Terrorists used ‘strange punishments,’ physical and mental torture to torment hostage, says father

Father of hostage reveals details of son’s physical, psychological torture in Hamas captivity

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Mikhail Kozlov, the father of one of the four hostages rescued by Israeli forces last week, told Walla Wednesday some of the details of the physical and psychological torture their son Andrey underwent during the eight months he was guarded by Hamas activists in civilians’ apartments in the Gaza Strip.

Andrey, 27, had been working at the Nova dance rave as a security guard on October 7, when almost 3,000 terrorists invaded Israel, massacring 1,200 people and taking 252 hostage. He was one of dozens forcibly taken from the festival into Gaza, not all of them alive.

The physical torture included receiving “strange punishments for everything they did,” Mikhail said, referring to Andrey and the two other men he was held with, Almog Meir Jan and Shlomi Ziv.

“No matter what, it was impossible for the captives to behave ‘correctly’ and be fine.”

“Once,” he reported, “they covered him with six blankets in the heat for a long time as a punishment for not asking for permission to leave the bathroom, and they did not allow him to move.”

The first two months were the hardest, according to Mikhail, when the hostages’ hands were tied behind their backs and their legs were shackled. “Then they tied their hands in front of them and he felt a little freer,” he said.

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During that initial period, they were also fed very little.

“He lived on six dates a day,” Mikhail told Walla. “Sometimes there was half a pita and some labaneh, but there was no real food.”

Andrey also spoke to them about the psychological abuse the Hamas guards subjected them to.

He told us, ‘They tortured us, they said that no one wants us, that Israel doesn’t want to return us and has forgotten us,” Mikhail said. “That my mother is on a trip to Greece and she doesn’t care, that the families have moved on and the army wants to kill them.’”

Mikhail told CNN in a separate interview that when the elite police counter-terrorist team burst into the apartment, Andrey had actually first thought that they were there to kill him instead of save him, due to the incessant messaging he had received.

Andrey “wasn’t seen as a human by them,” he also told the global outlet, noting that his son had told them that there were also things his captors did that he could never tell anyone.

The hospital physician in charge of the hostages’ treatment, including Noa Argamani, the hostage who was rescued from a separate building at the same time, told CNN that they had all undergone “a lot of abuse … every hour, both physical, mental and other types, and that is something that is beyond comprehension.”

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There were periods, said Dr. Itai Pessach, “where they got almost no food whatsoever. There were other periods where it was a little better, but all in all, the combination of the psychological stress, malnutrition … or not getting the right kind of food, medical neglect, being limited to space, not seeing the sun and all of the other things have significant effect on health.”

There is “damage,” he said, to several of the systems in their bodies.