Nidal Naeem Mohammad Abu Aker
Date of birth: 5/10/1968
Education: BA in Sociology from Bethlehem University
On 28/06/2014 Abu Aker’s family woke up at 6:00 am to the sound of the IOF raiding their home in Dheisheh Refugee Camp near Bethlehem. The IOF forcefully removed the main door using machines with silencers. The family was surprised to find the soldiers inside their home. The soldiers attacked Nidal’s son 21 year old son Mohammad. One of the soldiers hit him with his gun while he was sleeping which caused deep injuries in his hand that required medical care. Mohammad was later pulled out of the house and beaten. Soldiers also ripped his clothes.
A few minutes later, the IOF pushed Nidal, shackled his hands and arrested him. Occupation forces had raided Nidal’s house ten days before the arrest, but he was not home. He found a note threatening him and broken doors and furniture.
Nidal prepares and hosts a radio program called “In their cells” at Sawt Al Wehda radio station. The program tackles the issues of the prisoners’ movement inside the occupation jails and passes on prisoners’ messages to the Palestinian public. Nidal and his friends established Sawt Al Wehda radio station in 2010. The station is based in Dheisheh refugee camp and addresses various issues in Palestinian society, including refugees. Nidal has carried the prisoners’ issue on his shoulders and suffered from detention for more than 14 years in total. Nidal is also one of the founders of the Families of Prisoners Association in Dheisheh refugee camp.
Nidal was arrested numerous times. The first arrest took place in 1984 when he was a child and was charged with stone throwing and sentenced to one year. The arrests continued against Nidal, and many resulted in administrative detention. He spent 14 years in total in detention.
An administrative detention order confirmation hearing was held on 15/01/2015 for Nidal Abu Aker in Ofer Military Court. The prosecution claimed that Abu Aker is active in an illegal organization according to military orders, that he participated in events and activities affiliated with the same illegal organization, that part of these events constituted danger on the security of the state, and that despite the fact that there are no new materials against Abu Aker he continues to be a threat to the security.
The military judge Roni Dalomi confirmed the order despite the defense’s statements underlining that Nidal is a journalist and has the right to express his thoughts and opinions.
The military court’s decision to confirm Nidal’s order without substantial evidence, clear data or a serious investigation regarding the presented material underlines the occupation authorities’ use the policy of administrative detention arbitrarily in violation of international law, particularly Article 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The occupying power often resorts to administrative detention when it fails to prove the claims. Abu Aker’s continuous detention since the early 1980s indicates systematic targeting against him in violation of the Declaration on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, as Nidal is a journalist and a member of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate.
On another hand, Nidal’s arrest comes as part of a campaign of punitive measures imposed on Palestinian society by occupation forces, including attacks, collective arbitrary detentions, house demolitions, raids and closures of educational and social organizations, travel bans, checkpoints and other restrictions of movement, all of which escalated after the disappearance of three settlers in Hebron on 12/06/2014. In addition, the IPS imposed a number of punishments on Palestinian prisoners and detainees including denying them family visits, as well as the practice of the isolation policy inside the prisons.
Nidal’s family consists of his wife, Mrs. Manal Shaheen, who works at a nursery, his son Mohammad, and two daughters Dalia and Karmel, who are school students. His family was only able to visit him once since the arrest due to extreme measures imposed by the occupation forces to enter the occupied territories of 1948.
Nidal’s brother Rafat Abu Aker was also arrested shortly after Nidal, and was released after spending 6 months under administrative detention.
- UPDATE -
Ashkelon visit - Isolation
Nidal is being held in isolation cells at Ashkelon prison. He reported to the lawyer that the hunger strike began on 20/8/2015, during which he and the rest of the hunger strikers embarked on a full hunger strike for three days, taking only water. On 23/8/2015, they started taking liquids other than water and after three days they went back to a full hunger strike.
The administration says that the hunger strike started when the detainees were transferred from Negev prison on Monday 31/8/2015 and is not acknowledging that it actually started on 20/8/2015. Nidal was transferred from Negev prison to cells near the section along with the other detainees. He heard that Ghassan and Shadi would be transferred to Ela Isolation, Bader and Munir would be transferred to Negev isolation cells, and he was transferred to Ashkelon. Abu Aker was initially taken to Ohal Keidar where he spent a night, and on the next day he was taken to Ramleh. From Ramleh he was transferred to Ashkelon with his personal belongings (a limited number of clothing items). He was held in a 1.5m x 1.8m cell that contains a bunk bed, a toilet and a shower. A short concrete wall separates the bed from the toilet. If he has to leave the cell to the clinic or for any other reason, he is shackled.
When he first embarked on the hunger strike he weighed 83 kilograms. He now weighs 75 kilograms. He had a medical examination yesterday (tests included weight, blood pressure, and temperature). Before starting the hunger strike he took medication for blood pressure and four other medications. He is currently only taking Aspirin to prevent heart attacks and strokes as well as blood pressure medication.
He has platinum implanted in his feet as a result of an old fracture. He started feeling pain in both of his feet two days ago.
1- End administrative detention policy.
2- An international committee to examine/investigate the secret files of administrative detainees.
3- Compensation for Palestinians who suffered damage as a result of administrative detention.
4- Immediate release of administrative detainees including the hunger strikers.
5- Set guarantees not to renew the administrative detention orders especially for those who have spent long periods of time in detention.
6- Rejection of the force-feeding law.
Nidal states he will not take supplements and salts any time soon. He did not state whether he is going to take them in the future or not. As for medical examinations, he states that having taken one yesterday does not mean that he will take any in the future.