PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 15/76/98
20 August 1998
Further information on EXTRA 04/98 (MDE 15/03/98, 9 January 1998) and follow-ups
(MDE 15/04/98, 12 January 1998; MDE 15/08/98, 5 February 1998; MDE 15/18/98,
3 March 98; MDE 15/19/98, 5 March 1998 and MDE 15/74/98, 11 August 1998) -
Torture and new concern: Health concern
’Abd al-Rahman Isma’il Ghanimat, 27
Amira Isma’il Ghanimat (f), 25, sister of above (released)
Rasmiya Isma’il Ghanimat (f), 22, sister of above, (all from
Amira Ghanimat was released on 20 August 1998 after spending just over two
weeks in incommunicado detention in the General Security service (GSS) wing
of the Moscobiyya Detention Centre.
Also on the same day the lawyer of Rasmiya Ghanimat was allowed to visit her
in detention. This follows a period of incommunicado detention of 16 days,
in violation of international human rights standards ratified by Israel. She
reported to her lawyer that her interrogation had been difficult and
humiliating. She also reported that, in protest, she had gone on hunger-strike
but that, after six days, she had been taken to hospital and fed, against her
will, by intravenous drip. Her condition is reportedly very poor.
‘Abd al-Rahman Ghanimat’s interrogation was extended today for a further 15
days during which time it is likely he will be tortured. His lawyer is still
not permitted to visit him. His sister, who saw him the previous week in the
prison hospital, said that his hands were very swollen from being handcuffed.
He is also apparently limping. He is believed to have been on hunger-strike
for at least two weeks, but since no one has been allowed to visit him it is
not known if this is still the case. ‘Abd al-Rahman Ghanimat has been in
detention since 13 November 1997 charged with offences which include aiding
a suicide bombing and murder. Much of this time he has spent in interrogation.
On 13 August 1998 the Israeli High Court of Justice, which was hearing two
petitions on the case submitted by the lawyer, Allegra Pacheco, imposed a total
information blackout, banning the mentioning of names, the existence of the
petitions and any other identifying details of the case. On 18 August the
High Court rejected petitions to visit the detainees and maintained its ban
on mentioning their names or place of residence.
Torture is effectively legalised in Israel and the Occupied Territories where
secret guidelines attached to the 1987 Landau report on the General Security
Service (GSS) allow the use of "moderate physical pressure" in interrogation.
Since October 1994 a special ministerial committee has allowed "increased
physical pressure". The Israeli Supreme Court has consistently accepted
arguments by the GSS that physical pressure on detainees is required due to
the threat to Israel’s security. Israeli methods of torture include, in
combination, systematic hooding with filthy sacks, sleep deprivation for up
to six days while the detainee is held in a painful position, raucous music
blaring out for 24 hours a day, being forced to squat like a frog and extremely