Recaptured Palestinian Gilboa escapees 'risk being tortured'

Recaptured Palestinian Gilboa escapees 'risk being tortured'
Concerns for the four Palestinian jailbreakers who were recaptured by Israel are growing as reports of them being tortured emerge.
2 min read
13 September, 2021
Escapee Zakaria Al-Zubeidi has been reportedly tortured [Getty]

A Palestinian prisoners' rights group has sounded the alarm over the wellbeing of four Gilboa Prison escapees who were recaptured by Israel, amid reports of possible torture.

Six Palestinians broke out of Gilboa Prison in northern Israel last week after digging their way to freedom using a spoon. Two of the men remain free while the other four were captured by the Israeli army.

Qadoura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, confirmed that fears are rising over the fate of the recaptured prisoners after reports emerged they may have been subject to torture.

One of the men has being hospitalised emerged.

Although Israel's Supreme Court outlawed torture in 1999, human rights groups - such as Amnesty International - have reported that torture by Israeli security services is still committed "with impunity".

There are also reports that Israel is preventing the detainees from meeting with lawyers, which "indicates that there is something the occupation is trying to hide", Fares added.

Fares said he would hold the Israeli authorities fully responsible for any harm done to the four re-arrested prisoners.

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Jibril Al-Zubaidi said that his brother Zakaria Al-Zubaidi is being subjected to severe types of torture since he was re-arrested.

In a Facebook post, he wrote that his brother had his leg broken, was electrocuted, deprived of sleep, and verbally abused. 

Israel has also taken measures to punish other Palestinian prisoners and harass the families of the escapees as part of a manhunt, according to reports.

Since the breakout, Israel put prisons holding Palestinian detainees under lockdown, with some prisoners put in isolation and others barred from exercising in the prison yard.

Following their recapture, Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum hailed the jail-breakers, saying "history will record the heroic and courageous scene of the six prisoners of war, the heroes of the Freedom Tunnel battle".

On Sunday, Israeli forces teargassed dozens of Palestinians who held protests in support of the prisoners in the village of Tuqu in Al-Arroub and Al-Fawwar refugee camps, in Hebron.

The UN, Red Cross, and other international rights groups have been urged to help protect Palestinian prisoners by the Palestinian Prisoners Club.