The Occupation Forces Deprive (22) Female Prisoners from Celebrating with their Children on Mother's Day, 21 March 2019

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21 March 2019

The Occupation Forces continue to deny the Palestinian women prisoners from meeting with their children. All of the Palestinian women prisoners, including the 22 who are mothers, are subjected to various violations since the moment of arrest. 

The Occupation Forces continue to deny the Palestinian women prisoners from meeting with their children. All of the Palestinian women prisoners, including the 22 who are mothers, are subjected to various violations since the moment of arrest. They are deprived of their right to a fair trial, family visits, and appropriate medical treatment. Additionally, they are subjected to physical and psychological torture, along with inhuman and degrading treatment. Furthermore, they are blindfolded and handcuffed during arrest and transportation and are abused and threatened during interrogation and transportation. They are also subjected to strip-searches, which is used by the Occupation Forces as a punitive measure. These attacks constitute a flagrant violation of international conventions, especially those relating to the protection of women.

The occupation forces continue to pursue the policy of collective punishment against the families and mothers of prisoners and martyrs, where mothers are arrested as a means of revenge. There are prisoners who are held in Israeli prisons due to the fact that they are the mothers of martyrs, such as the prisoner Wafaa Mahdwai. The occupation forces accused her of not preventing or reporting the alleged attack that her son, Ashraf Naalwa, was accused of committing. The prisoner, Susan Abu Ghannam, the mother of the martyr, Mohammad Abu Ghannam, was sentenced to a charge of “incitement” because of her posts on Facebook. Another woman prisoner is Suheir Barghouthi, who is the mother of the martyr, Saleh Barghouthi, who the Israeli occupation forces claim that he was killed during his arrest. His mother was released after spending a month in an Israeli jail.

The Arrest of Mothers

The occupation forces arrest women and girls in the streets, through the crossing of checkpoints, or at their homes late at night. Then, they are forcibly deported through a military jeep after they have been handcuffed and blindfolded. After that, they are taken to the interrogation centers where they are subjected to various forms of torture and ill-treatment. The armed forces hold Palestinian women prisoners in Damon prison which lacks the minimum living standards. There, the prisoners suffer from high humidity and their lives are at risk due to the electricity defect. Furthermore, they receive rotten and expired food and their hands are cuffed during medical examinations. Women prisoners are also subjected to arbitrary punishments such as, isolation and deprivation from the cantina and denial of family visits, which prevents them from meeting their children for long periods of time.

The prisoner, (W.M.), who is a mother of six children, informed Addameer's lawyer about the incidents during her arrest, such as how the Israeli army raided her home after breaking the door. She woke up to find a group of soldiers and military dogs surrounding her. The occupation forces searched the house and fired sound bombs inside her house, which lead to the burning of one of the seats. The soldiers interrogated her while she was on the ground and then strip-searched her, blindfolded her, handcuffed her, and transferred her to the military jeep. She was taken to a military compound near her house. Another woman prisoner, (S.A.), who is a mother of three children, spoke about her injury during her arrest which was because a soldier pushed her. She said, “The Israeli occupation forces raided my house. After they identified me, they searched me thoroughly and confiscated phones and a laptop from my house. I was then, handcuffed, blindfolded, and transferred to a military jeep. While I was getting into the jeep, one of the soldiers pushed me and my knee was hit. They left me sitting on the floor of the jeep for hours, which caused me severe pain."    

Interrogations

The violations committed by the occupation forces are not limited to the process of arrest, but rather increase after the women prisoners arrive at the interrogation centers where they are subjected to numerous forms of psychological and physical torture. These inhumane methods constitute a clear violation of the provisions included in the Convention against Torture, which prohibits the inhuman and degrading treatment. Even though the occupation forces signed this Convention in 1991, they continue to deny their obligations and responsibilities under this Convention and other international conventions that guarantee the rights of prisoners. The interrogators deliberately pressure women prisoners through their children, where they threaten to arrest their children, harm them, or intimidate the mothers to keep them in jail while they are away from their children. The women prisoners, who are mothers, could be exchanged with their children if they are willing to cooperate with the armed forces. These methods are a kind of psychological torture that the interrogators use against women prisoners and are violations according to international conventions.

Furthermore, the female prisoner (D.K.), explained to Addameer’s lawyer how the occupation forces tortured and abused her during interrogation. Since she is a widow and a mother of a child, the interrogators focused on these facts to pressure her to confess. The interrogators targeted her young daughter by stating that she is alone and has no one to take care of her. As for another woman, the prisoner (S.A.), who is a mother of three talked about how the interrogators offered to carry out a surgery on her sick daughter at one of the Israeli hospitals if she was willing to cooperate with them.

The practices adopted by the occupation forces against women prisoners, particularly mothers, violate the provisions of international conventions that grant them special protection. The Fourth Geneva Convention along with the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Convention, affirm that the cases of female prisoners, who are mothers, must be considered a priority, especially for those mothers of children under the age of seven. The United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners, also known as The Bangkok Rules, also affirm that women prisoners have the right to communicate with their children by all reasonable means. However, the Palestinian women prisoners, who are mothers, are not allowed to communicate with their families or children by telephone. Instead, they are only allowed to see their family members once or twice a month when they come to visit. There is not any physical contact because there is insulated glass separating them, but they can communicate with one another through the telephone provided during the visit. Sometimes, after a special request is made to the Israeli Prisons Service, children under the age of eight are allowed to visit their mothers from the prisoner’s side so that they could make contact with their mothers. This happens in the final ten minutes of a 45-minute visit, which leaves a negative psychological impact on the child who is forced to leave his/her mother behind bars and walk free. In addition to the hardships that children face while visiting their mothers in prisons, they also suffer from a long and arduous journey to and from the prisons, which is accompanied by searches and restrictions before they even reach their mothers.

Women Prisoners and Mothers of Prisoners

The Occupation Authorities prohibit about 5,440 Palestinian mothers from their children who are in Israeli jails. Many of them are prevented from visiting their children who are held in Israeli jails. On the basis of various justifications that the armed forces use to prevent family visits of prisoners, whether under the pretext of the prisoner’s security or his/her family, or the rejection of the request for a visitor’s permit that: “there is not any relationship between the prisoner and his/her mother.” In the case that a permit was granted to a prisoner’s mother, she begins to suffer from the difficult journey to the prison, especially the sick or elderly. The occupation forces also abuse them in which they are subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment along with humiliating searches. This often leads to the parent’s refusal of entering into the prison for a visit as a protest against the repressive practices carried out towards them, thus, depriving them of seeing and communicating with their children.

Names of Mothers Detained in Israeli jails

 

 

#

 

Name

 

Address

 

Legal Status

 

Number of Children

1.

Yasmeen Shaaban

Jenin

Sentenced to 5 years

4 children

2.

Israa Jaabees

Occupied Jerusalem

Sentenced to 11 years

1 child

3.

Hilwa Hamamrah

Hosan-Bethlehem

Sentenced to 6 years

1 child

4.

Nisreen Hasan

1948 Territories

Sentenced to 6 years

7 children

5.

Sabreen Zeedat

1948 Territories

Sentenced to 50 months

3 children

6.

Amani Hasheem

Occupied Jerusalem

Detained awaiting trial

2 children

7.

Ghadeer al-Atrash

Hebron

Detained awaiting trial

3 children

8.

Jihan Hashmeh

Occupied Jerusalem

Detained awaiting trial

3 children

9.

Suzan Abu Ghannam “Mother of the martyr Mohammad Abu Ghannam”

Occupied Jerusalem

Sentenced to 11 months

4 children

10.

Asya Kaabana

Doma-Nablus

Sentenced to 3 years and a half

8 children

11.

Fadwa Hamada

Sur Baher- Occupied Jerusalem

Sentenced to 10 years

5 children

12.

Amal Abdallah Saad

Bethlehem

Detained awaiting trial

6 children

13.

Wafa Mihdawi “Mother of the martyr Ashraf Naalwah

Alshweika- Tulkarem

Detained awaiting trial

4 children

14.

Lama Khater

Hebron

Detained awaiting trial

5 children

15.

Suzan Aweede

Hebron

Detained awaiting trial

3 children

16.

Safa Abu Hussein

Hebron

Detained awaiting trial

4 children

17.

Dena al-Karmy

Hebron

Detained awaiting trial

1 child

18.

Sonia al-Hammouri

Hebron

Detained awaiting trial

5 children

19.

Saeda Bader

Hebron

Detained awaiting trial

2 children

20.

Ameena Mahmoud- Awdah

Occupied Jerusalem

Sentenced for 33 months

1 child

21.

Fawziyah Hamad

Ramallah

Detained awaiting trial

5 children

22.

Balsam Sharaeh

al-Lydd

Detained awaiting trial

3 children