Deir Ghassaneh Village
Third year university student at Birzeit University; Sociology Major
Date of Arrest:
Ofer Detention Center, Prison, and Military Court (&& Beit El Settlement Compound)
Date of birth: 25 September 1982
Place of residence: Deir Ghassaneh Village, Ramallah district
Occupation: Third year university student at Birzeit University; Sociology Major
Date of arrest: 30 August 2009
Place of detention: Ofer Prison
Number of detention orders: Five
Date of release: 27 July 2011
Number of days held in administrative detention: 696 days
ARREST AND ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION
Arafat Mudar Mohammad Daoud was arrested by Israeli soldiers from his family home in the early morning hours of 30 August 2009. This arrest occurred less than four months after his release from more than a year in Israeli detention, parts of which he spent as an administrative detainee.
At 3:30 a.m., Israeli military jeeps arrived at Arafat’s family home in Deir Ghassanah, a village located north of Ramallah. The soldiers started throwing stones at the house, waking the entire family. Arafat’s brother Nazzal, who lives in an apartment above Arafat and their mother, was ordered by the soldiers to come out into the street. The soldiers then searched Nazzal thoroughly, including by lifting his shirt, next to the family’s olive press located just outside the building. An Israeli intelligence officer asked Nazzal to list everyone who was in his own apartment and then instructed him to bring them all outside. Nazzal complied with the order and went inside to get his wife and three children, the youngest of whom was an infant only eight months old. Then Nazzal was ordered to go from door to door asking residents of the neighboring houses to leave their apartments and gather in the street. At one point, the soldiers shackled Nazzal and made his wife go to the neighbor’s house asking them to come out.
Soldiers then entered the apartment block with dogs, where they found Arafat.
Nazzal describes how Arafat was removed from the house, shackled and taken away:
The officer asked me for Arafat’s phone. I told him that he doesn’t have one, so he said that we were liars. He asked who else was in the house. I told him my mother was still there, but explained to him that she is paralyzed and can only move in a wheelchair. He started threatening that if I didn’t make her come out, he would send the dogs to the apartment and they would hurt her. So I went upstairs and took her to the street in her wheelchair. Around 15 soldiers then entered the house with police dogs; they took Arafat with them. They searched the house for an entire hour and threw everything on the floor. When they were finally finished they came out with Arafat blindfolded and shackled.
Now, after this incident, my children are very scared. They cried the entire day [after the soldiers came]. One time, they heard a noise outside of the house and started screaming: “The army is coming, the army is coming”. They’ve even stopped leaving the house by themselves.
The soldiers transported Arafat directly to Ofer detention center. A few days later, Arafat was informed that he would be detained without trial or charge, as a six month administrative detention order had been issued against him until 28 February 2010. During the judicial review of the order on 9 September 2009, the military judge confirmed Arafat’s administrative detention, setting his provisional release date for 28 February 2010.
Arafat’s administrative detention has since been extended four times. The first two extensions were for six month periods each, set to expire on 28 February 2011, after a military judge approved it at a judicial review which took place in Ofer military court on 29 August 2010. A third extension was approved, this time for a four month period set to expire on 26 June 2011. On appeal, this detention order was shortened to 3 months, and was set to expire on 26 May 2011. A fourth extension was approved and set to expire on 26 July 2011.
On 27 July 2011, Arafat was released after spending 696 days in administrative detention.
Arafat was first detained by Israeli forces on 17 February 2004. For a period of approximately two months after his arrest, the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) interrogators subjected Arafat to harsh interrogation and detention techniques, including holding him in isolation and denying him access to a lawyer for almost the entirety of his extended interrogation period. Arafat was also detained in the ‘Asafeer’ section (commonly referred to as “the Birds”) where he shared a cell with collaborators hired and trained by Israel to elicit confessions through psychological intimidation and/or physical and sexual violence. Addameer submits that this treatment, which is commonly used against Palestinian detainees, was an attempt by the Israeli interrogators to coerce Arafat into a confession and violated fundamental human rights provisions enshrined in international law.
In April 2004, Arafat took part in a prison hunger strike with 11 other prisoners and detainees in response to more than 10 cell raids in which prison officers beat detainees and destroyed and confiscated property. The striking prisoners protested further similar treatment by prison authorities and demanded more humane conditions, including alleviating overcrowding of cells and for authorities to provide hygiene necessities such as soap and a toothbrush.
Following this interrogation period, Arafat was sentenced to 20 months in prison and levied with fine of 2,000 NIS (about USD $535). He was released on 11 September 2005.
On 23 March 2006, Arafat was again arrested. He was placed under administrative detention for eight months, during which time military prosecutors issued charges against him before the Israeli military courts. Arafat was released on bail pending the completion of the legal procedures, which continued at Ofer Military Court near Ramallah.
Just as the legal proceedings were coming to an end, Arafat was arrested again on 21 March 2008 and later placed under administrative detention for a period of four months. Upon the completion of his detention order, the military courts issued a judgement against him and sentenced him to a 14 month prison term. After serving his sentence, Israeli security forces again issued a four-month administrative detention order against him, operative from 11 November 2008 until 10 March 2009. Although the military judge at the judicial review of this order reduced the detention period to one month, the prosecution successfully appealed against the reduction. On 17 December, the military judge at the Administrative Detention Appeals Court accepted the prosecution’s appeal and quashed the reduction, setting the expiration of Arafat’s administrative detention order at 9 March 2009. Arafat was released at the expiration of the administrative detention order.
Prior to his recent arrest, Arafat was a third-year university student at Birzeit University, where he studied under the Faculty of Arts and was majoring in sociology. Arafat was in his second semester when he was arrested, but his education is now suspended as the Israeli Prison Service forbids Palestinian prisoners to study at any Palestinian university. Moreover, as an administrative detainee, Arafat is not even permitted to apply to the Open University of Israel, the only university where prisoners are permitted to study. However, even if Arafat was permitted to continue his education, he would still be unable to, as he would not be able to pay the tuition while detained and without any income coming in. Because Arafat’s father passed away in 1996, his family could not afford to pay his tuition fees. Before his arrest, Arafat was able to support himself and pay his tuition by working as a waiter in the Al-Bireh Park (Muntazah Al-Bireh) every evening after class.
Arafat is one of seven children, and is not the first or only member of his family to experience Israeli detention, as three of his brothers are also former detainees. Arafat’s oldest brother, Nazzal, for example, has been arrested on many occasions, the most recent of which was on 23 March 2006 when he was administratively detained for 17 consecutive months.
Arafat’s paralyzed mother and his sister Thaera are the only family members who are allowed to obtain travel permits to visit Arafat. However, because of her disability, Arafat’s mother is physically unable to visit. Arafat’s three brothers who are former detainees are consistently denied travel permits for “security reasons”. Thaera must therefore endure the long and arduous journeys to visit Arafat alone. The difficulties of regularly travelling to visit Arafat in detention inside Israel are compounded by Thaera’s life as a wife and mother of six children, the youngest of whom is three years old.