30 June 2009
The 23 year old Palestinian women, Somod from Nablus, was recently released after having been imprisoned in Israel for four and a half years. Despite her young age, she suffered from inhumane treatment such as rape-threats, isolation, and denial of access to basic sanitation facilities. She went to court as many as 18 times before she was released.
The treatment in jail
Regardless of any crime that Somod might have been accused of, the treatment that she faced in the Israeli prisons cannot be legitimated.
“In jail they beat me badly, and I suffered under inhumane interrogation techniques. They threatened me by saying that they would ‘make me a woman’ if I refused to give them information. It was horrible. I was sent to many different places for interrogation, in many different prisons. Many times they did not even tell me where I was, or where I was going. They tried to make me sign conditions that I did not agree on, and they hit me in order for them to make me talk. But I feel that to give them such information would be like selling my home, my family. It would be the same as being a spy. So when I still refused to talk, they took me to an isolated room with only red lights for two days. I was later sent to Talmond prison where I was kept in isolation for 7 days”, Somod explains.
“In Talmond prison we were 11 women in a single room, with only 8 beds so that some had to sleep on the floor. There was only one small bathroom, which was full of insects, and even mice. There were no showers in the bathroom, only small buckets with water, and many times the prison authority cut the water while we were showering. It felt very humiliating. I was transferred to various different prisons, and in some of them they woke us up 7 times each night “in order to count us”, the prison authorities said. If some of us did not immediately rose up from bed and said “yes I am here”, the person was punished by being transferred in to an isolated room. Sometimes they even threw tear gas in the sleeping room were we slept, or cold water.”
Somod could not even enjoy a homecoming with her family. On her scheduled release date, she was told by the warden that she will be detained for an additional 6 months. When she asked why she could get no answer. Meanwhile her parents waited outside the jail for two days and were unable to get any explanation as to why their daughter was not being released. Four days after her scheduled release Somod was sent out of the prison with nothing. She found a man on the street that allowed her to borrow a phone. When she spoke to her father he could not believe his ears.