SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)-Abdulhakim Bawatna, the former dean of the Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli jails, said that the suffering and the anguish of the detainees and the non-stop punishments against prisoners portend an explosion in the Israeli prisons.
Bawatna, in an interview with the PIC, stressed the importance of organizing popular activities in support of prisoners.
He called, in this respect, for putting an end to the harassments and assaults on citizens who organize such solidarity events, such as storming solidarity tents and abusing the detainees’ wives and families during solidarity rallies.
A silent war
Bawatna pointed out that the situation in Israeli prisons is really hard, especially after the administrative detainees’ hunger strike and the war on Gaza.
He clarified that Israel jailors raid and search the prisoners’ rooms during the night, and summoning special units including the Metsada, Yamas and Nahshon to break into prisoners’ rooms while sleeping.
The ex-detainee pointed to some unjust penalties including denying family visits and access to the prison canteen, in addition to depriving the prisoners of their financial allocations and their TV sets or turning all channels off and imposing financial penalties on them especially those who participated in the hunger strike.
Bawatna charged that IOF soldiers were taking revenge on the prisoners during the Gaza conflict by imposing more psychological and physical punishments on them, especially after the failure of the Israeli military aggression on Gaza.
He described such practices as failed attempts to humiliate the Palestinian people by targeting their prisoners and to undermine the high morale of the Palestinians after the resistance’s victory.
Torturing the detainees
He also mentioned that many detainees were brutally tortured during the so-called “military investigation”, causing them serious health problems, physical injuries and some of them couldn’t even walk or stand up for days; furthermore; they were deprived of medical treatment and were totally neglected.
As for the news about a “famine” in the Negev desert prison, Bawatna said: “the prison administration recently reduced the quantity of food served to the detainees who were mainly depending on the canteen, but the Israeli Prison Service also deprived them of the money they used to get from their families and so they could not buy from the canteen”.
A new dean
Bawatna said that after his release, “Mahmoud Shalatoh is the dean now; he was arrested in early May, 2012 and served 29 months of administrative detention periods. He hails from Aboud village, south of Ramallah, and is held in Negev prison.
He noted that the number of the administrative detainees is about 500 after the latest arrest campaign last June, adding that only few of them were released.
And he quoted the detainees as saying that the popular solidarity activities, which coincided with the administrative hunger strike, was below the required level while the media reaction was satisfying.
He said the detainees need popular solidarity rallies and activities especially that they are being severely punished. The detainees have recently witnessed the worst conditions in years, and they are expected to take some steps so as to gain some of their rights back, he added.
Bawatna was detained on several past occasions and served more than five years in the Israeli occupation jails on aggregate.