Ajith Songhai, rep of the UNCHR: Horrific details of the circumstances of Israel's detention of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza... Humiliation, stripping, searches, and insults beyond imagination

Israeli forces have likely detained thousands of men in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war against Hamas, and they often face conditions that may amount to torture, the United Nations reported Friday.

Ajith Songhai, representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, said during a regular UN press conference in Geneva that some of the detainees confirmed that the Israeli forces blindfolded and beat them, and when they released them, they were naked and wearing only diapers.

Songai added via video from Rafah that the men were detained “in generally appalling conditions” by Israeli security forces in unknown locations for periods ranging from 30 to 55 days.

The UN official reported that they were subjected to beatings, humiliation, ill-treatment, and what may amount to torture. They confirmed that they were blindfolded for long periods, some for several days in a row.”

He added, “A man said that he was only able to shower once during his 55-day detention period.” There are reports that men were later released, but only while wearing diapers.”

Songai said their testimonies are consistent with reports received by the UN Human Rights Office that Palestinians are being detained on a large scale, “including many civilians held in secret, often subject to ill-treatment” and have no access to their families, lawyers, or any legal assistance. Effective judicial protection.

Songai indicated that he could not give an accurate figure for the number of detainees, but he expressed his belief that “the number is in the thousands.”

He stressed that Israel must ensure that every detained person is treated in accordance with international human rights standards and international humanitarian law.

“Unless Israel provides compelling security reasons for every person still in detention, they must be charged or released,” he said.

He added, “All cases of ill-treatment or torture to which arrested or detained persons must be fully and transparently investigated.”

The men Songhai spoke to reported that they were taken to a detention site in Gaza and remained blindfolded for hours, before being transferred again in cars, most of them naked, to another detention center, most likely inside Israel.

“The conditions of detention are generally appalling,” he said.

He added that they would later be classified and some of them interrogated. They were not informed of their imminent release, but were blindfolded and left at the Kerem Shalom crossing without the clothes, belongings, and money they had when they were arrested.

Songai added that some of them were wearing prison uniforms and others were in diapers, stressing, “We are not sure exactly why.”


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