Name: Khaled I.
Date of Incident: June 2012
Location: Al’ Arrub refugee camp, West Bank
Nature of Incident: Prison conditions / hunger strike / solitary confinement
A 16-year-old boy describes the prison conditions in Hasharon prison where children are sometimes punished with solitary confinement and denial of family visits.
Sixteen-year-old Khaled was arrested on 11 January 2012, and transferred to Ofer prison, in the West Bank. On 24 April he was transferred to Hasharon prison, inside Israel, in violation of article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits such transfers.
Khaled reports that there are around 40 children in his section of Hasharon prison. The children are held in rooms with capacity for either eight, six or two persons. “The rooms have bunk beds with thin and uncomfortable mattresses,” says Khaled. According to Khaled, nine children went on hunger strike in June. One of their complaints was that there was very little to buy in the prison shop (the cantina). “We have to buy things from the cantina because the prison food is bad,” says Khaled. “Since the hunger strike we now have biscuits, chickpeas, tuna and other foods.” Khaled says that each child is provided with 150 Shekels per month for the cantina from the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners and their families. “Some families cannot afford the money, so we find ourselves compelled to eat the prison food even though it is bad and insufficient.”
“In the past, the prison administration (Israeli Prison Service) punished us for silly reasons. For example, about four weeks ago I was put in solitary confinement in a cell measuring 2x1 metres for seven days for hanging a Palestinian flag in my room. They also impose other penalties. If you are late getting up, or smile during roll call, they take the television away and ban family visits for a month,” says Khaled. Although some things improved after the hunger strike, like the number of items for sale in the cantina, Khaled still complains about their treatment. “For example,” says Khaled, “four days ago, at around 3:00 am, prison guards stormed Room 4 and searched it for about five minutes. We still don’t know why they went through their bags and searched their beds.”
13 June 2012