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From the field

Detention and Interrogation of Salem and Hanan "Ali," Husband and Wife, Residents of Bani Na'im Village

June 1995, Summary

Salem and Hanan 'Ali, residents of Bani Na'im village, Hebron District, are the parents of a two year old child and an infant of seven months. Salem Ali, who is 31, was arrested on 29 January 1995 for the first time in his life. He was interrogated for a period of six weeks.

A week following his arrest, on 6 February, his wife, Hanan, was detained. The GSS interrogated Hanan six consecutive days continuously for at least eight hours each day. Throughout this entire period, she was not permitted to shower or change clothes. The interrogators cursed and threatened her, and photographed her, all with the intention of getting her to confess about the alleged acts of her husband.

At no time during the interrogation did the interrogators contend that Hanan had violated any law. She was released after one week, on 13 February 1995; no indictment was filed, and no legal proceedings were initiated against her.

In addition to the pressure exerted on Salem through his wife's detention, Salem was subjected to the typical techniques of torture and ill-treatment used in GSS interrogations. These means, cited in his testimony, included, among others:

violent shaking of his body, sometimes while knocking his body against the wall; blows and kicks to his entire body by GSS interrogators and collaborators; sleep deprivation for extended periods of up to two weeks and more; being tied each night to a chair (in one instance, to a small chair) for weeks at a time; exposure to intense cold, generated by an air-conditioner, and to loud music; deprivation of medical supervision and treatment for five days although he was ill; being forced to kneel on his toes until exhaustion being held in poor sanitary conditions.

Like his wife, Salem was not indicted or tried for any criminal offense. When the GSS completed its interrogation, an administrative detention order for six months was issued against him. He was released on 29 May 1995, after the period of his detention had been reduced on appeal.

Abuse of Palestinians not even suspected of criminal offenses has been used in the past by security forces in the Occupied Territories as a means to pressure members of their family. In Hanan's case, and in an additional case documented by B'Tselem, the authorities detained and interrogated wives of suspects. In addition to the serious violations of human rights which took place during the interrogations, these acts caused severe emotional suffering both to the suspects and their families.

The reports present, with very few deletions, the full testimonies of Salem 'Ali and his wife, Hanan.