Female Child Detainees in
Ramle Prison Placed in Isolation
Provided by DCI/PS author
October 10, 2001
DCI/PS is gravely concerned with the deteriorating situation in Ramle Prison and the actions of the Prison Administration following a hunger strike by Palestinian female political detainees over the last week. The hunger strike began on 1 October following continuing problems with the prison administration and a recent raid by prison guards of the detainees' cells. As reported in the last DCI/PS Child Prisoner's Briefing, on 13 September prison guards stormed the cells of the three girl prisoners in Ramle and demanded their belongings for no reason. They then proceeded to severely beat the prisoners, and placed several of them in isolation cells. Following these events, the Prison Administration transferred the elected representative of the Palestinian female detainees, Amne Mona, to Abu Kabir Detention Center. This transfer prompted the prisoners in Ramle to launch a hunger strike demanding her return.
During the hunger strike, the detainees were refused milk and salt - two essential items that hunger strikers consume to preserve their strength. They were also forbidden from taking recreation time outside of their cells. Three female Palestinian child prisoners have been placed in isolation cells - Rab'a Hamael, has been isolated for two weeks while Sanaa Amer and Sawsan Abu Turki have been placed in isolation cells for one week. All of these girls are 14 years of age and at the time of writing remain in isolation. In addition, Su'ad Ghazal, who was arrested when she was 15 years old and recently turned 18 in prison, has also spent one week in isolation. Su'ad was 17 years old at the time of the prison guard attack on 13 September.
DCI/PS is particularly concerned with the condition of Sawsan Abu Turki, who was seen by a DCI/PS lawyer during a recent court session. On 6 September, fourteen year old Sawsan was arrested from a house in Hebron and accused of attempting to stab an Israeli soldier. She was kept in Abu Kabir Interrogation Centre along with adult Israeli criminal prisoners. The confession she was forced to sign was written in Hebrew, a language she doesn't understand. Sawsan has a medical report detailing psychological problems dating from 1998. In July this year, she was hit on the head by an Israeli soldier and hospitalized for three days.
Sawsan was recently transferred to Ramle Prison where she has been placed in an isolation cell. She urgently needs three types of medicine which her family has supplied but the Prison Administration has refused to pass on to her. She is suffering from visual impairment but the prison administration has refused to provide her with the necessary treatment.
According to DCI/PS' lawyer, Sawsan's condition has deteriorated drastically following her incarceration and particularly as a result of the extended period of time she has spent in isolation. During the nights of 4 and 5 October, Sawsan had her limbs spread and cuffed to the bed for the entire night. The DCI/PS lawyer witnessed severe cuts on her wrists due to the handcuffs. Her psychological state has deteriorated to such an extent that she can no longer clearly distinguish her identity; indeed, when asked her name she pointed at her wrists and told the DCI/PS lawyer, "This is my name," in reference to the fact that the prison guards refer to her as the "wounded."
DCI/PS requested that the court conduct an impartial and culturally sensitive psychological examination of Sawsan. The Court responded by appointing an Israeli psychologist, who visited Sawsan for approximately five minutes, filled in a questionnaire and pronounced her psychologically fit to stand trial. Such a conclusion clearly does not stand up to the facts nor medical reports provided by other doctors familiar with Sawsan's case, and DCI/PS is insisting that she be immediately removed from isolation and placed under prolonged psychological observation.
It should also be noted that Amne Mona remains in Abu Kabir Interrogation Centre, separated from the other prisoners at Ramle.
Defense for Children International/Palestine Section is an independent, Palestinian non-governmental organization, established in 1992 to promote and protect the rights of Palestinian children as articulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as in other international instruments.
DCI/PS, P.O. Box 55201, Jerusalem
Tel: +972 2 240 7530
Fax: +972 2 240 7018
(Note: please try and use +970, if the above country code does not work)
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