Palestinian female prisoners facing the brutality of the Israeli prisons

The Palestinian woman has always had a crucial role in the Palestinian liberation struggle and movement. Palestinian women have experienced various forms of suppression, intimidation, and torture. They have actively participated in the national and social struggle against the Israeli occupation and its oppression, and they endure the consequences of fighting for their rights, as they have risen as martyrs, wounded, and prisoners. Palestinian female prisoners have achieved many rights and accomplishments in the face of the Israeli prison administration. However, these achievements are often revoked, leading to further injustices against them. Currently, there are 35 Palestinian female prisoners in Al-Damon Prison in occupied Haifa, and they are fighting for their demands until they achieve their freedom. These demands include:

Firstly, the female prisoners demand to stop sending the arrested prisoners to “Al Sharon” prison. It is a civilian prison for Israelis and other detainees, based on civil and criminal charges. Female prisoners are placed in isolation cells equipped with surveillance cameras, lacking basic living needs. Putting a female prisoner in these cells makes her vulnerable to verbal harassment from other inmates and guards, violates her privacy, and denies her necessary medical attention.

Secondly, the female prisoners demand the establishment of a section equipped with specialized medical and psychological care to deal with female prisoners who suffer from psychological disorders and illnesses that have been exacerbated by the conditions of the prison and ill-treatment. The Israeli prison administration purposely deals with these cases by giving them sedative medications, which only contribute to sedating them without treating the cause, and they keep them in offensive and poor conditions.

Thirdly, in addition to the general demands of the Palestinian prisoner movement and their protest against the medical neglect suffered by hundreds of male and female prisoners, female prisoners suffer from the absence of a female doctor to address their women’s needs. Some female prisoners experience irregular menstrual cycles as a result of physical reactions to arrest methods, including in some cases, injuries caused by gunfire bullets, and later due to the poor prison conditions that do not provide their basic needs.

Fourthly, the female prisoners have been protesting the installation of surveillance cameras in the courtyard for years. They are unable to carry out their normal and routine activities under this constant surveillance. Additionally, the lack of adequate exposure to sunlight can contribute to health issues such as anemia, limb pain, and hair loss for the female prisoners.

Fifthly, the female prisoners demand easier access to books. The prison administration deliberately restricts the entry of many books, claiming that they have educational or provocative content.

Sixth and finally, the female prisoners demand that shower rooms be moved inside the cells instead of being located outside. The importance of this demand lies not only in preserving their privacy but also in preventing the prison administration from using the presence of these shower rooms outside the cells as pressure tool when the female prisoners take escalatory steps. These steps may include protests by refusing to leave the cells or may even be used as a form of punishment by the prison administration to force them to abandon their demands, depriving the female prisoners of their right to shower.

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