Dirar Abusisi has just completed his second anniversary as an Israeli prisoner of conscience incarcerated for “crimes” he hasn’t committed and jailed without trial. He’s been offered deals by the State involving confession to charges without foundation, which would involve accepting as long as a nine-year jail sentence (remember the fate of Ameer Makhoul and Anat Kamm?). In prison, he’s suffered kidney stones, high blood pressure, heart problems and lost 60 pounds. Israel has refused him an operation to relieve the pain suffered from the kidney stones.
A fellow Palestinian prisoner who was housed next door to Abusisi and with whom he shared his ordeal, told his story (Arabic) to the Palestinian newspaper, Al Shehab. The prisoner was released as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. Here is an excerpt translated from the story:
[After being detained in the Ukrainian railroad car] Dirar found himself in Kiev, bound and blindfolded. He was taken out of the car and into a villa, where he was surprised to see seven officers who did not have Ukrainian features. One of them spoke to him in Arabic, and said, “Do you know who we are? We are Israeli intelligence.”
Abu Sisi was tied in a chair, and at the beginning of the interrogation was surprised that Yoram Cohen, head of the Shin Bet, and Maj. Oscar “the dirty investigator” [ed., for more on his interrogation “skills” see pgs 35-41 of this affidavit by the Public Committee to Stop Torture in Israel] as described by prisoners in Ashkelon [prison], and those of other military ranks. They interrogated him about [Gilad] Shalit and his relationship with Al-Qassam [Hamas’ military wing].
… Abusisi said “It was torture, and brutal, I was strongly beaten on the chest, and received several sharp, hard slaps on the face. I could hear voices screaming and moaning. This lasted 5-6 hours in my estimation.”
Abu Sissi was left alone in the torture chamber and afterward, a man came who bound and blindfolded him again, put him in a coffin and nailed it shut, speaking about how he was transferred to the airport in Kiev…
[After arrival in Israel] Abu Sisi was transferred to “Petah Tikva,” an Israeli detention center. Then Yoram Cohen returned again for interrogation along with Amos Gilad, who was responsible for the Shalit security file. Then the torture was repeated.
This account has not been verified for accuracy. There are a few aspects that might be questionable, such as the claim that Yoram Cohen, then deputy chief of the Shin Bet, traveled to Ukraine to interrogate Abusisi. It would be more characteristic for the Mossad to be involved in such a case outside Israeli territory. But I have learned never to underestimate the powers of mischief of which such intelligence operatives are capable.
Also, let us not forget the extraordinary fortitude and sacrifice by Khader Adnan, who is now in his 65th day of a fast till death to protest the Israeli justice system, which has not offered any charges against him nor brought him to trial.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.