HaMoked’s determined efforts to ensure accountability has exposed the most violent event to take place in an Israeli prison in recent years.
In March 2019, a Palestinian inmate in the Ketziot prison stabbed and injured a prison warden. Following this attack, wardens restrained dozens of inmates who had nothing to do with the stabbing and beat them repeatedly as they lay on the floor, bound and defenceless. Fifteen inmates were hospitalized for injuries sustained during the event, two in serious condition. The injuries included broken jaw bones and ribs, and lost teeth.
HaMoked’s Attorney Nadia Daqqa travelled to Ketziot soon after the incident to speak with the victims. It was 40 degrees Celsius inside the prison, and most of the prisoners were fasting for Ramadan, but they insisted on telling their stories, and many wanted complaints submitted in their name. Over the course of three visits, Attorney Daqqa took affidavits from thirteen detainees, and filed complaints on their behalf. The Israel Police decided to close the complaints after questioning only three of the wardens involved and taking testimony from four others.
Footage from prison security cameras was released in the course of HaMoked’s effort to appeal the closing of these complaints. The footage, recently published by Haaretz, shows a difficult-to-watch sequence of events: bound detainees are dragged and piled on the floor, and then repeatedly beaten and kicked by wardens.
“It’s a badge of shame that the investigative authorities closed these complaints, in spite of the clear video evidence, granting impunity for this brutal, wholesale violence against helpless people,” said Attorney Daqqa. “When this is the treatment of such a blatant case, it’s no wonder violence toward Palestinians is so common.”
We will continue to demand that the wardens involved in this shocking event be brought to justice. Only through accountability for all those responsible can we hope to end the far-too-common phenomenon of violence by Israeli security forces, particularly against Palestinians.
Executive Director of HaMoked