Ghassan Zawahreh was arrested at a military checkpoint between Hebron and Bethlehem. The IOF and intelligence forces had raided his house on 28/6/2014 in an attempt to arrest Zawahreh and destroyed its belongings. He was not home at the time of the raid.
After the arrest, Zawahreh was immediately taken to Aztion detention center and few days later he was transferred to Ofer prison near Ramallah where he received a four-month administrative detention order.
Ghassan Zawahreh was arrested in 2002 and received an eight-year sentence and he was released in 2008. Ghassan was re-arrested few months after his release and spent a year and a half under administrative detention.
Ghassan and four other administartive detainees announced an open hunger strike on 30/8/2015 in protest of administrative detention, in which Palestinians are held without charge or trial. This step came as a continuation to the escalatory steps they started on 20 August 2015. The steps included not having solid foods and having only liquids in preparation for an open hunger strike. In the beginning of July 2015, the five detainees along with 50 other administrative detainees announced boycotting the military courts that confirm their administrative detention orders, emphasizing the falsity of these courts that lack the minimum standards of fair trial and legalize arbitrary detention.
The IPS immediately transferred the detainees to isolation cells in different detention centers as a punishment and imposed numerous punitive measures against them including: solitary confinement, denial of family visits, and denial of cold water. The prison’s director later closed all of the little openings in the cell’s door to compeletly block the air from coming inside. The prison’s administration also confiscated their beloingings. It should be mentioned that Ghassan was arbitrarly transferred to various isolation cells in a number of prisons including Beersheva, Eila and Naqab isolation.
On the 29th of September the five detainees suspended their hunger strike which lasted for about 30 days, as a result of reaching an agreement regarding their administrative detention. It was agreed that Ghassan would be released on 30/11/2015.
Ghassan was arrested on 4/8/2014 and received an administrative detention order on 7/8/2014 for four months. The military judge confirmed the full order claiming that there is secret information against Zawahreh regarding participating in political activities in his area of residence without specifying the type of activities. The secret information also addresses Zawahreh’s connections without conducting an actual investigation regarding these accusations. The judge claimed that the military commander issued a 4-month administrative detention order against Ghassan immediately without examining other options, which means that he assumed a future threat may be posed by Ghassan.
Ghassan was not released upon completion of the first administrative detention order. His order was renewed for an additional four months based on the same secret information and accusations claiming that Ghassan continues to pose a genuine threat.
The judge confirmed the third order against Ghassan, limiting the order period from four to three months. This was because Ghassan had already been detained for 8 months and in consideration of the fact that his daughter Naia suffers from heart disease. However, the military prosecution appealed the judge’s decision which was later approved by the military court and the order was set to four months again.
Ghassan’s order was renewed for the fourth time based on the same secret information for four additional months despite the fact that he had already been detained for a full year. Afterwards, he announced boycotting military courts because he was convinced that they have no role in the judicial review and they are false courts, since the real decision comes only from the intelligence forces of the occupation. The judge confirmed the order without taking the health condition of Ghassan’s daughter into consideration or that he had been detained for a full year without a proper investigation. His order ends on 30/11/2015.
Ghassan’s case emphasizes the role of the military courts regarding administrative detention and the lack of impartiality. Military judges act in collaboration with the arbitrary detention process. They are the legal tool that the military commander uses to violate international humanitarian law, especially the fourth Geneva convention regarding the use of administrative detention.
Ghassan has been held under administrative for over a year without knowledge of the reason and with no knowledge of the end date of his detention. This type of detention amounts to a form of torture and degrading treatment, which is a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Geneva Conventions.
Ghassan is married to Mrs. Riham Zawahreh and has three children, Ibrahim (4 years old), Aser (2 years old) and Naia (a year and half old). Naia has a heart condition and is in need of regular treatment and medical care. Ghassan is visited by his wife, children and mother once a month at Naqab prison. Ghassan’s father and brothers are denied visitation rights for “security reasons” and were never able to visit him, likely due to the fact that they are ex-detainees themselves.
Date of Birth: 10 March 1981
Place of Residence: Bethlehem
Occupation: University student majoring in Social Work. Part-time taxi driver.
Place of detention: Ofer Prison
Date of arrest: 30 July 2008
Date of release: UNCERTAIN
“Despite the humiliation and suffering, we still have to go and see him. He is my son and I look forward to seeing him. When we come to prison, we are held in a narrow room and searched in a demeaning and humiliating manner. There are 40 prisoners in the visiting room and maybe 120 family members. The glass partition prevents direct communication, so we talk on the phone. One time, the telephone was out of order so we communicated together using hand signals” – Ghassan Zawahreh’s mother
Ghassan was arrested on 30 July 2008 when he was summoned to meet the Israeli security agency (ISA) at Atsiyon Detention Center. He was placed under a six-month administrative detention period until 29 January 2009 when the order was renewed. The appeal against the administrative detention order was rejected on 7 September 2008. Ghassan was transferred to Ofer Detention Center after spending 18 days in Atsiyon Detention Center.
This is not the first time that Ghassan has been detained. Previously, he has spent 80 months in detention moving between several prisons, such as the Negev, Nafha, Ashqelon, and Shatta. He was only released on 11 July 2007 just to be detained again, merely 19 days later.
Ghassan’s family consists of eight family members. His detained brother, Mohammad was in his final year at school when he was arrested. Ghassan’s father has also experienced life in an Israeli prison. In total, he spent eight years behind bars. Ghassan’s 18-year-old brother, Mohammad is currently detained and is awaiting his trial. After being interrogated at the Moskobiyya detention centre in West Jerusalem, Mohammad was transferred to Ofer where he is currently held together with Ghassan.
Only Ghassan’s mother and sister are allowed to visit him in prison. His father is denied visits due to “security reasons”. His brother, Hamdan, visited him only once. After that visit Hamdan promised never to make the journey again because of the utter humiliation he was exposed to. Shortly before he was arrested Ghassan got engaged. He had been preparing for his wedding during the days prior to his arrest. Life has been especially difficulty for his fiancée as she is denied a visit permit by the Israeli authorities.
Three months before he was arrested, Ghassan endured a surgical operation in his leg. He had continued to suffer from impairments in his leg when he was arrested. In addition, Ghassan endures an eye trauma that affects his vision.