On the Palestinian National Day of Recovery of Captured Martyrs’ Bodies

398 Martyrs are still in Cemeteries of Numbers and Mortuary Refrigerators, including 11 Prisoner Martyrs

The Israeli occupation continues to neglect all international, religious and moral decisions, rules and norms. It persists on its crimes which amount to being war crimes, yet are legitimised through what is so-called “The Supreme Court of Justice”. The court has authorised the detention of palestinian martyrs’ and prisoners’ bodies, violating all rules of international and humanitarian law.

The occupation has detained the bodies of 256 martyrs in the so-called “ cemeteries of numbers”, and another 142 martyrs’ bodies in mortuary refrigerators since 2015. Among the bodies, 11 martyr prisoners, 14 minor martyrs and 5 female martyrs. The detention of the bodies while stripping off their names and their national identities, is clear evidence of the Israeli occupation’s neglect of international law and human rights’ charters.

In cemeteries of numbers, some bodies’ identities have already been lost and, therefore, will stay ambiguous for years to come. Basically, the graves are compacted in one line, each made of sand that does not exceed the depth of 50 cm. Bodies are kept in plastic bags, with the name and number of each martyr written with a marker, which eventually and easily leads to the effacement of martyrs’ names due to natural factors such as wind or rain.

This situation also applies to mortuary refrigerators, from which the body is shortly transferred to the refrigerators of the “Justice Institute”, along with other martyrs’ bodies, despite its gender or age, or the space of the refrigerator. The martyr is left there for an unknown period of time, maybe for years, at a temperature of 30- degrees, in a small area with bad smell, insects and reptiles. Bodies are stacked up in a random manner for a very long time, by which the body eventually becomes stiff depending on the position it was thrown onto.

Detaining the bodies in cemeteries of numbers and mortuary refrigerators, causes suffering and pain to their families, fathers, mothers, children and wives. The suffering begins from the moment of execution then abduction of the martyr’s body, because the family is deprived of any information or examination of the body to assure the death. In fact, they announce the death of their martyr and receive mourners without confirmation of the death.

In view of the clear violations of basic human rights, regarding martyrs’ bodies and their families, the International Foundation for Solidarity with Prisoners “TADAMUN” calls for the following:

-1 Demanding official Palestinian institutions to perform their duty, by reaching out to international courts, hold the occupying state accountable for its crimes against the detained martyrs and their families.

-2 Calling on the official, popular and factional media for concentrated effort, in order to expose the Israeli violations related to the detention of the bodies of martyrs and prisoners, through influential unitary media discourse.

-3 Inviting Palestinian human rights organisations to discuss possible steps, to guide the families of the martyrs and prisoners, through filing cases at the International Criminal Court as victims and witnesses of the gross violations against them and their martyrs’ whose bodies are detained.

(Source: The International Foundation for Solidarity with Prisoners)