Anhar al-Deek: Auspicious moments after being released from Israeli jails, but this freedom is incomplete

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- The Palestinian pregnant detainee Anhar al-Deek and her family have auspicious moments after she was released from the Israeli jails as she is about to give birth any moment in the coming few days, but this freedom in incomplete.

First moments outside a hell

As soon as she got out from the jails, Anhar prostrated and kissed the ground of her homeland while crying and thanking God for being outside a place where her baby was about to be born in, a place which is not suitable for humans, not only babies.

All her family members and hundreds of Palestinians were waiting to welcome and see her.

“Where is Julia,” she asked with a tone of longing and love.

In the crowd, she ran, hugged and kissed her one-and-a half-year-old Julia without even taking a breath.

Anhar’s mother, Aisha, was spending her time looking after her granddaughter Julia, who was waking up at night calling for her mother, and did not find her mother near her, her grandmother said.

“What hurts me the most is that she sometimes calls me ‘mama’, or calls any woman in the family ‘mama’,” she added.

Who’s Anhar al-Deek

The Twenty-five-year-old Palestinian detainee is from the Kafr Ni’ma town west of Ramallah inthe occupied West Bank. She was detained by Israeli occupation when she was four months pregnant while she was on her family’s farmlands on 8 March.

Anhar was detained as she was falsely accused by the occupation of attempting to carry out a stabbing attack.

She was detained and held in the jails while ignoring the fact that she is pregnant and suffering from complications, including bipolar depression.

Many vigils and online campaigns were organized, as Anhar is approaching her due date, demanding the immediate release of Anhar and all the female prisoners who are held in the Israeli jails under harsh imprisonment conditions.

Under the wide and international pressure, the Israeli occupation authorities on Thursday decided to release Anhar, but with conditions.

An incomplete freedom

The conditions are: to pay a 40-thousand-shekel bail (around USD 12,500) and to remain under house arrest in her family’s house.

Israel’s decision to release Anhar with such conditions is clearly an incomplete freedom and this means that Anhar is allowed to move for medical purposes only.

Severely beaten while pregnant

At the time of her arrest, Anhar’s mother told Middle East Eye that her daughter had gone out for a walk on the family’s land on Raysan hill, and was suffering from depression as a result of her pregnancy.

A group of Israeli forces attacked her there, and accused her of trying to stab them.

“Anhar told us that they beat her severely during her arrest, even though she was shouting that she was pregnant, but they didn’t care,” continued Aisha.

Sky without prison bars

Standing in the house garden while holding a rose in her hands and smiling, Anhar said, “Finally, I can see the sky without prison bars.”

“I can’t describe my feelings. My feelings are indescribable, as no one will feel or understand this feeling except those who taste and see the suffering and bitterness of being imprisoned and then released.”

Anhar is not alone

Anhar is not the only mother who is held inside the Israeli jails and deprived of their families, children and an honorable life.

There are 39 Palestinian female prisoners held in Israeli jails, among them 10 mothers.

Palestinian women are usually held mainly in Hasharon and Damon prisons, both of these prisons are located outside the 1967 occupied territory, in direct contravention of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that an Occupying Power must detain residents of occupied territory in prisons inside the occupied territory.

In addition to the illegality of Israel’s practices under international law, the practical consequence of this system is that many prisoners have difficulty meeting with Palestinian defense counsel, and do not receive family visits as their attorneys and relatives are denied permits to visit on “security grounds”.

Moreover, both Hasharon and Damon prisons lack a gender-sensitive approach and, as such, women prisoners often suffer from harsh imprisonment conditions including medical negligence, denial of education, denial of family visits, including for mothers with young children, solitary confinement, overcrowded cells which are often filled with insects and dirt, and lack natural light.

Personal health and hygiene needs are rarely addressed by Israeli prisons authorities, even in cases involving the detention of pregnant women.

Moreover, the majority of Palestinian women prisoners are subjected to some form of psychological torture and ill-treatment throughout the process of their arrest and detention, including various forms of sexual violence that occur such as beatings, insults, threats, body searches, and sexually explicit harassment.

Upon arrest, women detainees are not informed where they are being taken and are rarely explained their rights during interrogation.

These techniques of torture and ill-treatment are used not only as means to intimidate Palestinian women detainees but also as tools to humiliate Palestinian women and coerce them into giving confessions. While Israel’s prison authorities and military forces recruit women soldiers to detain and accompany women prisoners during transfers, the female soldiers responsible for these procedures are no less violent towards Palestinian detainees than their male counterparts.

Since the Vienna Declaration on Crime and Justice in 2000, which focused in part on the special needs of women as criminal justice personnel, victims, offenders and prisoners, many studies have shown that women’s needs in prison deserve special attention from the United Nations, policy-makers, and practitioners. Among the set of needs specific to women prisoners, issues pertaining to health care require urgent attention, a right strategically denied by Israeli Prison Service (IPS).

A study conducted by Addameer in September 2008 revealed that approximately 38% of Palestinian female prisoners suffer from treatable diseases that go untreated.

The poor quality of food and lack of essential nutrients cause women detainees to suffer from weight loss, general weakness, anaemia and iron deficiency. They are also exposed to harsh treatment (such as routine practices of physical and psychological punishment and humiliation) from both male and female prison guards, who demonstrate little to no regard for their well-being or special needs, even when ill or pregnant.

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