Israel has closed a case where at least 10 Israeli officers were filmed beating Palestinian prisoners in one of the most violent incidents against prisoners in an Israeli prison, according to an Israeli media report.
The Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Friday that after the incident on March 24, 2019 in Wing 3 of Ketziot Prison, where dozens of Hamas members were held, only four officers were questioned and none were arrested.
The footage showed about 55 Palestinian prisoners crouching and holding on to the ground while Israeli officers beat, kicked and beat them with batons. The prisoners were ordered not to speak or move for hours.
At least 10 officers were filmed beating prisoners and dozens more were in attendance at one of the most violent incidents ever to take place in an Israeli prison. Only four officers were interviewed, none were arrested @ HaMokedRightshttps: //t.co/LplSPS2gCI
– Josh Breiner (@JoshBreiner) June 11, 2021
The Israeli police force investigating prison staff said the official reason for the escalation was an “unknown perpetrator” before closing the investigation, Haaretz said.
According to the Israeli media, a Hamas member among the prisoners stabbed two officers to death and injured one of them on the same day.
At the time of the incident, the prison service issued a statement that prison guards were trying to restore order to the wing after rioting broke out after the knife wounds.
But the footage showed no unrest. Instead, the security cameras showed how guards beat the prisoners without any provocation.
“They wanted to kill us”
According to Amir Salum, a 26-year-old 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 have decided to move us from Wing 4 to Wing 3,” Salum, who filed a complaint, told Haaretz.
“Suddenly, in the middle of the move, we heard someone ‘stinging, stinging!’ call. Within a few minutes the guards will be the Masada [Israel Police Service] Unit came in and started shooting those steel bullets at us. We then fled to the other side of the wing, ”he said.
Then another unit stepped in and “tied us up and no one struggled, and then they just started beating us with batons,” Salum continued.
“They threw us in the middle of the wing as if we were nothing and hit us without our being able to defend ourselves.
“We were sure that they would kill us,” he was quoted by Haaretz as saying.
“Everyone has prayed to God. It was only after I saw all the blood around me that one of the officers ordered me to be taken to the clinic. They also hit me on the way, ”said Salum.
Another detainee, who also filed a complaint about the incident that night, described the events as “brutal, indiscriminate violence by the guards and said a guard hit him with an iron rod seven or eight times,” said Haaretz.
Ali Da’ana, a Palestinian prisoner serving a 20-year prison term for attempted murder, said in his ad that the daily newspaper reported that the guards were campaigning for retaliation against the prisoner.
“I was mercilessly beaten by masked guards for no reason while I was on the floor,” he recalls. “It was revenge. I told one of them that I had a chronic illness and he said it didn’t matter. They kept beating, ”he said.
Lack of evidence
According to reports, the Israeli police were unable to identify all of the officers involved in the incident, despite the available video footage.
According to Haaretz, investigators told police that the security cameras were insufficient to identify the officers in the prison wing that night.
The detainees said they could identify the perpetrators, but no further investigation was carried out.
Instead, only four officers were briefly questioned about suspected batteries.
Albert Goldberg, a commandant of Ketziot Prison, said a riot had broken out in the wing after the alleged knife stab.
“It was decided to call in reinforcements to calm the situation … To the best of my knowledge, the mission was controlled and carried out without exception,” he told Haaretz.