Israeli jail center whistleblowers report rampant mistreatment

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By Creative Media News

  • Whistleblowers report severe abuse of prisoners at Sde Teiman
  • Detainees face inhumane conditions: shackling, poor hygiene, malnutrition
  • Israeli army defends actions; claims high-risk detainees handled appropriately

According to two whistleblowers who worked at the site, prisoners at an Israeli detention camp in the Negev desert are being subjected to widespread physical and mental abuses. At least one reported case involves a man having his limb amputated as a result of injuries sustained from constant handcuffing. 

The sources detailed the harrowing treatment of detainees at the Israeli Sde Teiman camp, which is home to Palestinians from Gaza and suspected Hamas militants. Inmates are frequently shackled to hospital beds, blindfolded, and compelled to don nappies. 

The facility, situated approximately 18 miles from the Gaza border, is divided into two distinct sections per the two sources. The first section is an enclosure in which up to 200 Palestinian detainees from Gaza are confined under severe physical restrictions within cages. The second section is a field hospital in which dozens of patients with war injuries are handcuffed to their beds and frequently denied pain relief. 

Detainees were compelled to either sit on their knees for hours or stand for hours, according to a whistleblower who has served as a prison officer at the facility. The source, who spoke out at the risk of reprisals, stated that numerous detainees were rendered incapable of speaking or moving their heads at the facility due to the use of truncheons. 

“The prisoners are blindfolded and handcuffed in the form of a cage,” the source stated. “If an individual speaks or moves, they are either immediately silenced or compelled to stand with their hands raised above their head and handcuffed for a maximum of one hour.” 

“The soldiers secure the handcuffs to the cage’s bars if they cannot raise their hands.” Many of the detainees were not receiving adequate treatment for their infected wounds. 

He also stated, “The floor is filthy, and the odour is so unbearable that we were compelled to wear face masks.” Occasionally, you could hear the sound of an assault, their screams, and a banging sound that resembled a collision with the metal wall. 

The whistleblower alleges that prisoners were provided with a single cucumber, a few slices of bread, and a cup of cheese and that some of them were visibly emaciated. 

The source asserted that the military lacked evidence to support the assertion that all detainees were members of Hamas, and some captives inquired as to why they were being held. The whistleblower stated that most individuals were regarded as suspects, and a few were subsequently released. “However, they had not been officially charged.” He described it as a provisional detention facility akin to a filtering camp. 

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) reported that all Gazan residents who have been detained are classified as “unlawful combatants” since the beginning of the war. This classification deprives them of prisoner of war status, allowing Israel to prohibit lawyers’ visits for extended periods. Consequently, there is a lack of critical oversight during a period of increased risk of severe incarceration conditions and torture. According to the report, the camp must be closed. 

According to data acquired from the Israeli prison service in early April, 849 individuals were being held in its custody and were classified as “unlawful combatants.” 

According to the source, the field hospital in the detention camp was comprised of tents and an emergency chamber, where patients were operated on using a stretcher due to the absence of an operating table. The patients were blindfolded, had their hands bound to their beds, and were all wearing nappies. 

He asserted that he was informed that certain patients had originated from facilities in Gaza. These were patients who were apprehended by the Israeli army while receiving treatment in Gaza hospitals and transported to this location.” They possessed infected wounds and appendages. They moaned in agony. 

According to him, in one instance, he discovered that a detainee’s hand had been amputated “because the wrists had become gangrenous due to handcuffing wounds.”. 

Izz ad-Din al-Bana, a 34-year-old Gaza resident who was reliant on a wheelchair before his arrest, was the subject of the PHR report. He passed away at a different medical facility in February after being transferred from Sde Teiman to receive treatment for extensive pressure ulcers. He was alleged to have been complaining of pain for several days and not receiving an appropriate response or treatment from other inmates. 

He stated that there were approximately 15 patients in total, all of whom were blindfolded and shackled. “They were draped in blankets, wore diapers, and were completely naked.” Some of them had endured amputations, while others had undergone major abdominal or chest surgery. The majority of them appeared to have apparent war injuries. They were nearly barefoot, except for a diaper. 

The medical staff member further stated, “I comprehend that it is challenging to treat a patient who has been accused of heinous crimes; however, it is the profession we have chosen, and as physicians, we should acknowledge that every human being has the right to appropriate healthcare, irrespective of their background.” 

The source reported that he observed a patient undertake painful medical procedures without the use of painkillers. 

The Israel Defense Forces stated in response to the allegations, stating that “among the detainees held at the Sde Teiman facility are skilled military operatives at a very high level of danger.” Detainees are restrained by their health status and the level of risk they pose.

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“To ensure that the detainees are not harmed during the handcuffing process, routine procedures are implemented.” The type of handcuffs in the facility was modified to minimize the potential harm caused by the handcuffs following reports of handcuff injuries during the early stages of the conflict. 

It was further stated that detainees were granted regular access to the toilets within the prison complex. Napkins were exclusively employed for those who had undertaken medical procedures that restricted their mobility and were intended to preserve their hygiene. 

The IDF stated that it treated detainees “appropriately and carefully” and that “any allegation regarding misconduct by IDF soldiers is examined and dealt with accordingly.” The military police initiate criminal investigations in appropriate circumstances.

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