Making Women Talk: the interrogation of Palestinian Women Detainees

Extract from Chapter Two of Making Women Talk: the Interrogation of Palestinian Women Detainees by the Israeli General Security Services



Extract from Chapter Two of Making Women Talk: the Interrogation of Palestinian Women Detainees by the Israeli General Security Services


Methods of Interrogation
The process of trying to make the detainee confess begins at the moment of arrest. Many of the same methods are used with detainees of both sexes. However, the General Security Services (GSS) have developed certain techniques specifically for women. These include sexual harassment, manipulation of the Arab notion of 'female honour' and manipulation of mothers' concerns about their children. The methods which are specific to women will be given the most thorough consideration.

Arrival at the GSS Section
A police woman or female soldier may be present at the arrest, and during the journeys, again depending on the circumstances. The law requires that when a female detainee arrives at the interrogation centre, a female soldier or police officer carries out certain procedures, such as the body search. However, by the time the woman is taken to the GSS section of the centre, she is likely to be alone in the custody of men.

Arrest and Transportation
Whether she is arrested by GSS officers, police or soldiers, the woman defendant is likely to be subjected to sexual harassment from the first moment. Women are most commonly arrested from their homes, but sometimes in the street or for example on a demonstration. During the journey from the place of arrest to the initial place of detention, the female detainee is likely to be called a 'prostitute', 'whore' and other insulting names. Comments may be made about her body and she may be threatened with rape. She may also be beaten, kicked or spat at.
Suha Sanduqa, a Jerusalem resident, was arrested at age 14 outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, on suspicion of swearing at a police officer. This was in June 1989. She was taken to the Qishlah police station in the Old City.

On the way to the Qishlah, I was beaten in the police car by a policeman using a truncheon. This was repeated on arrival at the Qishlah. I was struck on my left arm and my left leg.


Suha was arrested again in February 1990, as she was leaving school. She was now fifteen. This time she was accused of throwing a stone at an Egged bus.

I was put in a car and driven to the Russian Compound. In the car, one of the two men spat at me. I was also slapped on my face.


The woman may be taken directly to an interrogation centre, or she may be taken initially to a police station, military post or local prison and the later transferred to the interrogation centre. This will depend on the place and the circumstances of the arrest. All of these venues are staffed largely by men, and she may be subjected to further harassment along the way. Usually, once the woman reaches the interrogation centre, she remains there throughout her interrogation. In a few cases, women have been transferred several times during the interrogation, from one centre to another, presumably in order to disorientate them.

Making Women Talk: the interrogation of Palestinian Women Detainees

firefox Format: paperback
Publication date: October 1992
Publisher: Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights
Category: human rights