Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Naji Ali, "No Harm: A Torture Victim Remembers," Palestine Chronicle,

The report about those tortured Palestinian detainees leads me to recall my own experience. I returned to South Africa following the release of Nelson Mandela after he served 27 years in apartheid prison. I chose to go back to the birthplace of my activist father, the land that I grew up in for the first eight years of my life, and the place where my older brother was shot and killed right in front of me when I was just five years old.

I wasn't really surprised by the watchdog group Physicians for Human Rights-Israel's (PHR-I) latest intervention to Israel's health ministry, in which they accused Israeli doctors of complicity in the torture of Palestinian detainees in Israeli interrogation centers. Indeed, it sounded all too familiar to what I experienced during 550 days of incarceration in a South African prison from 1990 through 1992.

PHR-I reached its conclusion based on the testimony of two Palestinian prisoners who were tortured during interrogation and developed trauma-related symptoms including hearing loss, panic attacks and incontinence. The doctors who treat Palestinian detainees conduct medical checkups on the prisoners during and after interrogation but they fail to report the findings and symptoms, which make them an actor in the torturing of detainees, PHR-I said.

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