|Torture marks on the body of Haitham Amr|
By Khalid Amayreh
On Monday, 10 August, it was revealed that Fadi Hamadneh, died at the notorious Juneid lockup in Nablus . The circumstances of his death remain unclear as of the time of preparing this report, but his family and relatives are accusing security agents of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) of torturing him to death.
Hamadneh’s brother dismissed the official PA narrative that he committed suicide in his cell as “hogwash” and “blatant lies.”
He pointed out that his brother was a religious man and that it was inconceivable that he would embark on committing suicide. Suicide is a grave sin in Islam.
Hamadneh is the third Palestinian detainee to die as a result of alleged torture in PA custody this year.
Last week, Kamal Abu T’iema, a 45-year-old school teacher from the Fawwar Refugee camp near al Khalil, succumbed to a massive stroke he had suffered, reportedly as a result of relentless torture and harsh beating at the hands of PA interrogators in al-Khalil ( Hebron ).
In June, Haitham Amr, a nurse at the Ahli Hospital in Hebron , was beaten to death at the hands of the Mukhabarat (General Intelligence) interrogators in Hebron .
The scars of torture and his bluish body showed beyond doubt that he died of torture and that PA claims to the contrary were just brash lies.
PA security officials then claimed that he fell to his death from the third floor, a concocted lie meant to cover up the ghastly crime. Unfortunately, perjury is not treated as a crime in the PA enclaves, especially if the liars happen to be influential members of the security agencies.
The PA did order an investigation into Amr’s death. However, until now, no formal autopsy report as to the circumstances surrounding his death has been published. This alone caricatures the appalling status of the Justice system in the West Bank.
Even the routinely fabricated claim that a given victim of torture committed suicide should be utterly rejected as an excuse. After all, young people in the prime of their lives don’t just commit suicide out of nothing.
Actually, one doesn’t have to be a great psychologist or psychiatrist to realize that only deathly circumstances and macabre maltreatment of detainees push some of them to take their lives. People’s ability to withstand torture varies from one person to the other, and some people just can’t take anymore.
Torture is officially banned in PA jails and interrogation centers. PA officials, including Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his Prime Minister Salam Fayyad routinely declare that torture doesn’t exist in the PA enclaves.
Moreover, the PA government had issued clear instructions banning the use of torture. However, torture, in its most barbaric forms, continued to claim more and more innocent victims.
The killing of detainees by way of torturing them to death is not done by mistake. It is rather a deliberate and sadistic policy aimed at exacting revenge on Hamas supporters in the West Bank.
Inmates who have been released from PA jails and interrogation centers speak of hair-raising experiences in interrogation chambers. The torture takes many forms including the notorious shabh, sever beating, hanging for prolonged periods and sleep deprivation.
In some extreme cases, inmates are forced to sit down on broken bottles which cause serious mutilation to their rectums.
Having said that, it is important to point out that the PA leadership is not the only villain here. The European Union, the United States and others donors have a great share of the blame for these hideous crimes.
We all know that the PA is nearly completely dependent on foreign financial aid for its very survival. Indeed, the interrogators and torturers who knowingly and deliberately kill these unwept detainees receive their salaries from western and other donors. In other words, the European and American tax-payers are effectively funding torture in PA jails and interrogation centers.
This writer has repeatedly urged EU officials to exert pressure on the PA government to make genuine and decisive efforts to end torture.
However, all my calls apparently fell on deaf ears as the EU has been silent as if the issue of torture was irrelevant and didn’t constitute a moral priority.
This is why, the victims of torture and their families should explore the possibility of suing the foreign donors and bankrollers of the PA for compensation and punitive damages.
It is really sad that EU states which don’t stop preaching to us on the virtues of democracy and human rights happen to be willing accomplices to murder.
Now, for the umpteenth time, we call on EU ambassadors and diplomats in the occupied Palestinian territories to raise this paramount issue with PA leaders.
Do it now before more innocent people are lost to these dark chambers in Nablus and Ramallah and Hebron .
Your silence and indifference will only be construed by the PA and its human rights-unfriendly security agencies as amounting to condoning and encouraging torture.
So, on behalf of the bulk of Palestinians who value freedom and human rights, especially the right to life, I want to communicate the following message to Europeans and Americans and others who keep the PA afloat:
Please don’t kill us by your money, don’t fund torture, and don’t bankroll human rights violations in our tormented country. Be true to your own declared values and ideals.
We already have had more than enough of Israeli savagery and barbarianism at the hands of the Israeli occupation army and the Nazi-like Jewish settlers.
So, must we be further tormented, tortured and killed by our own people who claim to be protecting us and safeguarding our vital interests?