Marwan Barghouti beaten 'with clubs' by Israeli prison guards

Marwan Barghouti beaten 'with clubs' by Israeli prison guards
Palestinian officials have expressed serious concern over the wellbeing of Marwan Barghouti, who has been in prison for over 20 years.
3 min read
19 March, 2024
Marwan Barghouti’s wife Fadwa has been campaigning for his release since before the current war [GETTY]

Fatah leader and high-profile Palestinian prisoner Marwan Barghouti has been reportedly beaten "with clubs" by Israeli prison guards during his solitary confinement at Israel’s Megiddo prison, as the Palestine Liberation Organization accused Israel of endangering his life.

Barghouti's family and the Palestinian Commission for Detainees and Ex-Prisoners' Affairs said he suffered serious injuries from the assault and are calling on support from the international community.

Qadura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Commission for Detainees and Ex-Prisoners' Affairs, told Israeli newspaper Haaretz that they are worried about 65-year-old Barghouti’s health status.

"The concern is that after 21 years in jail he will suddenly die and they will say it was because of medical reasons," Fares said.

Fares and Barghouti’s wife Fadwa have been campaigning for Barghouti's release since before the current war, having met with officials in Egypt and Jordan.

Barghouti was moved to solitary confinement last month after Israeli officials were allegedly worried that the political leader was coordinating an uprising in the occupied West Bank amid soaring tensions over Israel’s near daily raids.

Israel’s far right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir is in charge of prisons and has overseen the movement of Barghouti to solitary confinement.

In recent weeks, it has been speculated that Hamas has named Barghouti in its list of prisoners it wants to be exchanged as part of the ceasefire deal between Hamas and Israel which could see the release of up to 1,000 prisoners.

Since the outbreak of war, he has been subject to even harsher treatment between Israel and Hamas in October, which triggered a wider campaign of repression and abuse against Palestinian in Israeli jails.

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At least 13 prisoners have died in Israeli custody since October 7, according to the club while human rights groups have recorded a surge in accounts of torture and abuse under Israel's watch.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights called for an independent investigation into the death of 23 year old Abdul-Rahman Bassem al-Bahsh, who died in Israeli custody at Megiddo prison, where Barghouti is being held, in January.

PCHR, and NGOs Al Mezan and Al-Haq have received various accounts of torture and assaults against Palestinian detainees at Megiddo.

The head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club Abdullah al-Zaghari said that two other prisoners have also been subject to serious attacks by guards.

Al-Zaghari said that Israel’s “systemic torture operations have escalated in intensity since October 7” and risk the deaths of more prisoners.

Secretary General of the executive committee Palestine Liberation Organization Hussein al-Sheikh on Monday wrote on social media X that Barghouti has been exposed to "isolation, torture, attempt to coerce, humiliate and beat him, putting his life in danger".

Al-Sheikh also called on the international community to "stop the repressive measures against our prisoners and our leaders in the occupation prisons, protect them and release them immediately".

He is considered one of Israel’s highest profile detainees and as a result he has been subject to harsh conditions such as length solitary confinements.

He has been imprisoned since 2002, receiving five life sentences for leading Fatah’s militant faction, Tanzim, during the First and Second Intifadas, or uprisings, against Israel's illegal occupation of the West Bank, which it annexed in 1967.

Israeli prison services in in comments carried by Haaretz said "false information has been published regarding security prisoner Marwan Barghouti".

It said that the service operates in accordance to the law.