Palestinian groups demand inspection of Israeli prisons as detainees are released with chronic health problems

The Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza has demanded international inspections of Israeli detention centers, after the release of a number of prisoners this week who appeared frail and thin after several months in detention.

Among those released was the Council’s former Speaker, Aziz Dweik, who had been held for nine months, accused of affiliation with Hamas. He appeared much thinner and greyer than before being detained.

The Council said it “looks with anger at the crimes committed by the enemy against the prisoners, and the greatest example is the photo of Dr. Aziz Dweik when he left the occupation prisons.”

The Council alleged that the prisoners had been subjected to starvation, isolation and torture.

Dweik himself said Friday that prisoners were “starved for 24 hours a day. The prisoners are in poor health conditions, suffering from skin diseases, and the food is insufficient even for children, let alone meeting the needs of men.”

He added that sugar, salt, and fruit were virtually absent in the prisons.

CNN has asked the Israel Defense Forces and prison authorities for a response to the allegations made by the Council.

Most of the approximately 30 prisoners released from the Negev and Ofer prisoners this week were administrative detainees, who had not been charged with any offenses.

One of them, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, was Saed Abu Shanab from Tulkarm, who had spent 21 years in Israeli prisons.

The Prisoners’ Society said that the condition of the prisoners “reflect some of the harsh and humiliating conditions of detention, including acts of torture, abuse and starvation, in addition to medical crimes.”

In May, CNN published an investigation based on testimonies from whistleblowers at the Negev facility which reported that “doctors sometimes amputated prisoners’ limbs due to injuries sustained from constant handcuffing; [and] of medical procedures sometimes performed by underqualified medics.”

In response to that reporting, the IDF responded that it “ensures proper conduct towards the detainees in custody. Any allegation of misconduct by IDF soldiers is examined and dealt with accordingly.”

The Israeli military has acknowledged partially converting three different military facilities into detention camps for Palestinian detainees from Gaza since the Hamas-led October 7 attack on Israel.

The Prisoners’ Society said in April that the vast majority of detainees released suffered from health problems “which required the transfer of some of them to the hospital immediately upon their release.”

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