Recaptured Palestinian prison escapees 'tortured': lawyers

Recaptured Palestinian Gilboa Prison escapees 'tortured' by Israel, lawyers claim
3 min read
15 September, 2021
Gilboa Prison escapee Mohammed Al-Ardah has not been allowed to get more than 10 hours' sleep total since he was detained again by Israel, his lawyer claimed.
Many Palestinians have celebrated the six Gilboa Prison breakers [Getty]

Lawyers for two captured Palestinian jailbreakers have claimed that their clients have faced torture and abuse since being recaptured by Israeli police.

Last Monday, six Palestinian detainees successfully launched a daring escape from the high-security Gilboa Prison, causing embarrassment for Israel and jubilation in Palestine.

Four of the six escapees have since been caught. 

The lawyers of two of the recaptured men have alleged mistreatment of their clients by the Israeli authorities.

Mohammed Al-Arda has been beaten and tortured, according to his lawyer Khaled Mahajneh, the Palestinian Commission for Detainees and Ex-Detainees' Affairs (CDA) said.

Al-Arda has not been allowed to get more than 10 hours' sleep total since being detained again, and is confined to a small cell, the lawyer said.

The prisoner has even been refused food, having eaten for the first time just yesterday, Mahajneh alleged.

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Mahajneh also claimed the escapee was injured all over his body while Israeli security pursued him, for which he has still not received treatment.

He was even physically assaulted during his recapture, Al Jazeera reported Mahajneh as alleging.

"You don’t deserve to live. You deserve for me to shoot you in the head," one investigator told Mohammed, his lawyer reported as saying by The New Arab's Arabic-language sister service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

"The prisoner Mohammed Al-Arda rejects the accusations he is facing and remains silent despite all the torture and attempts to pressure him. He replied to the occupation's investigator that did not commit a crime," Mahajneh said.

"I went around the areas of Palestine occupied in 1948 [what's now considered Israel] and was looking for my freedom and to see my mother," Mohammed is said to have told the investigator.

Zakaria Al-Zubaidi, perhaps the highest-profile of the prison breakers, saw his lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, on Wednesday afternoon, according to the CDA.

As he was being recaptured, the ex-Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades local commander was allegedly assaulted, receiving two broken ribs plus a broken jaw.

He was taken to an Israeli hospital for his injuries but was treated solely with painkillers, the CDA quoted Feldman as saying.

"Zakaria Al-Zubaidi did not participate in the digging. He moved into the six prisoners' room one day before they left through the tunnel which took almost one year to dig," according to Feldman.

The great Gilboa Prison break
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Feldman said his client had informed him that he and Al-Arda, who were found together, did not attempt to seek help from others so as not to get them into trouble with the Israeli authorities

Prisoner Mahmoud Al-Ardah, not to be confused with Al-Arda, met with his lawyer, Raslan Mahajneh.

Al-Ardah also said that the prisoners avoided going to parts of Israel inhabited by Palestinian citizens of the Jewish state "in order not to expose anyone to accountability" for their actions.