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keyword: Administrative Detention | Women

HANA YAHYA SHALABI

Date of birth: 7 February 1982
Place of residence: Burqin, Jenin
Date of arrest: 16 February 2012
Place of detention: Meir Hospital
Number of administrative detention orders: 1
Expected end of detention order: 23 June 2012
 
Click here to view this profile as a PDF.
 
Note: Hana Shalabi was released from Ramleh Prison Hospital on 1 April 2012 under the condition that she be expelled to the Gaza Strip for a period of three years. She reportedly ended her hunger strike on its 43rd day, on 29 March. As of 4 April, she is currently hospitalized in the Gaza Strip.
 
ARREST
 
Hana Shalabi was released from over two years in administrative detention on 18 October 2011, as part of the prisoner exchange deal concluded by the Israeli government and Hamas, whereby 1,027 Palestinian political prisoners were released in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Hana was re-arrested less than four months later on 16 February 2012, and immediately began a hunger strike in protest of her detention.
 
Hana Shalabi was arrested from her family home on 16 February 2012, when approximately 50 Israeli soldiers raided her house in Burqin village, near Jenin, in the early morning. The soldiers were accompanied by an intelligence officer and a large number of dogs and first raided her brother’s home before coming to her house. The IOF moved through his house with the pack of dogs, causing the children of the household to panic. When the soldiers entered Hana and her parents’ house, the intelligence officer commented that it would just be a “five minute visit.” The Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) then ordered Hana and some of her family members to leave the house, while holding her father and older brother in a room by themselves.
 
After the soldiers searched the house, the intelligence officer announced that they had an order to arrest Hana, without showing any arrest warrant or providing any reason for her arrest. Hana was not permitted to change her clothes. The IOF then proceeded to brutally threaten and abuse Hana and her family. First, Hana’s brother heard the intelligence officer say, “Hana must die.” Next, one of the soldiers grabbed her hand and pulled her. Hana objected and told him that if they needed to hold her, they should bring a female soldier to do it. He completely disregarded her and when she tried to remove his hand, he began to beat her upper body and slap her in the face. Hana’s brother, Omar, attempted to jump in front of her to protect her, but the soldiers attacked him and beat him with their guns.
 
A female soldier was then summoned to detain her. Hana requested to be able to say goodbye to her family and change her clothes, including putting on her veil, as she was only wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a pair of pants. The officer refused and told her that her mother could bring her clothes to her later. Hana said that she would not leave without wearing her veil and traditional Muslim dress. After a long argument, the soldier agreed to let her change in her brother’s house. The female soldier went with her and the rest of the soldiers waited outside while she changed. Hana was blindfolded and put in a military jeep, where she was made to sit on the ground on her knees. Each time she tried to move, the soldiers ordered her to stay still and shut up.
 
HUNGER STRIKE AND ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION
 
Hana was taken to Salem Detention Center and left blindfolded for two hours in a tiny room. She was then subjected to beatings and a humiliating strip search by a male, which caused her severe trauma. Hana described the forced strip search and subsequent assault at the hands of the IOF as “utterly degrading” and that what they did to her was “not acceptable in all customs of the world”. Hana began an open hunger strike on the first day of her arrest in protest of the ill-treatment she was subjected to during and following her arrest. She was kept in solitary confinement for the first three days of her detention in HaSharon Prison, in a section of the prison far from where the other Palestinian women are held.
 
On the fourth day following her arrest, Hana was transferred to a different section of the prison near the other Palestinian detainees, but was again placed in a room alone. The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) administration attempted continuously to convince her to end her hunger strike, employing such methods of pressure as threatening to place her in solitary confinement for an extended period. Two days later, on 21 February, Hana was transferred back to Salem for interrogation.
 
After being brought back to HaSharon Prison, she was taken to Salem Military Court on 23 February, where one of her lawyers informed her that she might be placed in administrative detention. She was brought back to HaSharon and was not shown a written administrative detention order. Her lawyers received a copy of the order, which stated that she would be held in administrative detention for six months, until 16 August. As with all other administrative detainees, Hana’s administrative detention order is based on secret information collected by the Israeli Security Agency and available to the military judge but not to the detainee or her lawyer.
 
On the same day, 23 February, Hana was also sentenced to seven days of solitary confinement as punishment for her hunger strike. The IPS continued to threaten her with prolonged isolation or placing other female prisoners in isolation. After four days, on 27 February, Hana was transferred out of solitary confinement and into the same section as the other Palestinian female prisoners. Hana viewed this as a further attempt to pressure her to break her hunger strike, as the other women were eating in their cells.
 
After an initial medical examination by the IPS, Hana refused any more medical treatment from the IPS from 27 February. On 4 March, the IPS denied the request made my Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) to visit Hana. However, PHR-Israel filed a petition to an Israeli District Court, which decided on 7 March to permit visitation to Hana.
 
The hearing to consider the confirmation of her administrative detention order was supposed to occur on 27 February at Ofer Military Court, but was postponed until 29 February. During the hearing, the military judge announced that he would not be making a decision and would instead be meeting with an Israeli Intelligence officer on 4 March. In the meeting, neither Hana nor her lawyers were permitted to be present. On 4 March, during the Military Court of First Instance session to review her administrative detention order, military judge Dalya Kaufman dismissed the request by Hana’s lawyers to call on witnesses to testify to the assault and abuse inflicted upon Hana. The judge stated that the request was denied based on the fact that “the prosecution requested the military police to conduct an investigation”. The judge then confirmed her administrative detention order for a period of four months, shortened from the original six-month order.
 
Her appeal was heard on 7 March, but no decision was made on that date. During the hearing, the military judge only allowed four of Hana’s lawyers to be present in the room and asked all others to leave. After hearing the legal arguments of her defense team and the military prosecution, the judge requested that the prosecution consider revising its position before he made a decision.
 
Despite Hana’s deteriorating health condition, Addameer lawyer Mahmoud Hassan noted in her appeals hearing that she was handled very roughly by soldiers at Ofer military court. Prior to the hearing, members of the Nahshon escort and intervention unit of the IPS arrived to transfer her to Ofer from HaSharon. A female soldier informed Hana that she would be conducting a strip search in front of the other female prisoners in the corridor, where there are cameras. After arguing, the female soldier agreed to conduct the strip search in the bathroom. Hana was then told that she would be punished upon her return to HaSharon and her arms and legs were shackled in a very strict manner.
 
A PHR-Israel doctor was able to visit Hana for the first time on 8 March, and subsequently on 12 March and 19 March in prison. During a visit by Addameer lawyer Muna Neddaf on 16 March, Hana stated that the IPS’ attempts to get her to end her hunger strike have included continuing to deny her family visits for the next month from 13 March; pressure from a Muslim cleric who is a member of the IPS “Ethics Committee”; and attempts to undermine her confidence and trust in her PHR-Israel doctor, including providing her with misinformation and telling her the doctor does not care about her. The IPS continues to consider force-feeding in disregard to the principles of medical ethics and the guidelines of the World Medical Association and the Israeli Medical Association.
 
A PHR-Israel doctor concluded on 19 March that Hana was in immediate mortal danger and should be immediately transferred to a hospital for close observation. Hana was transferred to the civilian Meir Hospital that night. However, for unknown reasons, she was not admitted to the hospital and the IPS transferred her back to the IPS medical center in Ramleh Prison Hospital later on the same night. Her doctor was not informed until the following day. Hana reported being handled violently during the various transfers, including being “dragged across the floor.” The IPS subsequently told her doctor that they would not consider her transfer back to the hospital until the doctor issued another medical opinion. Hana was finally transferred back to Meir Hospital on the night of 20 March.
 
On the 39th day of her hunger strike on 25 March, the Israeli Military Appeals Court rejected the appeal against Hana’s administrative detention order yesterday. The court decision ordered Hana to remain detained for the full duration of her four month administrative detention order, to be expired 23 June. In his decision, the military judge disregarded Hana’s critical medical condition; rather, he stated that she is responsible for her own recovery. The military judge also did not consider Hana’s complaints of torture and ill-treatment during and following her arrest as reason for her release, instead noting that her complaint was still under investigation. Hana’s lawyers have submitted a petition to the Israeli High Court for her release.
 
On 26 March, a PHR-Israel doctor visited Hana in Meir Hospital. Following the visit, the doctor reported that on 24 March, because of drastic deterioration in her blood test results, Hana agreed to receive calcium and Vitamin K, which protected her from immediate heart attack. Her doctor also stated that Hana’s muscle atrophy and wasting increased, which includes her heart muscle. Hana still refuses nutrition aside from vitamins and salts in her water and is in danger of death. The hospital Ethics Committee may have considered the possibility of force-feeding, in disregard to the principles of medical ethics and the guidelines of the World Medical Association and the Israeli Medical Association.
 
HANA’S FAMILY AND PERSONAL INFORMATION
 
Hana’s mother, 65 years old, and father, 67 years old, were on hunger strike in solidarity with their daughter following the issuance of her administrative detention order. They later began to undergo a daily fast, along with other members of her family. None of Hana’s family members have been permitted to visit her since her arrest, as punishment for her hunger strike. On the day of her appeal on 7 March, Hana’s father arrived at Ofer military base at 8:00 am in order to see her, but the military judge and Israeli soldiers made every effort to ensure that he would not be able to see her even from a distance. Furthermore, the door of the courtroom in which the hearing took place was locked so that no one would be able to open the door for him to look through from outside. The military judge repeatedly rejected all of Hana’s lawyers’ inquiries related to this matter.
 
Hana is one of nine children in a family of farmers in Burqin village, next to Jenin. On 29 September 2005, Hana’s brother Samer was killed by Israeli forces during an incursion in the village. He had been released from prison for only three months after spending nine months in prison when a group of soldiers came to their farm to re-arrest him and instead shot and killed him and his close friend.
 
After being released from prison on 18 October, Hana planned to study nursing at Al-Rawda College in Nablus. As she was re-arrested less than four months later, she did not have time to enroll.
 
Prior to her first arrest by the Israeli authorities, Hana was arrested and held by the Palestinian intelligence forces for a week in 2009 for the purpose of interrogation. During this period, Hana was permitted to sleep at home and was kept in detention from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. each day.
 
PREVIOUS ARREST AND DETENTION
 
Hana was first arrested by Israeli authorities from her family home on 14 September 2009. At approximately 1:30 a.m. that morning, Israeli soldiers in 12 military jeeps surrounded her house in Burqin village. The soldiers ordered Hana’s entire family outside of the house and demanded Hana give them her identity card. They then proceeded to conduct a thorough search of the family’s home. During the search, one of the soldiers forcibly removed framed pictures of Hana’s brother Samer, who was killed by the Israeli army in 2005, tore them apart and walked over the pieces in front of the entire family. The soldiers then started shouting and cursing at Hana and her family members. When Hana’s father attempted to intervene and protect his daughter from continued verbal abuse, one Israeli soldier pushed him in the chest with the butt of a rifle. Clearly distressed, Hana’s mother fainted at this scene. The soldiers then handcuffed Hana in painfully tight shackles around her wrists and placed her under arrest.  
 
Hana was then transferred by military jeep to Salem Detention Center. During the transfer, Hana’s abaya, a traditional Muslim religious dress covering the entire body worn by women over home clothes, came open, uncovering her clothes and parts of her body. Some of the male soldiers accompanying her in the jeep took pictures of her at this point, consciously exploiting her situation, knowing she would feel offended and humiliated by such photos. Upon arrival to Salem Detention Center, a doctor gave Hana a quick physical examination. Immediately after the examination, Hana was transferred to Kishon Detention Center inside Israel where her interrogation formally began.
 
Solitary confinement and abuse
 
Hana was held in solitary confinement at Kishon Detention Center for eight consecutive days, in a cell measuring six square meters that contained no windows or natural sunlight. The cell contained only a mattress and a bathroom, and was reportedly very dirty. Hana was subjected to exhausting interrogation sessions every day, which lasted from 10:00 a.m. until the late evening hours. The lack of natural sunlight during this period caused her to lose all sense of time and she was often unable to determine whether it was night or day. As this period of isolation and disorientation coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, Hana was unable to monitor time in order to respect her fast. As a result, she decided not to eat at all, refusing meals and drinking water only during the entire eight day period.
 
Hana was also subjected to sexual harassment and physical violence during her interrogation. Hana told Addameer attorney Safa Abdo of an incident that occurred at end of an interrogation session, in which she did not confess to committing a crime, as her interrogators had expected. In a move that Addameer contends was an effort to provoke Hana, one of the Israeli interrogators called Hana “habibti” (Arabic for “darling”) in a provocative manner. Feeling humiliated and angry at the interrogator’s offensive use of an intimate term, Hana started shouting at him. The interrogators responded by slapping her on her face and beating her on her arms and hands. The guards then took her back to her cell where they tied her to the bed frame and continued humiliating her by taking pictures of her laying in that position.
 
Addameer filed a complaint regarding these violations and only received a reply two years later from the district prosecution in Haifa that they were closing the file for “lack of evidence,” without informing her lawyers what process had taken place to investigate the complaint. Most complaints of this kind are similarly closed due to the unclear claim of “lack of evidence,” showing a consistent policy that they are not taken seriously by the Israeli courts. Addameer is greatly concerned by the deliberate verbal abuse Israeli detaining authorities display towards Palestinian female prisoners by directing sexual threats towards them and using inappropriate, vulgar language.
 
Administrative detention
 
After Hana’s interrogation period concluded, she remained in Kishon Detention Center for nine additional days, which Israeli authorities claimed were necessary for the purpose of investigation.
 
On 29 September 2009, Israeli Military Commander Ilan Malka issued a six-month administrative detention order against Hana on the premise that she posed a threat to the “security of the area”. The order was set to expire on 28 March 2010. At the judicial review of the order, which took place on 5 October 2009 at the Court of Administrative Detainees in Ofer Military Base, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, military judge Ilan Nun confirmed the order for the entire six month period, but agreed to count the two weeks Hana had already been detained towards her detention period. In his decision, Nun alleged that, based on the “secret information” made available to him by the military prosecution, Hana was intending to carry out a “terrorist attack”. The judge further claimed that Hana had already undertaken initial steps in preparation for the attack, though he provided no proof to support this allegation.
 
Addameer contends that the judge’s decision raised serious questions and fair trial issues. Seventeen days of investigation by the Israeli Security Agency, including eight days of consecutive interrogation did not prove the suspicions against Hana and no evidence of the alleged “intention” was brought before the court. Moreover, at no point did the court establish Hana’s affiliation with a Palestinian political party or armed group, nor did it establish whether Hana planned to carry out the alleged attack by herself or in partnership with anyone else. Additionally, the nature of a possible partnership was never investigated. Importantly, all suspicions directed towards Hana remained vague and general, leaving her without any legitimate means to defend herself. Although administrative detention orders issued by the Israeli military commander are the subject of review and further appeal by a military court, neither lawyers nor detainees are permitted to see the “secret information” used as a basis for the detention orders, rendering any possible legal defense meaningless.
 
Hana’s attorneys filed an appeal against her administrative detention order, but the appeal was refused and Hana’s order remained set until 13 March 2010. This was subsequently extended for six months. On 12 September 2010, Hana’s administrative detention order was extended for an additional six month period. In March 2011, her order was again renewed, and in July 2011 it was renewed for a fourth time, due to expire on 9 November 2011.
 
Hana was released from prison on 18 October 2011, as part of the prisoner exchange deal concluded by the Israeli government and Hamas, whereby 1,027 Palestinian political prisoners were released in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Though her administrative detention order at the time was set to expire less than a month later, it remains unclear whether or not her order would have been renewed an additional time.
 
Detention conditions
 
Prior to her transfer to HaSharon Prison, Hana spent a total of 17 days in Kishon Detention Center, where she was not once given a change of clean clothes. Hana continued to be detained in interrogation-like conditions for three days after her administrative detention order was issued. On 1 October 2009, she was eventually transferred to Section 2 of HaSharon Prison, where, allegedly due to overcrowding in the section where Palestinian female prisoners are detained, she was placed in the same section as Israeli females detained for criminal offenses. This placement was a direct violation of Israeli Prison Service Regulations, which stipulate that administrative detainees are to be held separately from all other detainees and prisoners, including those who have been convicted of a crime. Moreover, while detained in the same sections as Israeli criminal offenders, Palestinian female prisoners are almost always discriminated against, enjoy fewer recreation hours and are often subjected to humiliation and abusive language from Israeli prisoners, who threaten them of physical attack. As a result, Palestinian women live in constant fear and often experience insomnia, and other psychological problems for the entire time they are detained in the same sections with Israeli women.  
 
Addameer attorney Safa Abdo filed a complaint with the HaSharon Prison administration regarding Hana’s detention conditions. On 25 October 2009, after being held for 25 days among Israeli criminal offenders, Hana was finally moved to Section 12 of HaSharon Prison with the other Palestinian female prisoners and detainees. 
                            
Hana remained held in Section 12 of HaSharon Prison, one of Israel’s largest facilities, together with approximately 18 other Palestinian female prisoners before being released. The building which now constitutes the prison complex served as the headquarters of the British Mounted Police during the British Mandate in Palestine and, as such, was never designed for the incarceration of women. As a result, Hana suffered from the harsh detention conditions and complained of overcrowding, humidity, lack of natural sunlight and adequate ventilation, as well as poor hygiene standards.
 
***
 
Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold detainees indefinitely on secret evidence without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. In the occupied Palestinian West Bank, the Israeli army is authorized to issue administrative detention orders against Palestinian civilians on the basis of Military Order 1651. This order empowers military commanders to detain an individual for up to six month renewable periods if they have “reasonable grounds to presume that the security of the area or public security require the detention.” On or just before the expiry date, the detention order is frequently renewed. This process can be continued indefinitely.
 
For more information about administrative detention and Addameer’s Campaign to Stop Administrative Detention please visit our website: www.addameer.org.
 
Read Addameer’s report on administrative detention:
 
Read Addameer’s report on detention conditions for female prisoners: “In Need of Protection”: Palestinian Female Prisoners in Israeli Detention, November 2008
 
**** 
ACT NOW!
 
Here is how you can help Hana Shalabi:
 
*Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that Hana Shalabi be released immediately.
  • Brigadier General Danny Efroni
    Military Judge Advocate General
    6 David Elazar Street
    Harkiya, Tel Aviv
    Israel
    Fax: +972 3 608 0366; +972 3 569 4526
    Email: arbel@mail.idf.il; avimn@idf.gov.il
  • Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi
    OC Central Command Nehemia Base, Central Command
    Neveh Yaacov, Jerusalam
    Fax: +972 2 530 5741
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak
    Ministry of Defense
    37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
    Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
    Fax: +972 3 691 6940 / 696 2757
  • Col. Eli Bar On
    Legal Advisor of Judea and Samaria PO Box 5
    Beth El 90631
    Fax: +972 2 9977326
*Write to your own elected representatives urging them to pressure Israel to release Hana Shalabi and to put an end to such an unjust, arbitrary and cruel system of incarceration without trial.

 

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