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Anti-Disengagement Activists Remain Jailed

Dozens of anti-disengagement protestors remain in jail for blocking highways, aiming to show that disengagement will shut down the country. Some of them claim they have been mistreated.
First Publish: 5/23/2005, 9:38 AM / Last Update: 5/22/2005, 10:21 AM

More than 500 people, mainly youths but also adults, were arrested on Monday night after they ground routine police work to a near total halt in some 40 locations around the country. Most of them were released over the course of the week, with restrictions varying from four months of house arrest, in a few extreme cases, to nothing.

Many of the several dozen who remain in jail refuse to identify themselves, in a further attempt to confound police and court work. Others refuse to agree to conditions of release that will restrict them to their homes or schools for the coming weeks.

Some 100 people camped out outside the Maasiyahu Prison in Ramle over the Sabbath, in solidarity with those incarcerated inside. They held Sabbath prayer services and joined in festive Sabbath meals outside the prison. Among them were many family members of some of the prisoners in the special new "disengagement" wing. Kol Rina News Agency reports that the visitors were able to hear the young prisoners, and vice-versa.

Many more people joined them outside the prison last night for a Melaveh Malka ("Sabbath Queen Escort") solidarity rally.

Many of the young prisoners have been treated unfairly, it has been alleged. Attorney Amikam Hadar, hired by the National Union party to represent many of them, says that many youths were subject to one or more of the following restrictions, in violation of the law: prevented from phoning their parents and attorneys, not being provided with food and drink, not being provided with bathroom facilities, not being permitted to recite prayers, being denied kosher meals meeting their religious standards, not being given beds, and more. One 16-year-old boy was reportedly beaten up and cruelly denied water even as he was about to faint of thirst.

Five youths were reportedly transferred on Friday to Abu Kabir, a high-security detention center. One concerned parent said his son told him that conditions in Abu Kabir are very difficult: "When he was arrested on Monday, he was taken in a truck meant for 20 prisoners, but into which were crammed double that number, to Abu Kabir. They were left there for many hours, until the guards realized that the boys were about to riot... They then very violently took them out of the truck, and had them transferred to Maasiyahu Prison. The girls, however, were left in in the difficult conditions of Abu Kabir - until the boys found out and threatened not to leave the courtroom; the girls were taken the next day to Maasiyahu..."

The parent, who knows the identity of one of the youths brought to Abu Kabir today, said, "This is an atttempt to break their spirit, and to separate them from each other, and is a violation of regulations - as the attorneys and parents have not even been informed where the youths are."

Among the imprisoned idealists are youths who are scheduled to take their high school matriculation exams in English tomorrow. The Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) Civil Rights Organization has filed an urgent plea with the Ministers of Education and Public Security to allow them to take the tests inside the prison walls - a privilege often granted to other prisoners.

Arutz-7 has learned that veteran journalist Yitzchak Hildesheimer of Kibbutz Shaalvim was manhandled by two policemen on Monday, the day of the road-blockings - though his only "crime" was happening on the scene and taking pictures. He told Arutz-7 that he was on a bus trip with fellow kibbutz members in the Be'er Sheva-Arad region when they encountered an anti-disengagement road-blocking. He took his camera and went to the scene of the action, when suddenly "a policeman, without warning, pushed me away violently and threw me towards the paddy wagon. He refused to hear my protests that I was a journalist, and because I was being beaten, I couldn't take my press card out of my pocket and show him."

After suffering additional punches, cuts, bruises and being flipped onto the ground, the over-60 reporter was able, with the help of another policeman, to speak to a more senior police agent on the scene, who apologized to him. However, on his way back to the bus, another policeman again employed strong violence against him - as attested to by passengers on the bus.

"I still have aches and pains," Hildesheimer said on Thursday, "but I am mainly shocked at the way policemen can 'deal with' demonstrators, and all the more so with journalists." He has filed a complaint with the police against the two officers, whose names he knows.