation of independent monitoring and investigation of all cases of torture and ill-treatment by Israeli and Palestinian authorities; and■Follow individual cases of torture and ill-treatment against Palestinian prisoners and detainees and raise these cases with the relevant authorities.

Addameer further demands that the Israeli and Palestinian authorities:
■Immediately halt all use of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as is unequivocally required by international law;■Promptly and effectively investigate all allegations of torture and ill-treatment, and ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted and, if applicable, appropriate penalties are imposed; and,■Incorporate torture as defined in article 1 of the Convention Against Torture as a crime under both Israeli and Palestinian domestic legislation.

Finally, Addameer encourages individuals to take action in defense of all Palestinian prisoners, particularly including those subjected to torture and ill-treatment by Israeli and Palestinian authorities by:
■Writing letters to prisoners in detention. While we request that you send the personal letters directly to the prison facilities, please copy Addameer at info@addameer.ps so that we can keep track of the letters of support. You may also contact Addameer directly to organize an educational event and/or presentation on Palestinian prisoners. ■Contact the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to demand an immediate cessation of all prohibited methods of treatment, and accountability for all cases of torture and ill-treatment.■Contact your own elected officials and urge them to intervene with Israel and the Palestinian authorities on this important subject.


“Although he was standing several meters away, I was sure that it was his goal to see that I was kicked and pushed down the stairs. He wanted to see me fall.”

Date of birth: 15 April 1981
Place of residence: Tiyasir Tubas, near Jenin
Date of arrest: 4 December 2007
Place of detention: Ofer Prison

Postal Address:
Ofer Prison
Givat Zeev
P.O. Box 3007
via Israel


On 14 December 2007, Hassan Yusef Hassan Dabak was accosted by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) as he walked down a Jericho street. He found himself suddenly surrounded by military vehicles on either side and faced with a barrage of raised weapons. An Israeli military commander approached Hassan, asked him for his name and slapped him across the face. The soldiers then handcuffed him, placed a black bag over his head and transported him to the Israeli police station at the Jericho District Coordination Office (DCO).

While Hassan waited at the DCO, handcuffed to a chair, IOF soldiers mocked and laughed at him, called him a terrorist, and photographed him. The IOF then transported Hassan to Moskobiyyeh, an interrogation center within the main police station in West Jerusalem notorious for the violence used by Israeli interrogators against Palestinians detained there. Although Jerusalem is less than fifty kilometers from Jericho, the trip took more than twelve hours due to frequent stops. Hassan remained shackled at both his hands and legs in the back of the military vehicle the entire time.


After finally arriving to Moskobiyyeh and getting a few hours of sleep, Hassan was taken in for interrogation. The interrogator began by quickly asking a series of ordinary questions, but soon thereafter started accusing him of involvement in the deaths of IOF soldiers that occurred during an Israeli military invasion of the Jenin refugee camp. Hassan consistently maintained his innocence regarding these accusations.

For the next twenty days, Hassan was interrogated at Moskobiyyeh, cuffed for long periods to his chair and struggling to get sleep during the rare breaks in questioning.

During this period, the Israeli interrogators used a variety of tactics in attempts to extract a confession from Hassan. They showed him statements in Arabic and told him that they were confessions from others in Hassan’s village regarding the same incidents featured in the interrogators’ allegations. They threatened to arrest his family and to “throw him to the gallows,” referencing an English-era gallows that allegedly still exists in Moskobiyyeh. They brought in alleged witnesses to the killings to face him. Hassan says that one of the witnesses, a very young boy, implicated him while the intelligence officer was in the room. However, as soon as the officer left, the boy told Hassan that he had been beaten and threatened into confessing as well.

Following his first twenty days of interrogation at Moskobiyyeh, Hassan was repeatedly transferred back and forth between interrogation facilities. Addameer notes with concern that this tactic is frequently used by Israeli authorities to disorient and discourage detainees, maximize the fear and uncertainty they feel and prevent contact with their lawyers and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Hassan recollects that at certain points throughout his interrogation he spent time in Ashkelon and Kishon (Al Jalameh) interrogation centers.

On one afternoon at Kishon, approximately two months into his interrogation, a new interrogator began questioning Hassan. The interrogator only spoke a little Arabic, enough to continue to try to pressure Hassan into confessing to crimes that he did not commit. Hassan says that when he refused to confess, the interrogator began yelling at him and acting increasingly frantic. The interrogator at this point seemed quite nervous and ordered the guards to take Hassan back to his cell. The guards grabbed him and shackled his arms and legs.

The guards then forced Hassan through the doorway of the interrogation cell and out into the hall near the top of a flight of stairs. Suddenly, Hassan felt a sharp blow to his back, as he was kicked hard down the stairs. With his legs and arms still shackled, he could do nothing to break his fall. He landed at the bottom with brunt force on the left side of his pelvis.

Hassan felt pain as soon as he got up. It was light at first, but as he walked, it progressively worsened. He was taken to the hospital, and after taking x-rays, he was told that he had fractured his pelvis.

In recalling this incident, Hassan speaks of his premonition that the interrogators meant him physical harm. Of one interrogator in particular, who was present when he was kicked, he states:

Although he was standing several meters away, I was sure that it was his goal to see that I was kicked and pushed down the stairs. He wanted to see me fall.

Israeli prison authorities fail to provide proper medical treatment

Hassan received no legitimate medical treatment following the incident, aside from the frequent dosing of painkillers by prison clinic personnel. He was also transferred several times between detention facilities, including, he believes, back to Kishon and then to Rimonim Prison north of Tel Aviv.

After seven months in Rimonim, Hassan was transferred to Section 11 of Ofer Prison near Ramallah. He was initially detained in the tents at Ofer, which were extremely detrimental to his physical condition, which remained poor. In particular, Hassan’s pain was exacerbated by the cold temperatures in the tents at night, especially during the winter months, and the restroom facilities featuring squat toilets, which were very difficult for Hassan to use because of his untreated injury.

After numerous requests and complaints, Hassan was finally transferred to an interior cell at Ofer. He reports that his cellmates during this period assisted him as they are able when he woke from the pain at night. Hassan remains detained at Ofer Prison at present.

Addameer submits that the Israeli interrogators’ treatment of Hassan during interrogation, including the use of severe physical violence in kicking Hassan, bound at the wrists and ankles, down a flight of stairs, rises to the level of torture in violation of the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment.[11]


On 20 December 2008, Hassan was convicted in the Israeli military courts on charges of possession of weapons and explosives and for serving as a commander in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. He was sentenced to five and a half years in prison and ordered to pay a 3,000 NIS fine (approximately $785 USD).

Addameer has long observed that the Israeli military courts operate in all cases in blatant disregard for and violation of fundamental international fair trial standards, meaning that it is impossible for anyone brought before the courts to receive a fair trial. Moreover, Addameer submits that Hassan’s conviction before the military courts reflects the arbitrary nature of prosecutions handed down by the Israeli military justice system – as the offenses for which he was sentenced bear no connection to the focus of his interrogation.


Hassan still suffers from severe pain in his back and leg as a result of being kicked down the stairs, yet to date the only treatment he receives is painkillers. In addition to his physical injury, Hassan reports that he has also become addicted to the painkillers.

In August 2009, more than a year and a half after his injury at the hands of Israeli interrogators, he was transferred to Ramleh Prison Hospital where he received physical therapy treatment, which he says alleviated much of his pain. However, after only two months, he was transferred back to Ofer. His pleas with prison administration to be returned to Ramleh for treatment have been ignored.

Due to the nature of Hassan’s injury, many treatment methods are unavailable, including surgery and casting. However, physical therapy and a brace-like device would offer him significant relief. His family is prepared to bear the costs of either treatment, but the IPS has rejected all of their efforts.


Hassan’s family includes his father, mother, eight brothers and six sisters. The family has suffered from the detrimental effects of Israeli imprisonment for years, as Hassan’s father was also imprisoned by Israel, for six months in 1974 and from 1989 to 1994.

Because Hassan is held in an Israeli prison facility inside Israel, in violation of international laws that require occupying powers to hold detainees in facilities inside occupied territory,[12] his family must apply for permits in order to visit him. Overall, however, Hassan’s family has been denied the necessary permits to visit him in prison, with the exception of his mother who has been permitted to visit her son monthly. As all immediate family members between the ages of 16 and 45 are not even permitted to apply for permits, the majority of his family have been unsuccessful in securing a permit. Moreover, several of Hassan’s brothers are permanently unable to obtain these permits under the vague guise of “for security reasons.”

Hassan’s father has also been banned from visiting his son “for security reasons.” Prior to his ban, his father was granted permission to visit Hassan at Ofer Prison. However, when he arrived to the visitation room, prison officials told him that he needed to speak with intelligence officers first. When he refused to see them and insisted on seeing his son, they forced Hassan’s father to wait outside near the outer prison gate until the visitation period was over.

The last time Hassan’s father saw his son was at Hassan’s last court appearance on 20 December 2008, where he was only able to see his son from afar for a few moments.


Here is how you can help Hassan Dabak:
■Write to your own elected representatives urging them to pressure Israel to abide by all relevant international legal obligations, to ensure accountability for the human rights violations to which Hassan has been subjected, and to ensure that Hassan immediately receives the medical treatment that he needs.■Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand:◦An immediate halt to all use of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as is unequivocally required by international law;◦An immediate and impartial investigation into the incident in which Hassan was kicked down a flight of stairs while in Israeli detention, and meaningful prosecution of and accountability for all those responsible;◦That all allegations of torture and ill-treatment are promptly and effectively investigated and perpetrators prosecuted and, if applicable, appropriate penalties are imposed; and,◦That Israel incorporate torture as defined in article 1 of the Convention Against Torture as a crime under Israeli domestic legislation.■Send Hassan letters of support to his postal address in prison.

For more information about Hassan’s case or about torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli prisons and detention centers, please visit our website at www.addameer.info, or contact us directly:

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
P.O. Box 17338
Tel: +972 (0)2 296 0446 / 297 0136
Fax: +972 (0)2 296 0447
Email: info@addameer.ps

[1] The United Nations selected 26 June as its International Day in Support of Victims of Torture to mark the day that the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment ratified by the necessary number of states and came into effect – 26 June 1987.
[2] Universal Declaration of Human Rights art. 5 (1948); International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights art. 7 (1976); Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1987).
[3] HCJ 5100/94 Pub. Comm. Against Torture in Isr. v. Israel [1999] IsrSC 53(4) 817.
[4] See generally, website of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (available at: http://www.stoptorture.org.il/en).
[5] See Defense of Children International – Palestine Section, DCI-Palestine submits 50 cases of ill-treatment to the UN Committee Against Torture, 7 June 2010 (available at: http://www.dci-pal.org/english/display.cfm?DocId=1510&CategoryId=1).
[6] Loai Sati Mohammad Ashqar profile, http://addameer.info/?p=1630 (last visited 23 June 2010).
[7] Nelli Zahi As’as Sa’id As-Safadi profile, http://addameer.info/?p=1606 (last visited 23 June 2010).
[8] Moatasem Raed Younis Muzher profile, http://addameer.info/?p=1668 (last visited 23 June 2010).
[9] Hassan Yusef Hassan Dabak profile, (last visited 24 June 2010).
[10] International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, http://www.un.org/events/torture/bkg.htm (last visited 23 June 2010).
[11] Article 2(2) of the UN Convention Against Torture provides that: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”
[12] Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949, article 76.