Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Human rights groups: torture commonplace in Palestinian jails

from The Associated Press via Haaretz - Rights groups say torture widespread in Palestinian jails

Two human rights groups on Monday decried widespread torture of political opponents by bitter Palestinian rivals Hamas and Fatah. Interviews with three victims and a doctor backed the reports of abuse.


The Palestinian human rights group Al Haq said Monday that arbitrary arrests of political opponents have been common since Hamas' takeover of Gaza, with each side trying to defend its turf.

"Arrests for political reasons haven't stopped for a second," Al Haq director Shawan Jabarin told a news conference. He estimated that before the latest sweeps, more than 1,000 people had been seized by each side.

An estimated 20 to 30 percent of the detainees suffered torture, including severe beatings and being tied up in painful positions, said Jabarin, citing sworn statements from 150 detainees.

He said three died in detention in Gaza and one in the West Bank.

"The use of torture is dramatically up," added Fred Abrahams, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, a U.S.-based group that is releasing its own report on abuse later this week.
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