Ministry: Prisoners refuse meals over DNA tests

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinians jailed in Israel have refused meals to protest the forceful extraction of their DNA samples, the PA Ministry of Prisoners Affairs said Saturday.

Palestinian inmates at Megiddo, Gilboa and Ramon jails returned meals on Thursday and Saturday, the ministry report said.

Prisoners’ representative in Ramon Jamal Rajoub said prisoners were “humiliated” by the force used as their DNA is taken, including shackling and escorting at gunpoint. When detainees refused the tests, they were taken forcefully, he added.

Tarek Rashad, who is serving a life sentence at Gilboa prison, said inmates had filed 120 complaints over how their DNA was taken, saying prison guards used threats and sniffer dogs to coerce the prisoners.

The Palestinian Authority detainees ministry said last Sunday it considers Israel’s use of DNA tests on Palestinian prisoners as a violation of international law. PA lawyers have filed a complaint with Israel’s Supreme Court to demand the end of forced DNA tests for Palestinians jailed by Israel.

Israel approved a new law in July 2011 to collect prisoner’s DNA samples for a police database, Israeli media reported at the time. The regulations include detainees from the West Bank, and the information can be transferred to army and intelligence services, according to Israeli daily Haaretz.

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