RAMALLAH, Wednesday, September 15, 2021 (WAFA) - Al-Haq and partner rights organizations submitted an urgent appeal to the UN special procedures calling for their urgent intervention to protect the lives of Palestinian prisoner escapees after their capture by the Israeli occupation forces over the weekend.
The Israeli occupation forces captured four of the six Palestinian prisoners' escapees from Gilboa Prison on Monday 6 September, Yacoub Qaderi, 49, Mahmoud Arda, 46, Zakaria Zubeidi, 46, and Mohammad Arda, 39.
“Our organizations stress our grave concern for the lives of the captured Palestinian prisoners who are now at imminent risk of torture and ill-treatment following their capture, especially given past documented Shabak torture practices, inflicting intentional severe pain and suffering. Further, our organizations remain deeply concerned at the use of collective punishment measures orchestrated by the Israeli authorities against all Palestinian prisoners under Israel’s effective control, as a reprisal for the six escapees,” the groups said in a statement.
“Despite the entrenched and absolute prohibition of torture under Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 2(2) of the Convention against Torture, which Israel ratified on 3 October 1991, and Article 32 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Israeli apartheid regime systematically through its policies and practices places detainees under severe physical and psychological ill treatment and degrading punishment. This includes forcing the detainees into torture stress positions for prolonged hours, beatings, physical assault, and sleep deprivation, which often leads to the detainees' collapse. These acts amount to war crimes and grave breaches under the Geneva Conventions, acts for which there is universal jurisdiction, and which are prosecutable at the International Criminal Court,” they added.
“Our organizations remind that the institution of a series of collective, punitive, retaliatory, and arbitrary measures by Israeli occupation authorities against Palestinian political prisoners—comprising over 4,700 Palestinian prisoners—arbitrarily held in Israeli prisons, as well as the targeting of the protected Palestinian civilian population residing in the occupied Palestinian territory, amounts to collective punishment, which is absolutely prohibited under Article 50 of Hague Regulations and Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. In particular, our organizations condemn the widespread and systematic mass arrest and illegal imprisonment of the Palestinian population, as inhumane acts of apartheid, acts amounting to crimes against humanity.”
The rights organizations called on the international community “to urgently intervene to protect the lives and health of the Palestinian prisoners, further reminding third States of their obligations to ensure the prohibition of torture as a jus cogens norm of international law, and to cooperate to bring the illegal situation to an end.“