In a landmark case, a Jerusalem court this week ruled that the Palestinian Authority (PA) must pay damages to 51 Palestinians who were imprisoned and systematically subjected to “unimaginable torture” by the PA from 1990-2003.
The court’s 1,860-page ruling was published on Wednesday after 90 court sessions and a painstaking review of the plaintiffs’ allegations that they were physically and mentally harmed — some for several years — after being detained by the PA on suspicion of collaborating with Israel.
Plaintiffs said the PA sought to extract confessions by brutally beating them, extinguishing cigarettes on their bodies, pulling out their teeth, forcing them into painful positions for extended periods of time, and denying them food and drink. Several of the plaintiffs also stated their genitals were harmed, rendering them sterile.
In other instances, prisoners said they were locked inside blistering hot metal containers, interchangeably soaked with boiling and freezing water, forced to drink toilet water and sit on shards of broken glass, forced to watch executions of other suspected collaborators with Israel, and regularly denied access to medical care.
The PA admitted to the imprisonment of several of the plaintiffs, but denied all allegations of torture.
“It’s as though someone [in the PA] read Dante’s ‘Inferno’ and tried to emulate it,” said Barak Kedem, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, the Times of Israel reported. “After 14 years [of deliberations]…the court has brought justice.”