Israel: The GSS inflict physical punishment on Ms Fahima during interrogation

Ms. Tali Fahima, a peace activist from Kiryat-Gat suspected of contacting the leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin, Zakariya Zbeide, was arrested on August 8, 2004, and turned over to the GSS. The interrogation methods used against her include: sleep deprivation, food deprivation, painful handcuffing to a chair for long periods and sexual harassment.

After 28 days of intensive interrogation, no evidence was found against her. She was not released but transferred to administrative detention in Neve Tirtza prison for 3 months. During this period of arrest (from September 5, 2004 to December 5, 2004) Ms Fahima was kept separated from the other prisoners. She was allowed access to only a limited number of books, and deprived of the right to make phone calls, except to her lawyer. She was repeatedly punished with solitary confinement and denial of visits, cigarettes and prevented from buying basic needs in the prison’s cantina.

On Sunday, December 5, 2004, Ms Fahima was transferred again to GSS interrogations compound for 12 days, in spite of the fact that the GSS representative admitted in court that there is no reliable evidence to put her on trial. In a meeting with her lawyer Ms Ben Nathan, dated December 7, she complained about:

1. Interrogations lasting long hours where she is tightly handcuffed to a chair, behind her back. During visit time she was also held tightly handcuffed and signs were clearly visible on her wrists. Despite the request of her lawyer, the prison guard refused to release her hands, arguing that, “those are the orders”. It should be remembered that an Israeli Supreme Court decision 5100/94 (The Committee Against Torture in Israel vs. The State of Israel) forbade the tying of prisoners and tight handcuffing as methods of physical punishment or means of interrogation.

2. Tali Fahima was denied access to the toilets during the interrogations for hours on end. Her interrogators, including one code-named “Gil,” said to her that the Israeli Security Services instructions allow denial of access to the toilet.

3. In spite of the long interrogation periods lasting late into the night, she was asked to wake up at dawn. When she refused to do so, she was denied access to cigarettes for 4 days.

4. Ms Fahima is moved within the interrogation compound with her eyes covered so tightly that the red signs resulting from the pressure are clearly visible on her brow, according to her lawyer.

5. The interrogators and male prison guards come into close physical contact with her.

Tali was left to understand that harsh conditions and methods are used against her because she is exercising her right to remain silent. Ms. Fahima is only exercising her legal right, which in no way entitles the authorities to punish her, physically or in any other way.

For more details contact Tali’s lawyer, Smadar Ben Nathan on 052-3589775