August 2, 2010

Israel tortures the oldest woman held captive

Palestinian captive women in Israeli Hasharon prison (Al Jazeera)
By Atef Douglas - Nablus 

Detained at the Jalama Israeli military center for almost two weeks now, is the oldest Palestinian citizen currently captive in Israeli prisons, the 57-year old Fathiya Suwais, where she is being tortured during interrogation and detention, without any charge brought against her.

The Guilt that she had committed was travelling abroad with her niece for medical treatment after her pain increased, her health and psychological condition worsened and treatment was impossible, but she returned to find the prison chains waiting for her.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, her sister Ikhlas said that she was detained after returning from Lebanon and Jordan, "where she was seeking a cure for my daughter."

She confirmed that, after exhausting all means and methods for the treatment of her daughter (12 years), from psychological illness - particularly after the arrest of her father and being sentenced to more than 35 years in prison - She knew that there are two doctors who treated her daughter’s disease, one in Israel and the other in Lebanon.

When she applied for permission to treat her daughter in Israel, the occupation’s authorities refused the request.

She went on explaining that she tried several times to travel to Lebanon, while her daughter’s conditions kept deteriorating more and more every day, but she wasn’t allowed by the occupation’s authorities to travel with her daughter. So she asked her sister -who was living with her in the West Bank- to travel with her daughter.

Solitary confinement:

She added “My sister and daughter went to Lebanon and stayed there for four days only, and then they went to Oman and stayed for two weeks. But a couple of days after they arrived at their home in Tulkarem, Israeli occupation forces stormed their home, arrested her and took her directly to the Jalama Israeli military center”.

Ikhlas said that since the arrest of her sister, the Israeli interrogators are subjecting her to the most degrading forms of treatment, as she is held in solitary confinement, subjected to several interrogation sessions every day, and banned for more than ten days from showering or even changing clothes, and added that "when allowed to shower they cut off the water".

She adds that the investigators had used all means of psychological pressure to force her to confess guilt she has not perpetrated, and threatened to bring her relatives to put pressure on her.

Fuad Al-Khafsh, director of the Ahrar center for prisoners’ studies and human rights warned that the occupation forces continue detaining the captive, noting that she has been presented to court without filing any charges against her.

He emphasized that the Shabak investigators deprived the old woman from sleep and forced her to stand for long hours while blindfolded and handcuffed without any consideration for her age or health condition, adding that the interrogators threatened to arrest her sisters and to keep her in custody if she did not confess to the charges leveled against her.

He pointed out that the occupation authorities are bringing false criminal charges against the captive woman, on the expectations that she met people in Lebanon and handed over letters to them, although she has presented official papers proving that she was seeking treatment for her niece.



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