Bar Association: Girls Held in Subhuman Conditions

The Israel Bar Association published a scathing report Wednesday on the prison conditions of five girls arrested at the protest in Jabel Mukaber.

Ezra HaLevi and Gil Ronen ,

The Prisons Service Committee of the Israel Bar Association published a scathing report Wednesday on the prison conditions of five minor girls who were arrested at a protest in Jabel Mukaber earlier this week, investigative journalist Yoav Yitzchak's News First Class reports.

The committee members visited the Russian Compound detention center and interviewed the five girls, aged 14 to 17, who refused to identify themselves before the authorities.

"The minor girls were given used military blankets that emit a bad smell, and that is an understatement," the report said. Three of the girls shared a cell with a adult woman who smoked. The cell "was full of cigarette smoke and had no ventilation aperture."

The two other girls said they had not been given bed sheets but "stinky, used, military blankets. They did receive towels," the report went on to say, "but these were dirty and unusable." The report determined that the jailors were denying the girls food and water and insisting that they identify themselves first. Medical service for injuries suffered during the Jabel Mukaber incident were also denied on the same pretext.

Making food, water and medical attention conditional on the girl's agreement to identify themselves "is baseless and constitutes an egregious violation of their rights," the Bar Association committee determined. The conditions of their imprisonment are "harsh, inhuman and illegal," the report stated.

Prisons Service Angry at Bar for Publishing Report
Prisons Service spokesman Lt. Col. Yaron Zamir responded to the report by the Bar Association's Prisons Service Committee by attacking the Bar Association. This was not the first time, he said, that the Bar Association "sent a report to the media before it was sent to the Prisons' Service." When the IPS receives the report it will comment on it, he said.

Zamir noted that "extensive funds have been poured into changing the Jerusalem detention center and improving living conditions there."

MK Zevulun Orlev (NU/NRP) said that "the report shows that the Prisons Service is behaving in an inhumane manner reminiscent of dark regimes," which cannot be allowed to exist in Israel as a law abiding country.