Raghad Al-Fanni did not expect to be among the liberated Palestinian women, as part of the first phase of the exchange deal between Israel and Hamas on Oct. 24.
The 25-year-old woman from the city of Tulkarm was arrested by the Israeli authorities in Oct. 2022 on her way to Ramallah at the Tayyara checkpoint, according to Arab World Press.
She remained under detention without charges, in Damoun prison, for 13 months.
Raghad said the conditions of detention changed drastically after Oct. 7. She told Arab World Press that Palestinian female prisoners were subjected to oppression, isolation, and beatings.
She added: “They sprayed us with gas, beat many female prisoners, and held many in solitary confinement.”
The freed detainee went on to say that the prison administration prevented female prisoners from buying food from the “cafeteria,” and took away all their belongings. She continued: “We were deprived of clean drinking water,” and it was clear that the prison administration was “taking revenge on us.”
Raghad does not know to this day why she was arrested: “All I know is that my arrest is based on a secret file.” She added that administrative detention is renewed without charge or trial, and is a “precautionary measure due to certain suspicions.”
At 8.30 a.m. on Friday, Raghad Al-Fanni was released from prison in a hurry without being allowed to take any of her belongings. She said: “I could not say goodbye to the female prisoners who remained in the detention center. They took us out and searched us thoroughly, and took our fingerprints and DNA samples.”
Before their release, Palestinian female prisoners were threatened by the Israeli authorities with re-arrest if they participate in any festive ceremonies or speak to the media.
Qusay Taqatqa, from the city of Bethlehem, was arrested last year when he was 16 and sentenced to 20 months in prison.
He told the Arab World Press that the inmates heard about the Oct. 7 operation on the news, after which the prison administration removed television and radio equipment from inside the cells.
“The treatment of the prison administration has been barbaric for 50 days. They took all our belongings and visits or even communication with the family were prohibited,” he recounted.
Qaddoura Fares, head of the Palestinian Authority’s Prisoners and Ex-Detainees Authority, described what has been happening in Israeli detention centers since Oct. 7 as “war crimes as part of an act of revenge.”
“The repeated brutal attacks against prisoners led to the death of six of them and the injury to hundreds,” he noted, adding: “Collective punishment is practiced against detainees in the occupation prisons, and a meal sufficient for two people is served to ten.”