Number of administrative detention orders:
First administrative detention order: 10 May 2010
Second administrative detention order: 20 October 2009
Third administrative detention order: 31 March 2010
Fourth administrative detention order: 30 July 2010
Date of Release: 9 September 2010
Duration of detention without charge or trial: 527
Arrest and Administrative Detention
Raja’ Nazmi Qasim Al-Ghoul was arrested from her family home during the early morning of 31 March 2009. At 2:00 a.m., around 30 Israeli soldiers surrounded Raja’s building and searched the house with police dogs. During the search, they broke cupboards, pulled out the flooring and then took Raja’ to a room where they interrogated her. The soldiers then searched the house’s backyard with the help of the dogs and took her husband to their other home in Jenin refugee camp. When he arrived, Raja’s husband found their home completely surrounded by the Israeli soldiers who had already carried out a search of the house and destroyed a number of the Al Ghoul’s personal belongings. The soldiers then took the husband back to the first house where Raja’ was still being held. The soldiers confiscated the family’s personal computer as well as eight other computers from Raja’s brother-in-law who owns an internet café located near the couple’s home. During this time, Raja’ was also strip-searched. Finally, after a two-hour long search through the couple’s home, the Israeli soldiers arrested Raja’. She was transferred to Salem detention centre blindfolded and shackled.
Raja’ arrived at Salem detention centre at 5:00 a.m., but was left out in the cold until 8:00 a.m. when a judge passed by, shouted at the soldiers in whose custody she was held, and asked them to transfer her to prison. At that point, she was transported to Hasharon where she remained for five days. She was then transferred to Jalameh detention centre where an interrogation began. She was put in a small cell; an emotionally difficult position to be in, especially given her heart problems and issues related to irregular blood pressure. There was one main interrogator throughout her questioning, but four or five others would accompany him at different stages. At no point did anyone read her rights to her. During the interrogation, Raja’ was subjected to degrading insults and curses. In addition, specific issues were raised regarding her husband to intentionally provoke her. She was on a hunger strike for this entire period, protesting her arrest and treatment; she was further weakened by sleep deprivation, as the guards would knock at her cell door late every night. At no point was Raja’ visited by either a lawyer or the International Committee of the Red Cross.
In total, she spent 40 days under interrogation after which an administrative detention order was issued against her for a period of six months starting from the moment of her arrest and lasting until 20 October 2009. Military judge Amit Fries confirmed the order at the judicial review, but shortened the administrative detention period from six to three months, taking into consideration Raja’s poor health condition. This decision was overruled following the military prosecution’s successful appeal to the Military Court of Appeals. Raja’s administrative detention order was expected to end on 20 October 2009, but instead the order was renewed for an additional six month period, ending on 29 March 2010.
On 31 March 2010, Raja’s administrative detention order was renewed again for another six months for a second time, set to expire on 30 September 2010. The order was reduced at the judicial review to five months, and again at the Administrative Detainees Appeals Court to four months. On 30 July 2010, however, her detention was extended once again but only for one month. Raja’ was finally released on 9 September 2010.
This is Raja’s third arrest since 1989, when she was sentenced to four months in prison and charged with a 16,000 NIS fine. This was followed by another arrest in 2006 when she was sentenced to nine months in prison for her work in Meshkat Prisoner Support Association, a Palestinian organization that provides legal counsel to Palestinian prisoners, after it was declared illegal by the Israeli authorities.
Raja’ shared a cell with five other detainees, one of whom gave birth to a child, who still accompanies her, in degrading and humiliating conditions within the prison.
The room was no more than two meters by three meters, had uneven roofing, and contained only three bunk beds. Raja’, alongside other female detainees at Hasharon, suffered from harsh detention conditions. Overcrowding, poor hygiene, too few hours in fresh air, stress, and emotional and physical pressure all led to a further exacerbation of her poor health. She was due for a heart EKG and is in need of regular heart checkups but neither were possible given the realities of detention in Israeli prisons. After two months of detention, she was given a blood test, and was told that the results indicated that she should drink more water. Raja’ also suffers from anemia. Though she is given medication for this condition, she does not have any information as to its nature and source. In addition, in her early days of detention, Raja’ suffered from a fainting episode and lost feeling in her tongue. Her experiences in detention have thus been a certain and definable detriment to her health.
Raja’ has no children, so her family life revolves around her husband. Having not received permission, he was unable to visit her throughout her detention period. The Red Cross questioned the matter but did not receive a clear response as to why he was not allowed to visit her.
Prior to her detention, Raja’ worked with an organization that deals with family issues. She also planned the founding of a nursery as she greatly enjoys working with children and hopes one day to work as a child mentor and continue her studies by specializing in child psychology. Previously, Raja’ studied Social Services at Jerusalem Open University and worked for seven years, between 1993 and 2000, as a child caregiver in a private organization.
Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold detainees indefinitely on secret information 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 campaign page.
For more information on Fatima’s case and general information on the conditions of detention for Palestinian female detainees visit www.aseerat.ps