Mohammad Hussein Fathi Amarneh
Date of birth: 6/1/1999
Education: Tawjihi Student
Date of arrest: 2/3/2016
Place of detention: Megiddo prison
Place of residence: Ya’bad/ Jenin
Legal status: 3-month administrative detention
Arrest and interrogation
On Wednesday, 2/3/2016, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested the child Mohammad Amarneh from his house in Ya’bad village, near Jenin after a big number of soldiers raided the neighborhood. During the raid, IOF ransacked the houses of Mohammad’s uncles before arriving to his house. They broke the doors of Mohammad’s house and the family woke up to Israeli soldiers surrounding their bedrooms. The soldiers immediately entered Mohammad’s bedroom and shackled him after identifying him. They took him outside the house without allowing him to change his clothes despite his mother’s demands to let him wear a jacket because it was very cold outside.
Mohammad was initially taken to Huwara detention center near Nablus. He was later taken to Salem detention center where interrogation began and lasted for 39 hours. Mohammad was accused of writing a post on Facebook that includes incitement against the occupation security forces. Mohammad denied all of the accusations and confirmed that he does not have a Facebook account and that the page that was shown to him by the interrogator is not his.Mohammad had a hearing at Salem Military Court where the military prosecution failed to present any clear charges against him. Therefore, the judge gave the prosecution 72 hours to present the court with charges against him or he will be released. During that time, Mohammad was transferred to Megiddo prison. On 14/3/2016, the military commander of the area issued a three-month administrative detention order against him.
On 16/3/2016, the military judge Rafael Yamini confirmed Mohammad’s administrative detention order claiming that he is convinced that the child poses a threat to the security of the state. The military prosecution demanded to confirm the order claiming that, “the detainee performed an action against the security of the state”, and of course, the prosecution refused to share any details regarding Mohammad’s action such as, its nature, place or time under the pretext that it is a secret file. The prosecution revealed to the lawyer that part of these accusations are connected to incitement through Mohammad’s Facebook account, however, Mohammad denied all of these accusations and that he is affiliated with a political faction. Later, the prosecution affirmed to Mohammad’s lawyer that his detention is linked to the security of the state.
After reviewing the secret material, the judge confirmed that Mohammad “poses a threat, and he performed some activities of military nature against the security of the state. The judge also stated that the secret file requires Mohammad’s detention despite the fact that he is underage. In addition, the security situation in the region was one of the reasons behind putting Mohammad under administrative detention.”
Mohammad’s case shows how administrative detention is practiced as a policy to repress the Palestinian society and as a tool of collective punishment, revenge, which violates the right to freedom of expression. The military prosecution uses administrative detention when it lacks evidence against the detainees. The prosecution was not able to prove the threat that lies behind social media posts, thus, they relied on ‘secret file’ information. However, the judge disregarded the fact that the detainee is underage or the fact that the detainee denied all of the accusation. The judge also disregarded the fact that the detainee does not have a record of security misconduct.
Mohammad Amarneh’s detention is a part of the mass arrests campaign implemented by the occupation forces all over Palestine since the beginning of the Palestinian popular uprising in early October 2015. According to Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association statistics, there is a significant increase in the number of administrative detention orders; since the beginning of 2016 and until 27/3/2016, the occupation authorities issued an approximate of 403 administrative detention orders including, 218 new orders and 185 renewals of older orders. Administrative detention is widely used against all sectors of Palestinian society including children and women. Recently, dozens of administrative detention orders were issued because of posts and opinions expressed on social media.
The Fourth Geneva Convention and other international human rights conventions guaranteed prisoners the right to a fair trial and only allowed the use of administrative detention in special circumstances and as an alternative for actual trial, which emphasizes the fact that the use of administrative detention by the occupation forces is arbitrary, violates international norms and amounts to a war crime.
Mohammad’s family consists of his father, mother, two sisters and two brothers. Mohammad is a Tawjihi (High school diploma) student. He was hoping to finish high school and start University by the end of this year. However, his arrest will deny him the opportunity to complete his final examinations, which enable him to pass the general secondary stage on time and apply to universities. Mohammad’s administrative detention order ends by the time his classmates have completed more than half of the exams, which will force him to retake a full school year, if his his administrative detention order doesn’t get renewed.