“We Were Arrested by Coincidence" Palestinian Prisoners Told Their Lawyers

Two lawyers assigned to defend the prisoners of the Freedom Tunnel reveal details about the imprisonment of Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Ardah, confirming that the occupation forces are severely torturing and beating them.

  • Mohammad Al-Ardah said that he toured occupied Palestine in 1948 and that he was looking for his freedom and meeting his mother.
    Mohammad Al-Ardah said that he toured occupied Palestine in 1948 and that he was looking for his freedom and meeting his mother.

A lawyer from the Commission for Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, Khaled Mahajneh, who is in charge of defending the prisoners of the Freedom Tunnel, said that the prisoner Muhammad al-Ardah rejects all charges against him and remains silent despite all torture and pressure attempts.

Mahajna added that Al-Ardah responded to the occupation investigators by saying that he had not committed any crime. One of the interrogators told Muhammad Al-Ardah that he does not deserve to live and that he deserves to be shot in the head, according to Mahajna.

Upon liberation from Gilboa, Al-Ardah said that he toured the '48 occupied Palestinian territories, sought his freedom and met his mother. 

The lawyer continued that when the occupation forces were almost done searching the area of their hiding, Muhammad al-Ardah and Zakaria al-Zubaidi were caught by chance when one of the occupation forces extended his hand and grabbed Muhammad.

He pointed out that the two prisoners Mohammed Al-Ardah and Zakaria al-Zubaidi did not drink a single drop of water after their break from Gilboa Prison, which eventually caused their exhaustion and inability to continue walking.

Mahajna confirmed that the prisoner, Muhammad al-Ardah, was severely tortured by the occupation forces beating and smashing his head to the ground, and he did not receive treatment so far. Since last Saturday till this day, he has undergone a ruthless investigation and only slept 10 hours.

He said that Al-Ardah tasted barbary figs from a Marj Ibn Amer orchard for the first time in 22 years.

Mahmoud Al-Ardah: "I am the man responsible for planning and executing the prison break from Gilboa prison."

  • Mahmoud Al-Ardah: We followed the news after leaving the tunnel using a small radio.
    Mahmoud Al-Ardah: We followed the news after leaving the tunnel using a small radio.

The lawyer Raslan Mahajna recounted the details of what the prisoner Mahmoud Al-Ardah told him during his visit.

Mahajna quoted prisoner Mahmoud al-Ardah, who was caught with Yaqoub Qadri, as saying that they tried as much as possible to avoid occupied Palestinian towns since 1948 so as not to expose anyone to accountability. Al-Ardah also recounted his attempt to reach the West Bank and that he followed news after his liberation using a small radio. 

Al-Ardah added that the 6 prisoners stayed until they reached the village of Naoura and entered its mosque, then they dispersed in groups of two afterward. From that location, they tried to enter the West Bank, however, the security measures were strict, noting that heavy military presence was called to the area.

He pointed out that their arrest was coincidental, contradicting the Israeli narrative that someone in Nazareth reported them. The arrest was made as an occupation police car passed by and saw them. 

He stressed that there was no help from other captives inside the Gilboa prison and took full responsibility for planning and implementing the operation. He also said that the prisoners started digging in December 2020 until their escape.

He announced that the prison break was a great achievement, however, he expressed concern about the situations of other prisoners. 

Al-Aridah wished to reassure his mother about his health while saluting his sister in Gaza, insisting that his spirits are high. He also saluted the masses who attained an honorable stance.

On Monday, the Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Authority confirmed that the 4 re-arrested prisoners were severely beaten.

The commission said in a statement that the occupation court rejected the petition submitted by the commission's lawyer, preventing the latter from visiting the 4 prisoners who were re-arrested during the past few days.

Jibril al-Zubaidi announced the worsening health conditions of his prisoner brother, Zakaria al-Zubaidi's, and his need to be hospitalized following the deterioration of his health during his detention as a result of torture.

6 Palestinian prisoners broke from one of the most "high-security" occupation prisons

It is noteworthy that 6 Palestinian prisoners broke from Gilboa prison located in the vicinity of the occupied city of Bisan at dawn last Monday. This prison is considered one of the most "high-security" prisons of the Israeli occupation.

Furthermore, the occupation forces arrested 4 of the prisoners who were able to break from Gilboa by digging a tunnel.

According to Israeli media, the prisoners who were able to break from the prison through a tunnel were Zakaria al-Zubaidi, Munadel Yaqoub Nafi'at, Mohammad Qassem al-Arida, Yaqoub Mahmoud Qadri, Ayham Fouad Kamamji, Mahmoud Abdullah al-Arida. The last five belong to the Islamic Jihad movement.