Israel has closed a case involving at least ten Israeli officers who were filmed beating Palestinian inmates, according to an Israeli media report, in what has been described as one of the most violent incidents against prisoners in an Israeli prison.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Friday that only four officers were interrogated and none were arrested after the incident on March 24, 2019, in wing 3 of Ketziot Prison, where dozens of Hamas members were detained.
The images showed approximately 55 Palestinian prisoners lying on the ground and detained, while Israeli officers punched them, kicked them and beat them with clubs. Prisoners were ordered not to speak or move for hours.
At least ten officers were filmed beating prisoners and dozens more were present, in one of the most violent incidents that have ever taken place in the Israeli prison. Only four officers were interrogated, none were arrested@HaMokedRightshttps://t.co/LplSPS2gCI
– Josh Breiner (@JoshBreiner) June 11, 2021
The Israeli police unit investigating prison staff said the official motive for the climb was an “unknown offender,” before closing the investigation, Haaretz said.
According to Israeli media, a Hamas member who was among the detainees allegedly stabbed two officers, leaving one of them injured earlier that day.
At the time of the incident, the prison service had said in a statement that the prison guards tried to restore order in the wing after riots occurred after the stabbings.
But the images showed no disturbance. Instead, images from security cameras showed security guards beating prisoners without any provocation.
“They were going to kill us”
According to Amir Salum, a 26-year-old man from Shofat, a Palestinian refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem, who was serving a four-year sentence in Ketziot prison at the time of the incident, the situation escalated for no reason. .
“They decided to transfer us from wing 4 to wing 3,” Salum, who filed a complaint, told Haaretz.
“Suddenly, in the middle of the movement, we heard someone screaming” stabbing, stabbing! “In a few minutes, Masada guards [Israel Police Service] he came in and started firing these steel bullets at us. Then we ran to the other side of the wing, ”he said.
Then another unit came in that “set us free and no one resisted, and then they started beating us with clubs,” Salum continued.
“They threw us in the middle of the wing, as if we were nothing, and beat us without us being able to defend ourselves.
“We were sure they would kill us,” Haaretz said.
“Everyone prayed to God. Only after seeing all the blood around me did one of the agents order me to be taken to the clinic. They also hit me on the way, ”said Salum.
Another prisoner, who also filed a complaint for the incident that night, described the events as “brutal and random violence by guards, saying a guard beat him seven or eight times with an iron club.” , reported Haaretz.
Ali Da’ana, a Palestinian prisoner serving a 20-year sentence for attempted murder, said in his complaint that guards conducted a retaliation campaign against the prisoner, according to the newspaper.
“The masked guards beat me mercilessly while I was lying on the ground for no reason,” he recalled. “It was revenge. I told one of them I had a chronic illness and he said it didn’t matter. They kept hitting, ”he said.
Lack of evidence
According to reports, Israeli police did not identify all officers involved in the incident, despite the presence of video footage.
According to Haaretz, police investigators said security cameras were not enough to identify prison wing officers that night.
The inmates stated that they could identify the perpetrators, but no investigation was conducted.
In contrast, only four officers were briefly interrogated on suspicion of battery.
Albert Goldberg, commander of Ketziot Prison, said a riot broke out in the wing after the alleged stabbing.
“It was decided to call a backup to calm the situation … As far as I know, there was a controlled use of force to carry out the mission and there were no exceptions,” he told Haaretz.