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International activists physically and verbally abused in detention


15th January 2014 | International Solidarity Movement | Occupied Palestine

On Wednesday 8th January, Vincent Mainville and Fabio Theodule were arrested by Israeli border police in Khalil (Hebron).

The two actvists were handcuffed and taken to Jaabara police station where they were forced to kneel on the concrete floor for approximately 30 minutes. Fabio was blindfolded with his own keffiyeh and while kneeling he was pushed against the wall by Israeli border police officers and kicked in his legs.

After an hour passed, the makeshift blindfold was removed although their hands remained cuffed behind their backs for the next four to five hours.

Fabio and Vincent were questioned by Israeli forces, both refusing to sign documents that were written in Hebrew. They were taken to Kiryat Arba police station, fingerprinted and then interrogated once again. Several hours passed and it was only at this point that they were allowed to call their legal representative.

They were transferred to a police facility near Ben Gurion airport where they were made to wait outside in a prison courtyard for two hours. Fabio asked for water and was told by a border police officer, “If you want to drink, you can drink my piss.”

Fabio and Vincent repeatedly asked for jackets or a blanket due to the cold weather, but they were both ignored.

They were taken inside this facility for 30 minutes before being transferred back to Kiryat Arba police station in Khalil. Their handcuffs were removed at 12:30 at night and they were placed in a cell to sleep.

In the morning, on Thursday 9th January, Vincent and Fabio were awakened and handcuffed at 6:30 in the morning. They received no information about their situation and were not informed they had a court hearing that morning. When they arrived at court in Jerusalem they were allowed to speak to their lawyer for approximately four minutes outside the courthouse, with Israeli border police present.

After they had the short conversation with their lawyer they were taken to the immigration office in Tel Aviv. The two activists tried to refuse to enter this building as they knew their lawyer was attempting to argue against their arrest [which was eventually declared illegal]. It was at this point Israeli forces became extremely aggressive, dragging both Vincent and Fabio by their handcuffs causing their wrists to bleed.

Vincent attempted to resist as they were both dragged up a set of stairs and it was at this point a man from the immigration center kicked him in his ribs and his face. They were taken into a room and after one hour, were able to contact their lawyer, though they were not allowed privacy for this phone call.

Vincent asked if he could file charges against the man who had beat him, and he was told he was not allowed to do this.

At this point Vincent and Fabio were given food for the first time in 25 hours.

The activists were then taken to Giv’on prison in Ramle, close to Tel Aviv. They were unable to contact their lawyer again and received no information about their case, until they were finally able to be contacted by ISM two days later.

Vincent and Fabio are very likely to be deported within the next few days. Their arrest has been ruled illegal by an Israeli court but this has not made any difference to their situation. Vincent and Fabio, as internationals, have received far better treatment then Palestinian prisoners. It should be remembered that the brutal treatment of Palestinian prisoners echoes throughout Palestine and serves as a daily reminder of the Israeli occupation.