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Israeli guards accused of brutal crackdown on female Palestinian prisoners

Prisoners' Club says women were beaten, dragged onto the floor, and put in solitary confinement
Protesters hold a banner calling for the release of Palestinian prisoner Anhar al-Dik during a demonstration in Ramallah on 29 August 2021 (AFP)

Israeli guards in Damon prison have been accused of assaulting several female Palestinian prisoners, threatening them with pepper spray, and putting others in solitary confinement during a brutal crackdown.

The Palestinian Prisoners' Club, which monitors conditions of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, said female prisoners had many harsh measurements imposed on them by the Israel Prison Service over the past week.

On 14 December, prisoners refused to evacuate Damon prison's cell 11 when an officer demanded to search it.

This led to officers storming the cells, using force, and seizing electronic equipment from the prisoners, such as a radio and TV.

Solitary confinement

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The Prisoners' Club said the guards beat prisoners, dragged them on the floor, and have put Shorooq Douyat, Marah Bakir, and Muna Kaadan in solitary confinement.

Bakir acted as the prisoners' representative and led the refusal to exit the cell. Douyat is serving the longest sentence of all female Palestinian prisoners, having been given 16 years for a stabbing attempt in Jerusalem in 2015.

It is believed around a dozen prisoners were involved in the incident.

According to Addameer, another NGO that supports Palestinian detainees, there are 32 female prisoners held in Israeli prisons, mainly in Damon, near the city of Haifa.

The violent measures persisted for four days and prisoners reportedly objected by knocking heavily on their cell doors and refusing to take their meals.

Threatened with pepper spray

The Prisoners' Club said that some of the women were lightly wounded during the assault and one prisoner became unconscious.

Israeli guards also cut electricity in the cells, threatened the prisoners with pepper spray, and removed the prisoners' hijabs, pulling their hair.

The Israel Prison Service told Middle East Eye: "During the previous week, there was an incident of disorder and discipline by inmates in the national security women's ward at Damon Prison. The prisoners involved were disciplinary sentenced to days of solitary confinement in accordance with procedures."

Four female prisoners in Cell 11, Maysoon Musa al-Jabali, Nurhan Khadr Awwad, Shorooq al-Badn, and Malak Salman, and Marah Bakir, the representative of the female prisoners in Damon, were banned from using the canteen or receiving family visits for a month.

In addition, all five were issued a 400 shekel ($126) fine each as punishment.

Representatives of prisoners belonging to the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements said they are on "high alert" to make "the jailer pay the price for assaulting" the women.

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