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Middle East

Whistleblowers reveal severe abuses at Israeli detention camp in Negev Desert

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  • Whistleblowers have exposed severe physical and mental abuses at the Israeli Sde Teiman detention camp.
  • Detainees, including Palestinian detainees from Gaza and suspected Hamas militants, are subjected to harsh conditions, including constant handcuffing and beatings.
  • Human rights organizations are calling for the camp's closure and immediate action to address the inhumane treatment of detainees.

Two former employees have come forward with allegations of severe physical and mental abuses at the Israeli Sde Teiman detention camp, located in the Negev desert. The camp, which houses Palestinian detainees from Gaza and suspected Hamas militants, has been described as a site of widespread human rights violations.

The whistleblowers, who previously worked at the camp, have detailed the harrowing conditions faced by detainees. One former prison guard reported that detainees were subjected to constant handcuffing, leading to severe injuries. In one particularly disturbing case, a detainee had to have a limb amputated due to injuries sustained from prolonged handcuffing. The guard also described how detainees were forced to stand for hours or sit on their knees, and many were beaten with truncheons.

The Sde Teiman camp is divided into two main sections: an enclosure for up to 200 Palestinian detainees from Gaza, who are confined under severe physical restrictions inside cages, and a field hospital where dozens of patients with war injuries are handcuffed to their beds and often deprived of pain relief. The second whistleblower, a former member of the medical staff, reported that about 15 patients were handcuffed and blindfolded, naked except for diapers, and covered by blankets. Most of these patients had obvious war injuries, with some having undergone amputations or major abdominal or chest surgery.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has demanded the closure of the camp, stating that all Gazan residents detained there are classified as 'unlawful combatants.' This classification deprives them of prisoner of war status, enabling Israel to prohibit lawyers' visits for prolonged periods, leading to a lack of critical oversight during a time of heightened risk of severe incarceration conditions and torture. According to information obtained from the Israeli prison service, 849 individuals classified as 'unlawful combatants' were being held in custody as of early April.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have responded to these claims, stating that detainees were handcuffed for security reasons and that all actions taken were in accordance with the law. However, the whistleblowers' accounts paint a grim picture of the conditions at the Sde Teiman camp, raising serious concerns about the treatment of detainees and the potential for human rights abuses.

The allegations have sparked outrage and calls for immediate action to address the situation. Human rights organizations are urging the international community to intervene and ensure that the rights of detainees are protected. The whistleblowers' courageous decision to come forward has shed light on the dire conditions at the Sde Teiman camp, highlighting the urgent need for reform and accountability.

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