How to survive a trip to Siquijors prison
In March 2015, poor traveler Taichung Yih became the latest victim of the Israeli prison system when he was sent to solitary confinement in an isolated room in Siquiquijoros prison.
When he arrived, he was shocked to find the room empty and he was unable to call his family to inform them of his incarceration.
When the guards came to visit, they found him sitting on the floor of a small cell with his hands behind his back.
“I was scared.
I was scared that the guards would come and break me,” he told Al Jazeera.
In June 2016, Taichong was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to possessing counterfeit passports and to smuggling weapons.
He was freed in August 2016.
Taichang, who lives in Israel and travels a lot, said the Israeli authorities often put pressure on him to prove his innocence.
“Sometimes they will threaten to beat you, beat you and even put you in solitary,” Taichng said.
He said he also had to give up his passport and visa and he has not been able to contact his family.
Taochung’s mother said she was “extremely angry” and felt like she was not receiving her son’s due process.
“They don’t give him any rights or anything,” she said.
Taichi said he has been locked up for almost three years without any legal aid.
He and his family are not allowed to leave the prison, where he said they are often interrogated.
“The prison guards call me ‘poor traveler’ because they think I am a poor traveler,” he said.
When Taichings mother was allowed to visit him in prison, she was shocked by the situation.
“When she was inside, she couldn’t even talk.
It was like they were just going to beat me,” Taichi told Aljazeera.
The Israeli government’s failure to protect vulnerable prisoners has drawn criticism from human rights groups and Amnesty International.
“In a system where there is a system of prisons and police stations where prisoners are held for long periods without any access to legal counsel, Taichi’s case is an example of a lack of accountability,” the group’s Israel and Palestine director, Daniel Rosenblatt, said in a statement.
Taishang was sentenced in 2016 for smuggling weapons to Lebanon and for a car bombing in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv that killed three Israeli soldiers.
He had previously pleaded guilty to the car bombing and to trying to travel to Syria to join Isis.
Taizen’s mother, Zara, said she is “very sad” and is concerned about Taichan’s well-being.
“It was really hard for me to go through this.
I’m not able to go back and I want my son to be able to get out of prison,” she told Aljit.