Monday, January 16, 2012

Iranian Press: Israeli Prisons Are Inhuman! (Who Knew Iran Hated Facebook That Much)

Iran's FARS "News" Agency is now claiming Israel mistreats Palestinian prisoners, reporting that Israeli prisons are "much more horrible than those of the Nazis:
Palestinian Minister for Captives Affairs Ataollah Abu Sabah said Palestinian prisoners are suffering harsh and inhuman conditions in Israeli jails, and stressed that Israeli prisons are much more horrible than those of the Nazis'.

Palestinian Minister for Captives Affairs Ataollah Abu Sabah said Palestinian prisoners are suffering harsh and inhuman conditions in Israeli jails, and stressed that Israeli prisons are much more horrible than those of the Nazis'.

Speaking told FNA, Sabah said that almost 4,400 Palestinian prisoners are incarcerated in Israeli jails, and added that those prisoners who are sentenced to long terms of imprisonment are kept in central prisons whose conditions are gravely inhume and terrible.

"These prisons lack sanitation and are overcrowded," he said, and added that Israel is using the harshest methods of suppression against Palestinian prisoners in these jails.

He added that conditions in Ketziot Prison, where many Palestinian political prisoners are held, are even harsher than the conditions tolerated by prisoners in the Nazi Germany.

Sabah added that prisoners in Ketziot are not safe from night torture.

Palestinian prisoners have always voiced complaint about the torturing and mistreatment of prisoners by Israeli guards.

In July, more than 20 Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli Negev jail were poisoned after eating meals served in the prison's canteen, prisoners reported.

They explained that after eating burger sandwiches from the canteen the prisoners suffered from diarrhea and vomiting after which they were carried to the prison's clinic but the administration did not tell them about their condition.

They asked the Red Cross to intervene and demand their transfer to hospital for adequate checkup.

Also in July, thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israel staged a mass hunger strike to defend prisoners' rights and protest against Israeli guards' inhumane behavior.
Among the sources rebutting Irans news is Maan, the Palestinian paper, which among other things reported that Palestinian prisoners had facebook accounts:
Ma'ariv says that a Hamas-affiliated prisoner, Haytham Battat, uploaded on his Facebook page three weeks ago a short YouTube film he entitled "Take me to Jihad." The film, according to Ma'ariv, included a song in Arabic dedicated to the Chechen rebels. A few minutes after the film was uploaded, his mother wrote a comment saying, “Oh my beloved son. This is a great song. I hope you and all prisoners will be released tomorrow morning."

The strange part of the story is that Battat updates his Facebook page from his prison cell. Battat is 27 and he is serving three consecutive life sentences after he was convicted of masterminding a bombing in Beersheba. He posted on his page photos shot inside the prison in one of which he is sitting with Said Shalalda, who was convicted of abducting and killing an Israeli man, Sasson Nuriel, in 2005 near Ramallah.

Ma'ariv highlighted that Shalalda was on the list of Palestinian prisoners Israel approved to be released if a prisoner swap deal for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is to be agreed on.

Battat is not the only Palestinian prisoner who updates his Facebook page from his prison cell. Ma'ariv's report says many prisoners have state-of-the-art cell phones which help them access the Internet easily and even make video calls.

Another Palestinian prisoner, Saed Omar, posted on his Facebook page several photos of the lavish meals he and other prisoners are served, the paper reported. Omar is from the Nablus district, and he is affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He is serving a 19-year sentence. He was said to have posted photos of prisoners preparing stuffed chickens before they gathered around a luxurious table to eat their meal.

"I would rather die with my weapon in my hand than the stay alive with my weapon in my enemy's hand," Omar was quoted as saying on Facebook.
Battat's Facebook Page

2 Photos from Battat's Facebook Page

Saed Omar

But it's not as if all Israelis are happy about the perks that terrorists get in Israeli prisons. Back in 2008, there were complaints: Prison Services Official: Terrorists in One Big Summer Camp:
"Some of [the terrorists] are lowly murderers who express no regret. They eat, drink, study, enjoy excellent conditions. It's shocking."

The government could free Gilad Shalit by taking simple steps to make prison less pleasant for terrorist inmates, the official explained, adding, "I'm saying this from experience." Israel's enemies believe time to be on their side, he said. They know that as time passes, pressure to release Israeli hostages will increase and Israel will be willing to give up more, while they face no such immediate pressure to free terrorists.

Meat, Cigarettes, and 12 TV stations

The official listed some of the privileges granted to terrorist inmates in Israel. Terrorists are granted three hours a day to wander the premises, where they socialize together and even play games. The prison provides ping-pong tables, basketball courts, soccer fields and backgammon sets.

Terrorist prisoners receive meat and fish on holidays, and are allowed to purchase 1,200 shekels worth of food each month in the prison canteen. Many buy meat, soda, candy, cigarettes and similar items. Most prisoners apparently get money to buy luxury items from the terrorist groups they represent, the source said.

"Did you see how Samir Kuntar went back to Lebanon? Puffed up like a balloon, and it's no surprise," he added. "They enjoy good meals all day, with all the extras. You know what? A prisoner like that, when he gets released and returns to Gaza, his quality of life drops.

"Courts. Did you know they appeal every day? Hundreds of appeals each year. Maybe more," the official continued. The appeals are funded by Israeli taxpayers, he said.

The prisoners each have a television set in their cell that receives 12 channels. The channels include programming in Arabic. According to the official, some of the Arabic-language programming includes stations hostile to Israel"provided at taxpayer expense.

Inmates are allowed to keep personal items in their cell, including the food and cigarettes they purchase, large quantities of books and more. They are allowed to pursue academic studies, and many complete degree programs while in jail. "Whoever wants a degree just has to kill a Jew or carry out an attack. He'll get a degree, live like a king on the Israel taxpayer's dime, until he gets released in the next deal."

While terrorists are supposed to be separated from visitors by a sheet of glass, in reality they are allowed to see their young children in person. Their families bring blankets and other items from home. Female terrorists are allowed to keep very young children with them in prison.
In light of how Gilad Shalit was treated while being held hostage by Hamas, some of the extra privileges of the Palestinian prisoners were revoked.

While we're on the subject, just how are human rights being handled in Iran?

In 2010, Karim Sadjadpour, an associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, had some questions for Iranian President Ahmadinejad--among them:
o According to human-rights organizations including Amnesty International, executions have increased four-fold since you became president in 2005, and Iran now executes more people per capita than any other country in the world. Iran also lifted its moratorium on stoning since you became president. And according to Reporters Without Borders, Iran is now the world's "biggest prison for journalists." Do you take pride in your record?

o The prominent human-rights activist Mehrangiz Kar has reported that last August five young men in the city of Hamadan had their hands chopped off as a punishment for theft. Do you agree with such a draconian punishment?

o Two days after the June 12, 2009, presidential election, you declared that Iran is "the most stable country in the world." But the next day nearly three million people, according to the mayor of Tehran, took to the streets to protest the election results. Given your confidence in your popular support, would you grant the opposition a permit to protest, and would you guarantee their safety?
In 2011, Sadjadpour had more questions for Ahmadinejad, including:
o Somayeh Tohidlou, a 32-year-old female sociology PhD student, recently received 50 lashes in prison for having 'insulted' you by campaigning for Mousavi in 2009. Do you believe that men lashing women for their political views is an appropriate form of punishment?

o You said last September that 'freedom is a divine right.' Does that apply to Iran's Bahais, who are persecuted for practicing their faith, discriminated against in the workplace andimprisoned for attempting to educate their youth, who have been barred from university?

o In March you claimed that Iran is 'the best example for asserting human rights in the world.' So why has your government refused to allow the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, to visit your country and investigate allegations of human rights violations?

o In a BBC survey of 27 countries, including non-Western nations such as China, Nigeria and the Philippines, Iran ranks as 'the most negatively viewed of all countries rated,' even below North Korea, with just a 16 percent favorability rating. Why?

o Nongovernmental organizations, including Transparency International, Freedom House and the World Bank, have said that Iran's rates of corruption, economic malaise and repression during your tenure are higher than those of Hosni Mubarak's Egypt and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's Tunisia. Are you confident you won't share their fate?During your presidency Iran has had the highest per capita execution rate in the world, including recent public executions and executions of people accused of being homosexual. Are you proud of this record?

o Ali Vakili Rad, who was convicted by the French in 1991 for the brutal stabbing death of 77-year-old Iranian democracy activist Shapour Bakhtiar in Paris, was given an official hero’s welcome at the Tehran airport upon his release from prison last year. Why does your government glorify assassins?
Just curious.

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