Thousands of men arrested in Gaza and often mistreated

Thousands of men have been arrested by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war against Hamas and often subjected to ill-treatment that could amount to torture, the UN said on Friday.

Some of the prisoners claimed to have been blindfolded, beaten and eventually released with only diapers, the representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Ajit Sunghay, said at the regular UN briefing in Geneva.

The Israeli army reiterated to AFP that “those detained are treated in accordance with international law.”

Mr. Sunghay, speaking by videoconference from Rafah, in the south of the Palestinian territory, indicated that the men were detained “in generally horrible conditions” by Israeli security forces in unknown locations for periods ranging from 30 at 55 days.

“They described being beaten, humiliated, subjected to ill-treatment and what could amount to torture. They said they were blindfolded for long periods, some for several days in a row,” the statement said. the manager.

“One man said he had access to a shower only once during his 55 days of detention. There are reports of men who were later released, but only in diapers,” he pointed out.

These testimonies corroborate information collected by the High Commission on the large-scale detention of Palestinians.

Mr. Sunghay was unable to give an exact number, explaining that the war raging in Gaza prevents an accurate count, but it “would be in the thousands.”

He insisted that Israel must ensure that anyone detained is treated in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law standards.

The Israeli army told AFP that individuals suspected of being involved in terrorist activities were being arrested and questioned.

“Individuals who do not participate in terrorist activities are released,” the army said, adding that it is often necessary “for suspected terrorists to hand over their clothes so that they can be searched and to ensure that they do not hide explosive vests or other weapons.”

Clothing is returned when possible, the army further specifies.

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Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.