Date of Birth: 14 January 1990
Place of Residence: Amari Refugee Camp, originally from Al Lid in 1948
Occupation: Football player in Al Khader Sports Club - Bethlehem, formerly on the Palestinian National Team
Marital Status: Married and a father of a 1 year old child named Adam
Education: Diploma in industrial practice from Qalandia Industrial Training Center
Date of Arrest: 18 February 2012
Place of Detention: Ramon Prison
UPDATE Mohammad Nimer was released on 20 March 2013 after completing a 14-month sentence.
At 2:00 AM on 18 February 2012, approximately 70 Israeli soldiers converged on Mohammad’s house, searching the entire premises. Mohammad was then arrested along with a group of young men from the camp, including Omar Abu Roweis, a goalkeeper in the Palestinian Olympic Team.
Mohammad was then transferred to Al Moskobiyeh Interrogation Center, where he was kept for over 30 days. After interrogation, he was transferred to Ofer prison, where he was subsequently presented with a list of charges. The court proceedings continued for several months. Finally, he was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment and a fine of 10,000 NIS, in addition to a sentence of 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 3 years.
After the sentence, Mohammad was transferred to Ramon Prison, where he remains to this day.
Mohammad was previously arrested by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on 17 September 2007, and was detained until 12 April 2009. He was arrested at the Container Checkpoint near Bethlehem while on his way to participate in a football game along with his team. At that time, he was playing with Al Khader Sports Club in Bethlehem.
Mohammad was later charged and sentenced to 20 months imprisonment. During his sentence, he was transferred to a number of prisons, including HaSharon and Ofer. He was 17 years old at the time.
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Mohammad is Player Number 24
Mohammad joined Al Ama’ri Youth Center when he was 9 years old in 1999. In 2003, he was chosen to play professionally for the Palestinian National Team. A star amongst the team’s young players, he participated in international games and received many awards. He has played in Qatar, Iran, and Norway, where he received the Best Player Award.
Unfortunately, 21 months in prison without exercise negatively affected Mohammad’s health. Because his imprisonment prevented him from training, his skill and experience levels fell below par, and he had to leave the Palestinian National Team after his release. Nevertheless, he continued to play with Al Ama’ri Youth Center until the end of his contract. Afterwards, he played for a number of local teams, including Al Atari team. He also continued to play for Al Khader team, where he had previously earned the nickname “the striker.”
During his imprisonment, Mohammad continued to be an integral part of his team. Despite the fact that his access to media inside prison was limited, Mohammad celebrated each of the team’s wins, and pasted newspaper clippings with news of the team on his cell wall.
LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL CONDEMNATION OF FOOTBALL PLAYERS’ ARREST
The arrest of Mohammad and Omar Abu Roweis was met with condemnation and disapproval from Palestinian society and many political and human rights organizations, as well as international organizations. These arrests were perceived as a direct attack on Palestinian sports.
It is worth mentioning that this was not the first time that the IOF arrested Palestinian athletes. The IOF had previously arrested martyr Zakariya Issa, who died four months after his release in 2012, as well as Mahmoud Sarsak, who was released after a 96-day hunger strike.
Mohammad’s family is very supportive of his ambitions as an athlete and has encouraged him to continue playing sports. His brother is a member of the Palestinian fencing team and participated in championships in Egypt, Qatar and Syria. He also participated in training camps in Holland and Greece, and played with a fencing team in Greece between 2004 and 2010.
Mohammad’s son is a few months old. His family was only able to visit him twice since his arrest because it is difficult for them to obtain permits to enter the 1948 Territories, where he is currently being held. This is in direct contravention of international law, specifically the Geneva Convention IV, which clearly forbids the occupying power from transferring political prisoners from the occupied territory.