update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

State Department talks international law after reports of Barghouti prison abuse

A spokesperson for the Israel Prison Service said it had “no knowledge of these claims.”

Marwan Barghouti, a Fatah Party-affiliated convicted murderer, in an Israeli courtroom in January 2012. Photo by Flash90.
Marwan Barghouti, a Fatah Party-affiliated convicted murderer, in an Israeli courtroom in January 2012. Photo by Flash90.

The family of Marwan Barghouti, a convicted murderer serving five life sentences in Israel, says he has experienced violence and psychological torture since the Hamas terrorist attacks on southern communities in the Jewish state on Oct. 7, according to an article in The Washington Post. 

The accusation has led to a response from the U.S. State Department calling for Israeli prisoners to experience “dignified conditions and in accordance with international law,” writes the Post.

Family and advocates for Barghouti claim that he has endured beatings, 12 days of solitary confinement and the Israeli national anthem—“Hatikvah”—blasted at him on high volume for 19 hours a day.

According to the Post, a spokesperson for the Israel Prison Service said it had “no knowledge of these claims.”

Barghouti, associated with the Fatah Party, is regarded as a leader in the First and Second Intifadas in Israel that caused a combined more than 1,000 deaths, mostly of civilians. 

When asked about the alleged abuse, the State Department released a statement not naming Barghouti but saying Israel must “thoroughly and transparently investigate credible allegations of and ensure accountability for any abuses or violations.”

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) called Barghouti “probably the most popular Palestinian leader.”

Van Hollen stated that “the Biden administration should make it very clear to the Netanyahu government that if Barghouti is harmed or killed in prison, it would throw gas on a raging fire.”

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