Solidarity campaign with them.. Palestinian women prisoners in cycles of violence and deprivation
Ramallah- The young woman, Salam Abu Sharar, remembers Damoun Prison well, with all the details of the place and the memories that were associated with every corner in it, starting from Room No. 8, in which 5 female prisoners participated in living for 7 months, to the courtyard where she could only see the sky through a window that divides it into squares. .
The room had eight beds and a bathroom, and in its wall was a window closed with nets and bars, and against the wall of the window was the door that opened onto a corridor that led to the main square completely surrounded by iron bars and covered with nets.
On both sides of the corridor are two doors, one of which leads to the rest of the prison sections, where the clinic, visiting rooms, and cells are located, and the second leads to the jailer’s room, which constantly monitors female prisoners.
The movement of prisoners outside the room is completely prohibited, as the cameras are in every corner of the courtyard and the corridor, and “during the period of my arrest, I could not leave the room without a veil or full Islamic dress,” Salam said in her interview with Al Jazeera Net.
Salam Abu Sharar, 27, from Hebron, was arrested in 2016 and sentenced to 10 months in prison, a year before she completed her studies in pharmacy. This experience was a turning point in her life: “I could not return to my life that was, everything changed.”
Not only Damon prison, but Salam also remembers difficult details in Hasharon and Beersheba prison, especially during the investigation period, and what she felt most “oppressed”: the privacy allowed even inside the room, “The warden could break into the room at any time after midnight, And every time we all have to leave our bed and stand up to count and search all our things, we are not allowed to object.”
Objecting to these practices may lead the female prisoner to isolation, and penalties by deprivation of visitation, “canteen”, or going out to al-Fawra (exiting from the room to the yard).
The difficulty of life in Damoon Prison is not only an opinion expressed by Salam. All the female prisoners who were released are unanimous on that. The building dates back to the British Mandate period, and was used to store smoke due to the high humidity and extreme cold in winter. The Israeli Prison Service closed it completely, only to reopen it in 2015, and the detention of 34 female prisoners in it, divided into two sections, including 8 mothers.
16 days to expose violence against female prisoners
The difficult conditions that female prisoners face in this prison made the women’s organizations based on the “16 Days of Combating Violence against Women in Palestine” campaign focus on them during the campaign, which begins today, Thursday, November 25, and will last for 16 days, through events held In all of historical Palestine.
It is not only related to Damoun prison, before which the main event of the campaign will be held on November 30, 2021. Some female prisoners had their most difficult experience before reaching Damoun, as happened with Suhair al-Barghouti, “Umm Asif”, from the town of Kober, north of Ramallah.
Suhair, 60, was arrested in 2019 after the martyrdom of her son, and her other son was arrested after carrying out a shooting attack in which two settlers were killed near Ramallah. The accusation leveled against her is that she met her son while stalking him before his arrest.
Immediately after their arrest, she was transferred to Ramleh Prison, where criminal prisoners (Israeli women detained in cases of murder and drugs…) are held. I was held in that prison for two days, during which she could not sleep or rest because of the loud noises: “I wet a tissue with water and put it over my ears so that I could not hear.”
After that, she was transferred to the cells of Hasharon Prison for 18 days, alone in a room that “is not suitable for human living,” she tells Al Jazeera Net. Throughout this period, she took her medication, and she suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes.
She was brought before the court every two days, and each time she was transferred “in the post”. “I used to hear about the suffering of transportation in Busta, but all of that is not comparable to the subtle suffering inside it,” she says. Al Bosta is a completely closed iron room, in which the prisoner is placed handcuffed during transportation from one prison to another or to the court. This journey sometimes lasts more than 12 hours, during which he is prohibited from eating or drinking.
Al-Barghouti’s suffering did not stop in the cells. After she was transferred to Damoun Prison for female prisoners, where she was detained for 12 days, the situation was not better, and she could not stand the hatred she saw and the jailers’ attempt to break the will of the female prisoners by all means. Remember that one day, during the outburst, a bird approached the window window, and the captives rejoiced when they saw a bird while they were deprived of seeing the sky, and it was only hours until the jailers closed the yard with more windows, and prevented them from walking in it that day.
The return of physical violence against female prisoners
The policies of the occupation in dealing with female prisoners, although they seem to be similar to the general policies in dealing with all Palestinian prisoners, but they carry compound violence in the case of female prisoners, according to the spokeswoman for the Palestinian Prisoners Club, Amani Farajneh, to Al Jazeera Net. .
Among the forms of violations that Farajneh talked about, the arrest of the mothers, wives and sisters of prisoners to pressure them during the investigation, or forcing them to surrender themselves if they were being pursued, as happened with a Palestinian prisoner months ago from the city of Bethlehem. after handing himself over.
Also, depriving female prisoners of many rights related to communicating with their family and visiting a lawyer, especially mothers who are completely cut off from their children for a long time without allowing them to visit or make phone calls.
The greater violence is the practice of the injured female prisoners, who are female prisoners who were injured during their detention and are still suffering from the effects of these injuries and in need of long-term medical and health care, as is the case of the prisoner Esraa Al-Jaabis, who the Prisons Authority refuses to provide treatment for on the pretext that the operations she needs are cosmetic operations.
According to Fararneh, 2019 witnessed a turning point in the return of old patterns of interrogation and dealing with prisoners as well, such as military interrogation, physical and psychological torture, and banning visits. An increase in female prisoners was subjected to physical torture during the investigation.