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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/25/11

Brutally Isolating Detainees in Israeli Prisons

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However, the UN Committee Against Torture calls the practice cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (CIDT), violating CAT's Article 11, requiring State parties to ensure incarceration conditions are systemically reviewed, and Article 16, obligating them to protect prisoners from CIDT procedures.

Moreover, in 1990, the General Assembly declared that isolation should be abolished or rarely used. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights also called prolonged solitary confinement a violation of Article 5(2) of the American Covenant on Human Rights, prohibiting torture, inhuman and cruel treatment of prisoners.

Numerous studies confirmed the effects, including sleep disorders, depression, anxiety, hallucinations, paranoia, disorientation, confusion, cognitive disorders, and many other humanly destructive ones. For mentally ill prisoners, the effects are devastating. When prolonged for extended periods, mental and/or physical illnesses often result.

In fact, a joint 1996 Israel Prison Service (IPS)/Ministry for Public Security solitary confinement report concluded that:

"Research findings on the issue are unequivocal and show that imprisonment in isolation (for prolonged periods) causes deep psychotic reactions."

Since the 1990s, Physicians for Human Rights/Israel (PHR/I) has campaigned for the abolition of solitary confinement. Moreover, the Israel Psychiatric Association (IPA) agreed that prolonged isolation harms body and mind without stating an official position on the practice. 

It argued for the Israel Medical Association (IMA) to decide. Its Ethical Board published a 2009 paper seeking "to balance between the needs of the state to defend its security and the security of prisoners, and the obligation to protect the health and dignity of prisoners."

In other words, though IMA agreed on prolonged isolation's harm, it equivocated on its practice. As a result, it passed the buck unethically to prison authorities in violation of their sworn Hippocratic Oath to do no harm. Physicians are obligated solely to patients, not prison rules or practices.

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[My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."]

Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a (more...)

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