Riot in Nafha prison, as man seized for tweeted photo in cell

PNN/Nafha

A riot broke out in Nafha prison on Friday as guards came to search the cell of a man pictured on twitter baking Ma’moul (cookies) in his cell.

Khalil Abu Aram, who is serving a life sentence for security related offenses, was defended by his inmates as guards arrived to search his room for the phone used to take the photo, in which he and another inmate are seen sitting on the floor eating the biscuits traditionally prepared during Eid-al-Fitr, and place him in solitary confinement. Prisoners shoved the guards and hit them with brooms.

Nine prisoners were forcibly taken from their cells and placed in solitary confinement, while others continued to protest and bang on the doors of their cells. One guard was lightly injured and taken to the prison clinic. Special Forces were called, but the prison guards had retaken control by the time they arrived.

Khalil Abu Aram was convicted in 2002 of killing five Israelis and plotting more attacks. He is serving five life sentences in Nafha, considered to be one of the most severe Israeli prisons. It was renovated to house Palestinian leaders considered ‘high threat’ to Israel and isolate them from other prisoners.

This is not the first revolt in the prison- in 2015, riots and hunger strikes were some of the tactics used by prisoners there to bring attention to their conditions, which include frequent night-time raids, being held indefinitely without trial and force-feeding of those on hunger strike.