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Protest To Demand ICRC Protect Tortured Palestinian Detainee Samer Arbeed

6 October 2019

Protest to demand ICRC protect tortured Palestinian detainee Samer Arbeed

Protest to demand ICRC protect tortured Palestinian detainee Samer Arbeed

On Friday 4th October 2019 Inminds Human Rights Group held a vigil outside the UK Mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in London to demand ICRC intervene to protect tortured Palestinian detainee Samer Arbeed, ensuring his safe and immediate release. Samer Arbeed has been hospitalised in critical condition, on a life support system, since Friday 27th October 2019 after being savagely tortured by the Israeli secret police Shin Bet - torture that was directly sanctioned by an Israeli judge. The day before the protest we learnt that an ICRC doctor did finally visited Samer on Wednesday 2nd October, but no medical report or statement has been made.

Inminds chair Abbas Ali said "The ICRC is meant to be a guardian of the Geneva Conventions. We are here to demand the ICRC stop turning a blind eye to Israel's systematic breach of the Geneva Conventions, and do its duty and investigate Samer's torture, to use its considerable influence to demand Israel immediately release Samer and to hold those responsible for his torture, including the judge, accountable for their crimes".


Last week on 25th September 2019, Samer Arbeed, a 44 years old Palestinian father of three young children, was attacked by Israeli soldiers whilst on his way home from work with his wife. They brutally beat him in front of his wife and then abducted him. They took him to the notorious "Russian compound" interrogation centre of Jerusalem prison where the beatings continued. A banning order was issued preventing him from seeing a lawyer.

The next day Samer was taken to Ofer military court, again he was prevented from having his lawyer present. With his wounds visible he pleaded with the judge for medical attention, that he was suffering severe pain in his chest and constantly throwing up. Rather than immediately rush him to hospital, the judge instead agreed to the Israeli secret police, Shin Bet's request that they needed to further torture Samer as he had not yet confessed to anything.
So the judge legally sanctioned Shin Bet to further torture Samer Arbeed. Samer was dragged back to the torture den of the Russian Compound.

On the 28th September Samer's lawyer was informed via phone call, by one of the interrogators at the Russian Compound of Jerusalem prison, that Samer having been legally tortured for the last 48 hours was now in critical condition, unconscious on a life support system at Hadassah Hospital. His ribs had been smashed, his kidney failed with his whole body covered in bruises as a result of Israeli state sanctioned torture.

The Israeli secret police, Shin Bet, in a statement released on the same day said "The investigator reported that he did not feel well. According to procedure, he was transferred to the hospital for medical examinations and treatment. No other details can be provided."

Samer's lawyer petitioned the Military Court to release Samer from Shin Bet custody due to the state of his health, but a military judge rejected the request, saying that Samer should be ready "in the coming days" to resume interrogations!

Amnesty International has condemned the Israeli state sanctioned torture saying “It is utterly outrageous that the use of torture during interrogations continues to be sanctioned by the Israeli authorities, from the Shin Bet, through the executive branch and all the way to the Supreme Court. Under international treaties, which legally bind Israel, the use of torture cannot be justified under any circumstances. This case exposes Israel’s claims that its judiciary upholds human rights as a complete sham.. Israel’s authorities must end their systematic use of torture and ensure that those responsible for the torture of Samer Arbeed, including those with command and other superior responsibility, are held to account."

Protest to demand ICRC protect tortured Palestinian detainee Samer Arbeed

Protest to demand ICRC protect tortured Palestinian detainee Samer Arbeed

Samer Arbeed leaflet - front

Samer Arbeed leaflet - back


Since 1967, 221 Palestinian political prisoners have died in Israeli occupation prisons, 73 of them have been tortured to death. The last Palestinian prisoner to be tortured to death was Nasser Taqatqa.


Less than three months ago, on 16th July 2019, 31 years old Palestinian prisoner Nasser Taqatqa was found dead in his isolation cell after being tortured for nearly a month. He had been taken to Israel's notorious Al Jalame torture den for interrogation on 19th June 2019. Following 'harsh' interrogation he was sent to solitary confinement at Nitzan detention centre to die in isolation.

Despite his weakness and visible signs of medical need, he was denied medical treatment and the Israeli prison authorities refused to remove him from solitary confinement, claiming he was being “punished.” He was subjected to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment amounting to torture under interrogation. His autopsy showed he had succumbed to acute pneumonia, his hands and feet showed clear signs of shackling during his interrogation.

Nasser Taqatqa murder by torture is not an isolated incident.


Arafat Jaradat, a 30 year old Palestinian father of 2 young children aged 4 and 2 years old, married with a pregnant wife, died on Saturday 23rd Feb 2013 after being savagely tortured for 5 days by Israel’s secret police Shin Bet. He had been arrested on suspicion of just throwing a stone.. 5 days later he was dead.

At his last military hearing on 22nd Feb Arafat pleaded with the judge that he didn't want to go back to his cell, because he was being brutally tortured. He had severe pain in his back and all over his body due to the beatings and being hung for many hours during interrogation. The judge was dismissive and the torture continued. Arafat died the next day.

Shin Bet claimed he had died of a heart attack but the autopsy carried out at the National Israeli Forensic Medicine Center showed no sign of heart failure or any other illness, but revealed broken bones and found his whole body was covered in "strong and excessive bruising".. "under the skin, inside the muscle and along the spine at the bottom of the neck, deep inside the tissue". The autopsy determined the cause of death as "nervous shock as a result of extreme pain from the intensity of the injuries, which resulted from multiple direct and extensive acts of torture".

Shockingly it was revealed that an Israeli doctor was involved in Arafat’s torture who had guided the interrogators, giving them the green light for further torture.


37 years old father of five young children, Raed Abdul-Salam al-Jabari, died on 9th Sept 2014 after being severely and repeatedly tortured by Israeli interrogators at Eshel prison.

Israel had claimed al-Jabari had "committed suicide by hanging himself" in his cell but the autopsy revealed clear signs of torture - Al-Jabari had suffered brain hemorrhage following repeated blows to the head and face. His neck showed no signs of hanging.

Al-Jabari was a car mechanic in Hebron when he was abducted by the occupation on 26th July 2014 following a car accident involving an illegal Israeli settler. After a month of interrogation at Ofer prison, Al-Jabari was to be released on bail until the prosecution appealed and his bail was revoked. He was then moved from Ofer prison to Eshel prison on 3rd September to undergo further interrogation, 6 days later he was dead.


The Geneva Convention strictly prohibits torture, and Israel is a signatory to the Convention against Torture. The Rome Statute, articles 7,8, state that torture is a war crime and when systematic and wide-spread it is a crime against humanity. Israel is the only state that legally sanctions torture. The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel states that over 1000 complaints of torture were submitted between 2001 and 2015, but not a single complaint has led to a criminal investigation, let alone a trial or a conviction. United Nations funded “Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture for Occupied Palestinian Territory”, in 2014, treated 845 Palestinian victims of torture including 317 women and 135 children.

The International Committee of the Red Cross was created on the mandate of ensuring that the Geneva Conventions are upheld. Unfortunately the International Committee of the Red Cross has failed to do this for Palestinian political prisoners. It has shamefully remained silent whilst the Israeli state sanctions torture of Palestinian prisoners like Samer Arbeed.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is to be condemned for failing to take action and hold the Israeli occupation accountable for its violations against Palestinian prisoners, their inaction emboldens the occupation to continue its crimes against the prisoners.

Protest to demand ICRC protect tortured Palestinian detainee Samer Arbeed

Protest to demand ICRC protect tortured Palestinian detainee Samer Arbeed

Protest to demand ICRC protect tortured Palestinian detainee Samer Arbeed


The protest went very well with hundreds of leaflets being taken by the sympathetic public in no time. One lady upon reading about the abuses of Palestinian political prisoners by Israel could not control her emotions and burst out crying in empathy with the suffering Palestinians. The UK Mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross is within the British Red Cross building, that building is undergoing renovation, surrounded in scaffolding and builders. Several of the builders were very sympathetic to our protest, coming and taking photos with us and joining the protest.

One Israel shill did try to disrupt the speeches, shouting lines straight from the pro-Israel propaganda handbook ("what about Hamas.." etc). Another solitary zionist decided to form a one man counter demo by displaying a tiny Israeli flag on his mobile phone from from across the road.. unfortunately we didn't notice his counter protest until the end of our protest when we were packing up and wondered who he was.. sorry for that mate, but we have included a photo to register your protest.

Can you spot the zionist counter-demo?

Statement issued by ICRC specially for the protest


The Deputy Head of Delegation for ICRC, Mark Brailsford and Head of Communication, Matthew Morris, were gracious enough to come out and talk to us, and invite us in for a lengthy meeting to discuss Samer Arbeed. They had also at very short notice prepared a printed statement on Samer Arbeed especially for the vigil (it had been prepared whilst we were protesting outside as we had not informed them of the vigil beforehand).

We asked the ICRC that as guardians of the Geneva Conventions, why the ICRC had been silent on the state sanctioned torture of Samer Arbeed - a serious breach of the Geneva Conventions? Considering Samer's precarious situation we asked why it had taken so long for the ICRC doctors to finally visited Samer (They visited him on Wednesday whilst his torture and hospitalisation was already a media story in Israel on Saturday). Apparently the ICRC had not been aware that the torture had been sanctioned by a judicial body as reported by Haaretz and documented by Amnesty. They explained that they had requested the Israeli government on Sunday for permission to visit Samer, but were not granted access till Wednesday.

We asked why following the visit no statement had been made about his condition after torture, why their independent medical report was not made public. They said their mandate did not permit them to reveal what they discovered in their medical examination of the tortured detainee. Their medical report would only be shared with the Israeli government. It was because of this policy of keeping hidden what they find, that the ICRC were given access to Samer by the Israeli government.

We explained that his family has not been allowed to see Samer, that the only information the family have on Samer's health condition was what the Israeli doctors had revealed to his lawyer, and that could not be relied upon given that in the past, as in the case of Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat who had been tortured to death, Israeli doctors had participated in the torture which lead to the death of a detainee. The only independent doctors allowed to visit Samer is the ICRC doctors. Did Samer's children not have a right to know the medical condition of their father? The ICRC responded that they sympathised with the family, that the family did have a right to know, but unfortunately the ICRC was bound by its mandate which forbade them disclosing any details of the torture they discover, or even the health condition of the prisoners they visit, to anyone but the Israeli government. He said it is very rare that their medical reports are made public - only twice he recalled - Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo - both times they were only made public by their leaking to the media (he stressed, not by the ICRC).

Considering Samer's health is in critical condition, on a life support system, had they asked the Israeli authorities to release him on humanitarian grounds? The ICRC replied that they hadn't, its very rare for them to make such a request - only in very exceptional cases where someone is about to die.

We told them that when Samer's lawyer petitioned the military court to release Samer from Shin Bet custody on health grounds, but the military judge rejected the request, insisting that "in the coming days" Samer would be ready for the interrogations to resume. If this happens, what will the ICRC do, wait for him to be tortured again? The ICRC felt that with the attention on the case and their report to the Israeli government, that will will hopefully not happen, and that they will visit Samer again, even in the interrogation centre if need-be.

The ICRC concluded by saying that they will be contacting their Mission in Palestine to inform them that the protests for Samer Arbeed had reached London, and they promised to keep us informed of any developments from the ICRC regards this case. Whilst we disagreed with some of their decisions and actions in this case, we thanked them for making the time to see us at such short notice.

Protest to demand ICRC protect tortured Palestinian detainee Samer Arbeed

Protest to demand ICRC protect tortured Palestinian detainee Samer Arbeed

Protest to demand ICRC protect tortured Palestinian detainee Samer Arbeed

Protest to demand ICRC protect tortured Palestinian detainee Samer Arbeed

Protest to demand ICRC protect tortured Palestinian detainee Samer Arbeed



Source: www.inminds.com

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