*Detention statistics are based on reports from the Israeli Prison Service and Addameer’s monitoring. Detention statistics are current as of 31 December 2011, except for the number of women and PLC members, which are current as of 15 January 2012 and based on Addameer’s own documentation. Arrest statistics are based on figures from the Palestinian Monitoring Group and are current as of 31 December 2011.
Alarmingly, Addameer also documented an extremely high number of arrests
between the two phases of the prisoner exchange deal. Between 18 October and 12 December alone, Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) arrested nearly 470 Palestinians. The 470 Palestinians arrested during this period included about 70 children and 11 women. In addition, political activists were especially targeted during this period. Approximately 150 arrests of alleged party members occurred, particularly including those whom the IOF claimed are active in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which Addameer believes may be connected to punitive measures for the 22-day hunger strike started on 27 September, as it was initially launched by PFLP prisoners. This wave of arrests revealed Israel’s intention to refill Israeli prisons following any releases. Along a similar vein, even the prisoners released in the first phase of the exchange were not safe from harassment during this period. The IOF has regularly raided their homes, issued summons to meet with Israeli intelligence, prevented family members from traveling to see them and re-arrested one individual. One prisoner released in the second phase of the deal was also re-arrested.
Update on hunger strike and use of isolation
During the last reporting period, Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons announced
the start of a campaign of civil disobedience to protest an escalating series of punitive and collective measures taken against them by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) in recent months. The IPS notably cancelled all prisoners’ access to university education, newspapers, and books from outside prison, in addition to limiting the number of TV channels available to prisoners. The IPS also started shackling all prisoners’ hands and legs to and from all visits, and in some prisons, the duration of family visits was shortened from 45 to 30 minutes. Perhaps most importantly, the IPS increased the frequency of its punitive use of isolation for so-called “security” reasons, a policy that has long been decried by prisoners.
On 18 October, prisoners put their hunger strike on hold in light of the prisoner exchange deal concluded by Israel and Hamas. As most of the measures taken by the IPS against prisoners in recent months were part of a policy aimed at collectively punishing Palestinian prisoners for the continued incarceration of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, it was expected that these would be reversed with his release. At the time of the first phase of prisoner releases, the spokespersons for the prisoner’s movement made a deal with the IPS that the policy of isolation and other punitive measures would be stopped within three months if the prisoners ceased their hunger strike.
It has now been over three months and the IPS has not respected this deal with the prisoner’s movement. The prisoners announced that starting next week, they plan to give back two of their three meals a day to the IPS. They also said that they will start another open hunger strike in February if the IPS does not revoke the aforementioned punitive measures against prisoners, including isolation. There are currently 16 Palestinian political prisoners held in isolation for “security” reasons.
Update on the detention of Palestinian lawmakers
Two Change and Reform Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members were arrested during the reporting period, bringing the number of imprisoned PLC members up to 23 as of 15 January 2012, with 20 of them in administrative detention. None of the PLC members were included in either phase of the prisoner exchange deal concluded by Hamas and Israel on 11 October.
Fatah PLC member Jamal Al-Tirawi, arrested on 29 May 2007, was sentenced on 31 October to 30 years in Israeli prison. His trial was postponed more than 70 times and took over four years. Al-Tirawi was the first elected Fatah official to be detained following the 2006 legislative elections, when the IOF carried out mass arrests of Hamas officials.
On 1 November, Change and Reform PLC member Hassan Yousef was arrested along with his son during a night raid on his home in Beituniya and placed in administrative detention for six months, due to expire in May 2012. Yousef was released from Israeli prison in August 2011 from a 6-year sentence, only to be detained weeks later for interrogation, and then re-arrested again two months later.
On 7 December, Change and Reform PLC member Ahmad Attoun was released from Israeli prison and forcibly deported to Ramallah. On 26 September, Attoun was arrested by undercover police at the entrance of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office in East Jerusalem. Attoun, along with another Hamas legislator and a former Hamas government minister, had been taking refuge in the ICRC office for over a year, after Israeli authorities revoked their Jerusalem residencies.
On 14 December, Change and Reform PLC member Ayman Daraghmeh was arrested and given a 6-month administrative detention order, due to expire in June 2012. Daraghmed previously spent 20 months in administrative detention, from March 2009 to November 2010.
PLC member and Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Sa’adat, entered his 35th consecutive month in isolation at the beginning of January. On 27 October, following a mass hunger strike protesting punitive measures against prisoners including the use of isolation, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) renewed Sa’adat’s isolation order for another year.
The administrative detention orders of 13 PLC members were renewed during the reporting period. The administrative detention order of Nizar Ramadan was renewed for an additional 3 months, while the detention orders for Nasser Abdel Jawad, Mohammad Badir, Azzam Abd al-Rahman Salhab and Mahmoud al-Ramahi were renewed for 4 months. Samir al-Qadi, Ahmed al-Hajj Ali, Abdel Rahman Zidan, Mohammed al-Tal, Nayef al-Rujoub, Hatem Qafisha, Omar al-Raziq and Muhammed Abu Jahaisha all received additional 6-month orders.
Zakaria Daoud, who was released from Israeli prison on 22 August 2011, passed away on 2 January 2012 from terminal cancer at the age of 43. Zakaria was arrested on 10 February 2003 and sentenced to 16 years imprisonment. After serving 9 years of his sentence and suffering from severe deterioration in his health due to inadequate treatment for his illness while in detention, Zakaria was finally released. However, by the time he was released, there were no longer any opportunities to provide him with enough care to save him, and he was also prevented by Israeli authorities from traveling abroad to receive better treatment. Under international law, the Israeli Prison Service has the obligation to provide necessary healthcare to detainees. From Addameer’s documentation, Zakaria is the 52nd prisoner to die due to medical negligence by the IPS.
STOP ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION CAMPAIGN
As of 15 January 2012, there were approximately 307 administrative detainees, 20 of whom are PLC members and one of whom is a child. This number represents an 11 percent increase on October 2011, when Israeli authorities held 272 administrative detainees without charge or trial.
Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan
has been on hunger strike for over 30 days in protest of his administrative detention. After being violently arrested on 17 December 2011, during which he suffered injuries to his face and back, Khader
was immediately taken to Al-Jalameh interrogation center, where he began a hunger and speaking strike. On his fourth day of interrogation, the IPS sentenced him in his cell to seven days of isolation in punishment for his ongoing hunger strike. Throughout his ten days of interrogation, Khader was also subject to additional forms of ill-treatment, such as being forced to sit in a chair with a crooked back with his hands tied behind him, causing extreme pain to his already-injured back. On 30 December 2011, Khader was transferred to Ramleh prison hospital because of his deteriorating health from his hunger strike. He was placed in isolation in the hospital, where he was subject to cold conditions and cockroaches throughout his cell. Since 25 December, he has refused any medical examinations until he is released. Khader was issued a four-month administrative detention order on 8 January 2012, due to expire on 8 May 2012. He has spent a total of six years in Israeli prison, mainly in administrative detention. Khader currently suffers from overall fatigue and dizziness and is refusing to add any vitamins or salt to his water. Khader Adnan is the third case in Addameer’s prisoners at risk
Walid Hanatsheh (Abu Rass)
, Finance and Administration Manager for the Health Work Committees (HWC), one of the largest community health service providers in the occupied Palestinian territory, was arrested on 22 November 2011 and subsequently received an administrative detention order for six months. Walid
has been consistently targeted for arrest and administrative detention by Israeli authorities, with his first detention occurring in 1994. From 2002 to 2005, Walid spent three and a half years under administrative detention. and later spent another year in administrative detention from 2009 to 2010. When the military judge confirmed his current administrative detention order, Walid’s lawyer filed an appeal, emphasizing that Walid is an employee in a humanitarian institution providing necessary medical services to many individuals and that his detention negatively affects his work and beneficiaries. This appeal was rejected by the military judge.
The administrative detention of Mazen Natsheh
, the administrative secretary for a charity working with disabled persons, was renewed for the sixth time on 4 December and is due to expire on 3 March. Mazen
was arrested from his home in Hebron on 7 October 2009 and has been held in Ketziot Prison over two years. Since his first arrest in 1994, Mazen has spent a total of 8 years in Israeli prisons, 7 of them in administrative detention. His most recent arrest came only 4 months after his release from 4 consecutive years in administrative detention after his fifth arrest 2004. Mazen suffers from colitis (an inflammation on the wall of the large intestine), a condition that requires continuous treatment, regular medical check-ups and a special diet including large amounts of fluid and fruits. Despite this, Mazen has been deemed healthy by the IPS and is therefore not entitled to a special diet or proper health care in prison, receiving only painkillers when he demands them.
Twenty PLC members are currently in administrative detention, two of whom – Hassan Yousef and Ayman Daraghmeh – were arrested during the reporting period on 1 November and 14 December respectively.
As of 15 January 2012, there were approximately 132 child prisoners, 19 of whom are under age 16. At least 404 Palestinians under the age of 18 were arrested in 2011, 110 of them during the reporting period. Certain areas were specifically targeted for child arrests throughout the past three months, including Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem and Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem. In a period of only two weeks from 1 to 15 December, 11 children were arrested in Shuafat and 10 in Dheisheh alone. The reporting period also saw a case of a child as young as six years old being arrested by Israeli authorities in Issawiya, Jerusalem.
Fourteen-year-old Islam Dar Ayoub Tamimi
, who was arrested on 24 January 2011 and placed under house arrest on 5 April, awaits the verdict in his ongoing trial. Islam remains on house arrest and is only allowed to leave home to attend school. Throughout Islam’s “trial-within-a-trial” procedure, his lawyer has disputed the admissibility of the evidence against him due to Islam not having been granted access to a lawyer or family member for 5 hours, during which time he was subjected to ill-treatment. On 9 January 2012, the military judge denied the motion to rule his confession inadmissible, commenting that though he agreed his rights were violated, he did not believe the infringement on Islam’s rights would endanger his right to a fair trial. On 28 November 2011, Islam gave testimony in the trial of human rights defender Bassem Tamimi. Islam testified to the violations of his rights that he faced under interrogation and stated that he gave a false confession due to the extensive pressure he faced before and during his interrogation. During another hearing in Bassem’s trial on 8 January 2012, a police officer in charge of Islam’s interrogation told the court that his threats of Islam were “done as a joke”. Click here
to read Islam’s full profile.
PROTECTION OF FEMALE PRISONERS
As of 15 January 2012, there were 6 Palestinian women in Israeli detention in HaSharon and Damon prisons inside Israel. At least 16 women were arrested by the Israeli authorities during the reporting period, all but four of whom were released after interrogation. In addition, cameras have been placed in the cells in the female sections of HaSharon prison.
On 18 December, six female prisoners were released as part of the second phase of the prisoner exchange deal. The released women are: Suad Nazzal, Muna Qa’dan, Bushra Al-Taweel, Haniya Naser, Fida Abu Sanina and Rania Abu Sbeh.
Among the women that were arrested during the reporting period were Rimah Al-Habal, 35, and Haniyeh Al-Habal, 62. Both women were arrested on 27 December when the IOF came to their home in Ramallah to arrest Sam Al-Habal, 35, who had defended his mother during a neighborhood clash with soldiers earlier that week. When the soldiers did not find him at home, they arrested his wife, Rimah, and mother, Haniyeh, in order to pressure him to turn himself in. Addameer lawyers worked urgently to secure their release, as they were being held as hostages without given any reason for their arrests. After three days, the two women were released with 1,500 NIS bail each. The IOF’s systematic use of arresting family members as a means to exert pressure on another family member constitutes collective punishment, a war crime under international law.
On 5 January, Khadija Abu Ayyash, 44, was released from a three-year sentence. She was arrested in January 2009.
Two women who were detained before both phases of the prisoner exchange deal remain in prison. These women are Lina Jarbuni,35, who was arrested in April 2002 and sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment, and Wurud Qassem, 25, who was arrested in October 2006 and sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment.
Salwa Hassan, 53, Alaa Juba,17, Fatima Dawabsheh,22, and another teenage girl were all arrested during the reporting period and remain detained for interrogation.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AND ANNEXATION WALL-RELATED ARRESTS
Arrests of activists engaged in demonstrations against the Wall and settlements continued during the reporting period. There were at least 295 documented cases of arrests of human rights defenders in 2011. Approximately 58 of those arrested in 2011 were under the age of 18, and some as young as 11. Of the 69 documented detentions that occurred during the reporting period, at least 20 took place in Nabi Saleh, 4 in Beit Ummar, 4 in Al-Ma’sara and 2 in Al-Walaja, with additional arrests in Bil’in, Kufr Qaddum, the South Hebron Hills and areas of Jerusalem. 14 Palestinians, including 6 women, were also arrested at a demonstration outside Hasharon prison, where they were calling for the release of female prisoners.
Bassem Tamimi’s trial
The trial of Bassem Tamimi
, protest organizer and coordinator of Nabi Saleh’s popular committee, continued throughout the reporting period. The military judge denied his lawyer’s motion related to the exceptional delays in his trial and hearings were still consistently postponed until the end of November 2011. On 28 November, 15-year-old Islam Tamimi, one of the main witnesses in the trial, testified to the violations of his rights that he faced under interrogation and stated that he gave a false confession due to the extensive pressure he faced before and during his interrogation. On the following day, 15-year-old Mo’atassem Tamimi and 20-year-old Udai Tamimi took the stand and also testified that they were forced to incriminate Bassem. During the next hearing on 14 December, the lead interrogator of Islam and Mo’atassem admitted that child rights are regularly infringed upon during interrogation. However, in the most recent hearing on 8 January 2012, one of the interrogators claims his intimidation was meant as only a “joke”. Bassem’s trial is expected to continue on 22 January.
Arrest of Ashraf Abu Rahma
On 15 January 2012, Ashraf Abu Rahma, prominent activist from Bil’in, was sentenced to 6 and a half months in prison and a suspended sentence of 6 months if he is convicted again within the next 5 years. Ashraf was arrested on 21 October 2011 during the weekly demonstration in Bil’in and charged with stone-throwing and participating in an illegal march. Ashraf was charged despite extensive evidence to the contrary, including eye-witness testimonies from a B’Tselem employee and lawyer present at the scene in addition to video footage showing that he did not throw any stones during the demonstration. Ashraf has been arrested before for his participation in popular resistance; in 2008, he was arrested in N’ilin and shot in the foot by soldiers while blindfolded. He is also the brother of Bassem and Jawaher, two unarmed demonstrators killed by the Israeli army in Bil’in.
Freedom Rides and Car Protest
Inspired by American civil rights activists of the 1960s, Palestinian activists initiated the “Freedom Rides” protest in an effort to call attention to discriminatory policies by Israel and Israel’s control of West Bank infrastructure. On 15 November 2011, six Palestinian activists boarded an Israeli bus headed to Jerusalem usually only ridden by settlers, highlighting the segregated transportation system for Israeli settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank. At Hizmeh checkpoint, which is off-limits to Palestinians with West Bank residence, the six activists were forcibly removed from the bus and arrested by Israeli forces. Two additional onlookers were also arrested. Eventually the eight activists were released, and the event garnered substantial international recognition.
On 10 January 2012, popular resistance committees organized a similar action, during which around 50 cars of Palestinians attempted to drive fromJericho to Ramallah on an Israeli-only road to protest restrictions on movement for Palestinians. At the Jericho checkpoint, five Palestinians were arrested, including a teenage girl. Despite video footage showing that the activists were protesting peacefully, Israeli officials claimed they were behaving violently. One of the arrested Palestinians, Omar Tamimi, still remains in detention. Omar is from Nabi Saleh and was recently released from Israeli prison in the second phase of the prisoner exchange deal.
Military court admits use of torture
In an unprecedented decision, Ofer military court dropped charges against a Palestinian detainee on 1 December 2011 due to the illegal interrogation methods used against him by Israeli intelligence officers. The court decision admitted to the use of brutal interrogation techniques against Ayman Hamida, 23, who was interrogated for two months at Ashkelon Prison. Ayman’s lawyer refuted the 17 charges against him due to his confession being extracted through torture, which the military judge accepted as legitimate for the first time. Among the ill-treatment to which Ayman was subject were verbal threats, stress positions, and being prevented from taking medication for his nerve disorder.
UNITED NATIONS NEWS
Following the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood recognition by the UN Security Council in September 2011, the PA sought membership in the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at the end of October. On 31 October, Palestine was granted membership to UNESCO with 107 out of 173 votes in favor, allowing Palestinians to register certain sites in UNESCO’s World Heritage register. Palestinian officials view the UNESCO membership as a step in the broader push for international recognition of Palestine as a state. In response, the United States government cut off 60 million dollars in annual funding to UNESCO, stating that admitting Palestine as a member undermined the goal of a lasting peace agreement with Israel.
UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression
The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression
, Frank La Rue, visited Israel and the oPt from 4 December to 18 December 2011. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur is to gather relevant information of discrimination against, threats or use of violence and harassment directed at person seeking to exercise or promote the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. During his visit, which had been postponed several times since January 2011, La Rue met with an Addameer representative, in addition to senior government officials, other representatives of civil society, lawyers, human rights defenders and journalists throughout Israel and the oPt.
In the statement
he released following his visit, La Rue commented extensively on weekly demonstrations in Palestinian villages and the death of Mustafa Tamimi
, who was shot in his face with a tear gas canister fired by an Israeli soldier at close range during a demonstration in Nabi Saleh, at which La Rue was present on 10 December. La Rue also remarked on the practice of restriction of movement for human rights defenders and attacks on and arrests of journalists.
EUROPEAN UNION NEWS
Lobbying for prisoners in Brussels
From 6 to 7 December 2011, Addameer director Sahar Francis, along with PA Minister of Detainee Affairs Issa Qaraqe and representatives from Defense for Children International-Palestine and Al-Haq, met with Belgian and EU parliamentarians in Brussels to advocate on behalf of Palestinian prisoners. The Palestinian delegation was invited to meet with the head of the Belgian parliament, the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council and the European External Action Service (EEAS), among other European representative offices and working groups. The delegation also presented at a conference chaired by the EU parliament, entitled “Palestinian Political Prisoners: Upholding International Law and Human Rights from the European Perspective.” The aim of the tour was to exert continuous pressure on the EU level on behalf of Palestinian prisoners, and to push to fulfill the EU’s March 2011 decision to send a special investigative committee on conditions in Israeli prisons. Vice-Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament Tokia Saïfi stated that she would continue to support the request for this fact-finding mission.
Addameer and other members of the Palestinian delegation also participated in the 13th EU-NGO Forum on Human Rights, held from 8 to 9 December by the EEAS and the European Commission. The forum brought together human rights organizations, international organizations, EU institutions and EU member states to discuss issues such as human rights defenders and arbitrary detention. The aim of the forum was to boost the implementation of EU guidelines on international law and to come up with strategies for a more effective EU human rights approach.
Visit from European Parliament delegation
The EP’s Delegation for Relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council
visited the Gaza Strip from 30 October to 4 November 2011. During their visit, they met with Palestinian political prisoners released as part of the prisoner exchange deal. Addameer helped to organize the delegation’s meeting with seven released prisoners from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, including one woman.
Addameer testifies at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine
On 5 November 2011, Addameer lawyer Mahmoud Hassan testified at the third international session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, held in Cape Town, South Africa. The Russell Tribunal on Palestine is an international citizen-based tribunal of conscience created in response to the demands of civil society to inform and mobilize public opinion and put pressure on decision makers. The third session focused on whether Israel’s practices against Palestinians are in breach of the prohibition on apartheid under international law. Speaking on the topic of denial of the right to life and liberty as an act of apartheid, Mr. Hassan addressed the different legal regimes governing the arrest, prosecution and detention of Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and inside Israel. Click here
to read the full testimony and here
for video of his presentation.
Addameer speaking tour
Addameer’s Outreach and Advocacy Officer conducted a speaking tour throughout the UK from 14 to 28 November 2011. During the tour, Addameer aimed to raise awareness of political prisoners and build solidarity with different groups, including trade unions, students and activists. The tour specifically focused on the criminalization of human rights defenders in the oPt. Addameer director Sahar Francis also traveled to Poland for a conference on democratic reforms in the Arab world arranged by the Polish Presidency of the EU on 1 and 2 December.
Addameer has published its annual report on violations in Israeli prisons in English and Arabic. The report highlights the violations that Palestinian prisoners were subjected to throughout 2010, starting from the moment of arrest and going through the interrogation and detention periods. In particular, the report provides a comprehensive overview of major developments in the ongoing confrontation between the prisoner movement and the Israeli Prison Service.
Addameer officially launched its new website, www.addameer.org
during the last reporting period. This website allows for easier browsing and includes multimedia content, including videos
from Addameer’s existing YouTube channel
, photo galleries
and audio of Addameer’s radio programs; an extensive database
of prisoner profiles; advocacy toolkits for Addameer’s campaigns
; and monthly statistics
on prisoners. Addameer also launched its twitter
, which you can follow for up-to-date news!
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY ARREST AND DETENTION NEWS
More than eight months after the signing of a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah in Cairo, political detentions by the PA continued during the reporting period. In total, Addameer monitored and documented 111 cases of arbitrary and politically-motivated arrests by the Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank between 15 October and 15 January. Arrests also continued to take place in the Gaza Strip, casting shadow on either party’s commitment to national reconciliation.
“Insulting high personalities”
On 5 January 2012, Haroun Abu Arra was arrested by the PA immediately upon his arrival back to the West Bank after seeking political asylum and undergoing a 2-week hunger strike in Norway. Haroun was charged with “insulting high personalities” and the court announced that he would be held for 15 days’ interrogation. Haroun’s lawyer appealed for his release, and he was eventually released on 16 January. Activists working on his case hold the Norwegian authorities responsible for not granting him asylum.
Arrest of protestor
Saif Al-Idrissi, 22, was arrested on 14 January 2012 by Palestinian security forces while participating in a nonviolent demonstration denouncing the Palestinian participation in negotiations with Israel in Amman. Violating the protestors’ right to peaceful assembly and freedom of speech, security forces dispersed the protest. While chasing down protestors, they grabbed Saif, who was repeatedly beaten and then thrown into a security vehicle. On the way to a security base in Ramallah, several members of the security forces continued to beat him. He was held for two hours before being released.