newsIsrael at War

Rescued hostages suffered ‘severe psychological abuse’ in captivity

New details have filtered out about the torments the rescued hostages experienced at the hands of their captors.

Rescued hostages Andrey Kozlov, Almog Meir Jan and Shlomi Ziv arrive at the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, June 8, 2024. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.
Rescued hostages Andrey Kozlov, Almog Meir Jan and Shlomi Ziv arrive at the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, June 8, 2024. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.

While Israeli security officials have requested that the four hostages rescued by the Israel Defense Forces on Saturday keep their experiences secret, some details have nevertheless emerged.

The four—Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40appeared to be in good health when first seen on camera on June 8, the day of the raid.

But two days later, Dr. Itay Pessach of the Sheba Medical Center revealed they were in a “state of severe malnutrition.”

“They all suffered from all types of abuse—physical abuse and mental abuse, and for a long time,” he said. “We’ve heard stories that are beyond anything you can imagine.”

Details will take time to come out. More than a month passed before the full picture emerged of what hostages had endured following an earlier prisoner swap. It turned out they suffered torture, sexual abuse, lack of food and medical care. 

In a Wednesday interview with Channel 12, Kozlov’s girlfriend, Jennifer Master, revealed that Kozlov couldn’t join the interview due to his weakened condition.

“He blames himself for being kidnapped…He just came back a fragile and different person,” she said.

“They were subjected to very, very severe psychological abuse, more than the physical,” she added.

As an example, terrorists would tell him that his government wanted him dead, she said.

In terms of physical punishment, terrorists would pile blankets on him during the hottest part of the day and lock him in the bathroom if he forgot to knock before requesting to be let out.

Although they had only been together for three months prior to his kidnapping by Hamas, Master became a spokesperson for his release at demonstrations and in media interviews.

Jennifer Master (r) with Andrey Kozlov’s mother, Yevgenia, at a demonstration for the hostages. Credit: Instagram/bringhomenow.

That Kozlov was originally from Russia didn’t help him at all. In fact, it worked against him. The terrorists said that the other hostages were born Israelis but he had chosen to come to Israel, which made him more guilty in their eyes.

“Why did you come to Israel? Don’t you know it’s an occupation,” they would tell him, she said.

Kozlov was held together with Jan and Ziv the entire eight months. They became close friends and that helped them through the captivity.

“Sometimes the terrorists abused us but we remained strong and supported each other very much. We are very united,” Jan told Channel 12 in an earlier interview.

Jan’s uncle said the three “hadn’t seen the sun for eight months.”

Argamani was held separately. Little is yet known of what she went through.

All four had been at the Nova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im, where 364 of the 1,200 people killed by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 met their end. Kozlov was working security at the event.

Netanyahu Noa Argamani
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with rescued hostage Noa Argamani at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel on June 8, 2024. Credit: Maayan Toaf/GPO.

Sadly, Jan’s father, Yossi Meir, 59, died only hours before his son was rescued. Reports said he had “died of grief” due to his son’s capture and had lost 44 pounds.

Argamani’s mother, Liora, who suffers from terminal cancer, had her final wished fulfilled when she was reunited with her daughter.

“Unfortunately, her mother is in very poor condition,” Noa’s father, Yaakov, told Ynet. “She barely looked at Noa. They met after eight months, but it was very difficult.”

He said he believed that his wife understood, however. “There was a kind of response. Liora understood but simply couldn’t express her emotions or say what she had longed to tell Noa when she finally met her.”

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