Date of Birth: 20 June 1970
Date of arrest: 15 October 2012
Residence: Saffa village (near Ramallah)
Marital Status: Married with four children
Occupation: Researcher with Addameer Prisoner Support
& Human Rights Association and part time lecturer at Al Quds Open University
Place of detention: Moskobiyyeh Detention Center, Jerusalem
"I believe that every human being has opinions and positions and if it’s not violating the law he can freely think and speak these opinions. I am a human rights defender who supports the Palestinian prisoners and I represent my opinions in the public media. My thoughts are not secret, they are public, and everyone knows them." --Ayman Nasser, addressing the Israeli court, 18 October 2012
At 1:00 am on 15 October 2012 a large number of Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) raided Ayman’s home in the village of Saffa, near Ramallah. The raid lasted about 1.5 hours, during which time IOF used sniffer dogs to search each room in the house and confiscated Ayman’s computer and mobile phone.
They also searched the computer of Ayman’s children and confiscated some of its pieces. Ayman’s wife was kept in a separate room during the raid with two Israeli soldiers pointing their weapons at her for the duration of the raid. At approximately 3:00 am Ayman was taken away by IOF and is currently being held in Moskobiyyeh detention center in Jerusalem.
The interrogation sessions have been steadily increasing in length from a few hours per day on 15 and 16 October to 10 hours on 17 October. The lengthy duration of the interrogations are causing Ayman immense pain, particularly in his back, due to his existing back problems.
The pain is further compounded when his hands are shackled behind his back. At times he has also been blindfolded and brought into other interrogation rooms where a large number of photos were laid out in front of him. After telling his interrogators that he didn’t recognize anyone, apart from himself, he was told if he didn’t confess he would remain in prison, although his interrogators did not present any charges against him.
On 18 October Ayman appeared in Israeli court in Jerusalem, where the prosecution requested that his interrogation period be extended by another 15 days. During the court appearance Addameer lawyer Mahmoud Hassan refereed questions to the prosecution regarding the failure of the interrogators to provide Ayman with his medication, as Ayman is currently only getting two out of the five medications that he requires daily.
During his court appearance Ayman said that the main focus of the interrogation had been his involvement in the Handala Center, which is an educational, artistic center in Ayman’s village Saffa and of which he is the Chairperson. Ayman argued that the center is completely transparent and is registered with the Palestinian Authority, in full compliance of Palestinian law.
Addressing the court Ayman said he believes "that every human being has opinions and positions and if it is not violating the law he can freely think and speak these opinions. I am a human rights defender who supports the Palestinian prisoners and I represent my opinions in the public media. My thoughts are not secret, they are public, and everyone knows them."
The judge ruled that based on ‘secret evidence’ he would extend Ayman’s interrogation period for another seven days and referred the situation of the medicine to the doctor at Moskobiyyeh detention center. This referral to the doctor is quite worrying as it has been well documented by Addameer and other human rights organizations, that the withholding of medication or medical treatment is systematically used by doctors in the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) to pressure prisoners into complying with IPS demands.
Ayman has previously spent six years in Israeli prison. He was arrested in 1992 and eventually released on 27 October 1997.
AYMAN’S EDUCATIONAL AND PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND
At the time of Ayman’s imprisonment in 1992, he had earned his high school certificate. However, upon his release his completed his BA in Social Work. In 2010, he also earned his Masters in Social Educational Psychology from Abu Dis University.
Since 2008 Ayman has been working with Addameer as a researcher in its documentation unit and has represented Addameer in many local human rights coalitions, including the Coalition against Torture and the Coalition against the Death Penalty. He is also Addameer’s representative on the ‘High Committee for Palestinian Political Prisoners’, which includes various human rights organizations, representatives from the Ministry of Prisoners Affairs and political parties that advocate on behalf of Palestinian political prisoners.
Ayman has also been lecturing on a part-time basis at Al Quds Open University where is he teaches BA students Social Work.
He is also the Chairperson and one of the founders of the Handala Center in Saffa which was established 1999. The Handala Center is an educational, artistic and sports center that is based on the principal of voluntary work and serves all the residents of Saffa.
Ayman is also currently standing as a candidate on the ‘United Saffa’ list in the upcoming local elections in Saffa, which believes in justice, development and the rule of law.
Ayman suffers from a number of health issues including inflammation in his colon and back pain. Prior to his arrest he was receiving medical treatment by specialized doctors and is in constant need of medical attention.
Ayman has been married to his wife Haleema for almost 20 years. They have four children together, Ameen (13), Naji (11), Nadeem (8) and Mohammad (3). According to Ayman’s wife Haleema, their children are “looking forward to see their father, a father who taught them the meaning of freedom and loving life.”
Ayman is an extremely well educated man, who is an avid reader with extensive knowledge about cultural, social and political aspects of life.
“Human rights defenders” are formally defined as persons who work peacefully for any or all of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Ayman clearly falls within the category, in that his activities are peaceful in nature and aimed at the promotion of human rights.
Addameer views Ayman‘s imprisonment as a deliberate violation of his fundamental freedoms and special protections provided under international law for human rights defenders, particularly freedoms of movement, expression, association and peaceful assembly.
*Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that Ayman Nasser be released immediately.
- Brigadier General Danny Efroni
Military Judge Advocate General
6 David Elazar Street
Harkiya, Tel Aviv
Fax: +972 3 608 0366; +972 3 569 4526
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
- Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon
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 Ayman Nasser.