The Justice Ministry has received complaints of severe police violence against demonstrators, including the use of Taser electroshock weapons, beating and kicking bound detainees, racist verbal abuse and sexual harassment of female detainees.
The complaints were filed to the ministry’s department for investigation of police officers by the Adalah advocacy group two weeks ago, after a demonstration in support of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners outside the prison clinic in Ramle.
According to Adalah’s letter to the police investigation department, after most of the demonstrators had left, about 30 of them formed a protest vigil near one of the prison gates and police commandos at the site attacked them with extreme violence and arrested eight of them.
A few of the remaining activists came to the Ramle prison station to wait for their colleagues’ release and started singing. One of them, Dorit Argo, wrote in a personal statement to the department that police commandos attacked them in a frenzy of violence and beat them up, using tasers on them, kicking and swearing.
“A policeman shouted at me that I’m a whore and if I open my mouth he would smash my face. I said he was threatening me and he kicked me, pulled my hair and threw me to the floor of the room the men were held in. Some of them were in a locked cell and others were on the floor. Two of the men were bound and blindfolded. A cop tasered all those on the floor. I managed to avoid direct contact with the taser but felt the electric shock. None of the detainees resisted, even slightly. The cop threatened that if he hears us talking he will taser us again … Throughout the evening cops and officers mocked our names, our dress and our appearance,” she wrote. An officer named “Shimon,” who didn’t like one of the women’s reply to his derisive comments, pinned her to a wall, pointed his taser at her and threatened to use it unless she sits quietly, Argo said.
Another detainee, Eden Dror, wrote in his statement, “We heard the women shouting. A few bound youngsters were brought into the room, some screaming with pain. The first one I saw was Jihad – he was cuffed and a commando behind him pushed him and choked him with a tape. The others’ feet were bound bent on the floor and the policemen punched and kicked them. As they screamed in pain the policeman shouted ‘dumb Arabs, die,’ and I heard the sound of tasers being used on the prisoners lying tied up on the floor. Shimon spat in a detainee’s face, tasered him and shouted ‘you’re a hero, want to be a shahid (martyr)?'” The policemen sexually harassed the female Arab detainees, calling them “whores” and saying “I’ll f— you” and “I’ll smash your face up,” Adalah attorney Orna Cohen wrote to the department. Two other female detainees and a man who happened to be at the police station and witnessed the policemen’s violent behavior also attached statements to the complaint.