ISSN 2330-717X

Palestinian Report Alleges Abusisi Tortured, Suffering From Serious Illness – OpEd

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Hamas sources have published an account of Dirar Abusisi’s condition (Arabic) which alleges that he has been tortured by the Shabak in Eshel Prison and that he suffers from untreated kidney stones.  Among the claims made in the online article, which was published after visits to him in prison by Hamas’ minister for prisoner affairs, are that his interrogators threatened to kill his wife and six children if he did not offer the information they wanted.  He was also subject to sleep deprivation.  The prisoner told his visitors that he was suffering from several diseases and his health is deteriorating.  He suffers from “heart and gall bladder, and kidney problems, along with pain in cartilage in his back and stomach problems.  He also suffers from pain in his left eye,” and says that the prison administration does not give him painkillers.  Doctors Without Borders visited him too in prison and found him to be suffering from kidney stones with the prison administration refusing to treat his condition properly.  He is currently kept in solitary confinement.  All of these, if true, are grave violations of international law and constitute torture under such statutes.

Notably, the Izzeldin military wing has included a short English language summary of the article on its website.  All of which could mean a number of things.  For those most conspiracy minded, it could mean that Abusisi is affiliated with Hamas as his indictment claims (though not necessarily that he was a rocket engineer as claimed).  Or it could mean that Hamas, which is rumored to be close to a deal for the freedom of Gilad Shalit, is notifying the Israelis that it plans to demand the release of Abusisi as part of the overall deal.  Or it could mean that Hamas is publicizing the prisoner’s plight as a humanitarian gesture to his family.

If Hamas is now demanding Abusisi’s release as part of the Shalit deal it might mean, as I wrote, he’s affiliated with Hamas, or it might mean that Abusisi is such a high level Palestinian detainee and that circumstances of his kidnapping were so egregious for Palestinians, that his freedom is a high priority for them.

If the claims that he may be included in a prisoner exchange are true, it’s possible that one of the reasons he was kidnapped was to use his as a bargaining chip in the Shalit negotiations.  Though it seems exceedingly odd to me, it’s possible the Mossad figured that if it kidnapped and detained a major figure maintaining Gaza’s infrastructure and held him “for ransom” as it were, that it would motivate Hamas more to do a deal for Shalit.  One thing I’ve learned in reporting on Israeli intelligence matters is that even the most outlandish assumptions about their thinking can be true.

This article first appeared at Tikun Olam

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

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