Aggressione della polizia israeliana contro manifestanti, minacciati anche di stupro
di Sawsan Khalife Attivista politico e giornalista a Shefa-Amr nella Galilea – Palestina.
Diciassette attivisti, compreso un minorenne, sono stati brutalmente arrestati durante una manifestazione autorizzata, svoltati il 3 maggio vicino alla prigione di Ramle, in sostegno ai prigionieri palestinesi in sciopero della fame. Alcuni manifestanti sono stati trattenuti nel centro medico della prigione.
I manifestanti hanno passato la notte nella stazione di polizia di Ramle e sono stati portati davanti al tribunale di Petach Tikva, il giorno seguente. Dopo aver esaminato le “prove segrete” presentate dalla polizia, un giudice ha imposto tre giorni di arresti domiciliari e ha proibito agli attivisti qualsiasi contatto tra di loro per 15 giorni; li ha anche multati di centinaia di shekel per disturbo della quiete pubblica.
Il 6 maggio, il gruppo palestinese per i diritti umani, Adalah, ha presentato un esposto urgente al capo dell’unità investigativa della polizia presso il ministro della Giustizia di Israele, chiedendo un’inchiesta sugli arresti e i maltrattamenti dei 17 manifestanti.
In un comunicato stampa diramato il 7 maggio da Adalah si legge: “alle 6:45 circa del pomeriggio, dopo che la manifestazione era finita e che la maggioranza dei partecipanti se n’era andata, diverse persone restavano a manifestare. La manifestazione non richiedeva alcun permesso da parte israeliana, stando alla normativa. Nonontante ciò, la polizia israeliana ha aggredito violentemente il gruppo di manifestanti, pestandoli e lanciando contro di essi gas lacrimogeni. Tale comportamento è continuato anche quando i ragazzi avevano già i polsi ammanettati.
Otto manifestanti sono stati arrestati.
Adalah riferiche che “dopo i primi arresti, alcuni manifestanti si sono diretti alla stazione di polizia per chiedere informazioni sui compagni arrestati, ma una volta entrati, anche questi sono stati aggrediti e picchiati, e con l’arresto degli altri nove”.
Adalah sottolinea come “questo episodio non sua altro che l’ennesimo fatto pertinente alla sistematica brutalità di Israele contro i palestinesi cittadini di Israele, contro la loro libertà d’espressione”.
Manifestanti ricoverati in ospedale. Ward Kayal, 16 anni, è stata condannata agli arresti domiciliari. La ragazzina ha testimoniato l’effettivo ricorso della forza da parte israeliana contro i manifestanti.
“Eravamo circa 200 e, sebbene la manifestazione avesse ottenuto l’autorizzazione della polizia, Yassam (unità speciale israeliana) non ha esitato ad aggredirci.
“Ci hanno scaraventato per terra, riempendoci di botte e io ho contusioni su tutto il corpo. Io soffro e ho avuto alcune complicazioni alla pressione. Dopo l’arresto, intorno alle sei pomeridiane, ora locale, ci hanno legato mani e piedi, a tutti, sparandoci addosso scariche elettriche. Mentre infierivano fisicamente ci offendevano verbalmente.
“Come aveva fatto già mia madre, con noi a manifestare, ho ripetuto alla polizia quale fossero le mie condizioni di salute, choedendo di poter prendere i medicinali e di poter essere visitata da un medico. Avevo i polsi legati e mi hanno scaraventato dalle scale, sono stata picchiata e mi hanno sparato addosso con la pistola elettrica. Mi hanno costretta in un bagno dove mi hanno offesa pesantemente. Dopo quattro ore in quello stato, non mi reggevo in piedi, e sono svenuta.
“Quando si sono resi conto del mio stato di salute, mi hanno portata in ospedale, sempre con mani e piedi legati. La mia pressione era 150/122 e dovevo necessariamente prendere i farmaci. Al contrario, mi hanno tenuto sott custodia, senza medicine e solo il giorno dopo sono stata rilasciata. Nel corso della notte, verso le le 3, mi hanno interrogata.
“Credo che il sostegno a quanti scioperano abbia una rilevanza nazionale…e, anzi, sostengo che la solidarietà vada rìessere sempre pià attiva. Per quanti sopportano uno sciopero, la nostra partecipazione è molto importante per rinvigorire e motivare la loro lotta”.
Attiviste minacciate di viollenza sessuale. Anche Tha’ira Zoebi, attivista di 27 anni di an-Nasira (Nazareth), è stata ferita dalla polizia israeliana.
“Non appena è partita la manifestazione, l’unità israeliana Yassam e la polizia hanno arrestato l’autista dell’autobus insieme a otto manifestanti. Noi ci siamo opposti a quegli arresti.
Sono stata aggredita da un ufficiale di polizia che mi strappato la Kefiya dal collo, per gettarla per terra. Nel farlo mi sono sentita strozzare. E’ stato allora che mi hanno arrestata insieme ad altri otto manifestanti. Con noi c’erano anche attivisti israeliani.
“Hanno usato pistole laser, porto ancora i segni delle bruciature. Ho visto uno di loro aprire con forza la bocca di uno di noi e sputarvi dentro. A me hanno sputato in volto.
Ci hanno pestato e ci hanno insultato. Ci hanno perquisito integralmente.
“Io e un’altra attivista siamo state trattenute presso la stazione di polizia di Ramle, hanno minacciato di stuprarci. Ammetto, sono scoppiata in lacrime”.
Ma Th’aira giura che nonostante il trauma di questo episodio, lei continuerà a protestare, e forse è più motivata di prima.
“La lotta dei prigionieri palestinesi in sciopero della fame rappresenta una lotta personale, in difesa di tutti i sostenitori dei diritti dei palestinesi.
“Il governo di Israele tenta di spezzare lo spirito nazionalistico per mezzo del ricorso al terrore psicologico e fisico”.
Israeli police brutally arrest hunger strike demonstrators, threaten them with rape
from Sawsan Khalife Political activist and journalist from Shefa-Amr in the Galilee region of Palestine.
Seventeen activists, including a minor, were brutally arrested during a permitted demonstration on 3 May in support of the Palestinian hunger strikers near Ramle prison, where some strikers are being held in the Israeli Prison Service medical center.
The protesters spent the night in Ramle police station and were brought to Petach Tikva court the following day. After reviewing the “secret evidence” presented by the police, a judge imposed three days of house arrest on them and forbade the activists to make any contact with each other for 15 days, also fining them hundreds of shekels for disturbing the peace.
On 6 May, the Palestinian human rights group Adalah submitted an urgent complaint to the head of the police investigation unit at the Israeli ministry of justice, demanding an investigation into the arrest and abuse of the 17 protesters.
According to a 7 May press release issued by Adalah, “At approximately 6:45pm, after the demonstration ended and most participants had left, several individuals attempted to continue protesting by forming a picket line, which does not require a permit under Israeli law. However, the police violently attacked the group, beating them and using tasers, even after the people were handcuffed.” Eight were arrested at the site (“Adalah Demands Criminal Investigation into Illegal Arrest and Abuse in Custody of 17 Demonstrators”).
Adalah adds, “After the initial arrests, some of protestors went to the police station to find out about the others’ status. There, the police attacked and beat the remaining protestors and arrested an additional nine people.”
Adalah emphasized that “this event is yet another example of the Israeli police’s systematic brutality against Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel who demonstrate and exercise their right to free speech.”
Demonstrator taken to hospital
Sixteen-year-old Ward Kayal, sentenced to house arrest, recalled the Israeli police’s use of force at the protest.
“We were around 200 demonstrators, and although the protest was permitted by the police, it did not stop the Yassam [a special police force unit] and police forces attacking us,” she said.
“They put us on the ground and started beating us. I have bruises all over my body. I suffer from a medical condition [related to] blood pressure, and am being treated with medicine. After they arrested us around 6pm, they hand- and leg-cuffed us all, as they continued to use tasers [electric stun guns] while cursing and humiliating us.
“I told the police, as did my mother who also participated in the protest, that I suffer from a medical condition and to allow me to take the medicine and see a doctor. While [I was] cuffed, they pushed me down the stairs, beat me with their fists and tasers, and forced me to use the bathroom while the door was open to humiliate me. Four hours later I was too weak to stand on my feet and fainted.
“When they saw that my condition was bad, they took me to a hospital nearby, while hand- and leg-cuffed, and in my medical record it stated that my blood pleasure was 150/122 and that I should take medicine. They kept me under custody and I was deprived any medicine until I was released the following day.
“During the night they interrogated me, until around 3am.”
Kayal added, “I find the support of the hunger strikers of national importance … The support should be more active, especially since it has a significant meaning for the strikers [to know] of our support, which gives them hope to go on with their struggle.”
Female activists threatened with rape
Thaira Zoabi, a 27-year-old activist from Nazareth, also suffered injuries at the hands of police on 3 May.
“As soon as the protest began, the Israeli Yassam and police forces first arrested the bus driver and eight protesters. That did not stop us from continuing our protest demanding to release them all,” she said.
“I was first attacked by a police officer when he lifted me up the ground with my kuffiyeh [traditional checkered scarf] that was around my neck, suffocating me and making it hard for me to breathe. They arrested me and eight other protesters. There were also Israeli and foreign activists amongst us.
“The Israeli forces used [taser guns] and I have bruises on my arms and legs. I saw them open a protester’s mouth by force and spit in it, and they spit in my face as well. They beat us and used massive verbal violence. They did a full body search. While being under custody, a police officer of Ramle district addressed both me and another female activist while being cuffed with verbal sexual harassment, threatening to rape us. I have to admit I burst in tears.”
Zoabi said that in spite of what happened during the protest, she will continue her activism — even more motivated than before.
“I regard the struggle of the Palestinian prisoners and their hunger strike as a personal matter for each Palestinian and human rights defenders,” she said. “The government of Israel tries to break our national spirit using psychological and physical terror.”
Arrested protesters tasered, beaten, threatened with rape
from Mairav Zonszein
A demonstration in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike last week ended in the illegal arrest of 17 activists. The police violence they encountered in detention – which included threats of rape and the use of electroshock Taser guns – shows just what the authorities think of the basic right to human dignity and the freedom of expression and protest.
Last Thursday, May 3, 15 Israeli citizens – Palestinians and Jews (including one resident of Jerusalem) – as well as one American and one Canadian, were violently arrested after a demonstration outside the Ramle Prison in solidarity with Palestinian administrative detainees on hunger strike. Eight were arrested at the demonstration and then nine more outside the police station after the protest had ended. Adalah attorney Orna Kohn told +972 that even though the nine arrested at the police station were not within the parameters of the legal protest by the prison, “there were less than 50 people there, so it does not constitute illegal assembly anyway.”
Besides there being no pretense for the arrests since it was a legal and nonviolent protest, the activists in custody were reportedly beaten, verbally abused, threatened with rape, shocked by Taser guns while handcuffed, and held in custody beyond the time alloted by the judge.
Adalah, which is providing legal representation for all 17 activists, has filed a complaint with the Police Investigation Unit regarding the police brutality, and a complaint with the court regarding their prolonged custody. +972 contacted a police spokesperson for response but no comment was provided. Here is a rundown of events according to the Adalah press release from May 7:
On 3 May 2012, approximately 200 protestors gathered outside the Ramle Prison compound, where hunger strikers are being held in the Israel Prisons Service (IPS) medical center. They had a permit to protest issued by the police. At approximately 6:45 pm, after the demonstration ended and most participants had left, several individuals attempted to continue protesting by forming a picket line, which does not require a permit under Israeli law. However, the police violently attacked the group, beating them and using Tasers, even after the people were handcuffed. Eight participants including a minor were arrested.
After the initial arrests, some of protestors went to the police station to find out about the others’ status. There, the police attacked and beat the remaining protestors and arrested an additional nine people. Another five individuals were fined for disturbing the peace. Some of the women detained were sexually harassed, including threats of rape and repeatedly being called “bitches” and “whores.”
Irene Nasser, one of those arrested, has provided +972 with her account of the events. Here is an excerpt, detailing what she experienced while being held in custody, her legs and hands shackled.
They pushed them [another three female arrestees] into the walls and crudely screamed at them to shut their mouths. While we were all already next to each other, the officers began kicking us. At that point we once again heard lots of shouting and heard them pushing some of the men into a second room, where they were shackled. There was one man who five officers dragged on the floor – it appeared to me that he was handcuffed – and simply began shocking him with a taser for several minutes continuously. The doors were open and we shouted at the officers to stop shocking him, and saying it was dangerous.
Three or four officers entered our room, shouted at us to shut up, shoved us, and told us to shut our mouths. One of the officers threatened us, “Do you want to be hit? Just try and do something. Do you want to be hit?” and the whole while they continued shocking the man in the hall with a taser. I was scared. The officers stood over him while he was lying on the floor, no less than five of them, and his whole body was shaking from the electric shocks. He did not resist – they continued to shock him with the taser on his upper body. He only screamed in pain.
Throughout the night, for several hours we heard lots of screams from the room the men were in. Both screams of pain and the officers screaming, including cursing. We were all very much shaking, six women, we tried to calm each other. I had my shackles on for hours. Three of us were on benches and three were on the floor. We were all in shock. We were trembling, we did not know what would happen. There was a lot of violence. I wanted to try to be calm. I was scared by I tried to remain calm. Several minutes later we began talking a bit amongst ourselves, trying to make jokes. Our bodies were in pain from the officers hitting us. On (P), (Th) and (D’s) bodies there were lots of scratches and bruises. (P) had two large scratches on her neck and somebody else was bleeding from her wrist.
Everyone had lots of bruises on our bodies. At some point (P) and (Th) stood up for a few minutes. Three officers entered and started shouting again. They told them to sit down, pushed all of us onto the floor, piling onto each other. One (of the officers) was holding a taser and used it to electrically shock us, for no reason, we were a human pile on the floor, and he tasered us. We shouted and we all were very terrified. I was shoved aside and sat on a chair. The officer with the taser approached me and tried to taser me, but accidentally hit my bag. They screamed at us to sit, and we answered that we were sitting, but they continued to shout, beat and curse at us.
According to a testimony published in Electronic Intifada, Thaira Zoabi, another protester arrested at the police station, was spit in the face by a policeman and threatened with rape:
The Israeli forces used [taser guns] and I have bruises on my arms and legs. I saw them open a protester’s mouth by force and spit in it, and they spit in my face as well. They beat us and used massive verbal violence. They did a full body search. While being under custody, a police officer of Ramle district addressed both me and another female activist while being cuffed with verbal sexual harassment, threatening to rape us. I have to admit I burst in tears.
Another woman who was among those arrested, Amany Khalifa, shared this with +972:
This was my first time being arrested, and it was a violent experience, physically, mentally and sexually. As a Palestinian and a female, I felt doubly oppressed by how the male police officers treated us. They said to us: “Dirty Arabs, we’ll show you what Palestine is,” and called us “bitches,” “whores,” and things like this. I clearly heard them threaten us to not even think about protesting again, certainly not within the boundaries of the State of Israel. It is clear the authorities are adamant about silencing any popular resistance, and especially anything inside the 1948 borders.
The activists were released to house arrest for 3 days on Friday after signing release terms of NIS 10,000 each. They are not allowed to speak to one another or anyone else who was at the demonstration for 14 days, or go within 50 meters of the Ramle prison compound. There are various charges filed against them by the police, including incitement, rioting and attacking an officer. There is as of yet no date set regarding the indictment. Meanwhile, Adalah is awaiting a response regarding the two complaints filed.
The Electronic Intifada