Date of birth: 3 September 1980
Place of residence: Deir Sweidan, Ramallah
Occupation: Skilled tradesman
Date of arrest: 7 November 2007
Place of detention: Ofer prison
Postal address: Ofer Prison, Section 8, Givat Zeev , P.O. Box 3007, via Israel
File #: 3651/07
ARREST AND ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION
Number of order renewals: Six
Expected end of seventh administrative detention order: 31 October 2009
Date of release: 29 October 2009
Israeli soldiers arrested Ismat from his family home in the early hours of the morning on 7 November 2007. The soldiers ordered his family members to crowd into one room while they proceeded to conduct a search of the house. After an hour, they left the house, taking a blindfolded and shackled Ismat with them. A few days later, Ismat was informed that his detention would be one without charge or trial: a six-month administrative detention order had been issued against him after an Israeli military judge deemed Ismat “dangerous for the security of the region”. Addameer attorneys filed an appeal on 26 November 2007 in an attempt to challenge the military judge’s decision. The appeal was denied and Ismat was detained for the entirety of his original detention order, which ended 6 May 2008. However, instead of being released at that point, Ismat’s administrative detention order was renewed again and again, a total of six times. Although a military judge held on 4 May 2009 that Ismat should be released, this order was overruled following the prosecution’s successful appeal to the Military Court of Appeals. For nearly two years, the Military Court of Appeals has consistently rejected Addameer’s appeals against Ismat’s ongoing administrative detention.
TIMELINE OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETAINEE:
A REVOLVING DOOR OF JUDICIAL REVIEWS AND APPEALS
7 November 2007 Ismat is arrested from his home in the early morning hours.
10 November 2007 The first administrative detention order is issued against Ismat for six months based on materials included in a “secret file”. The “secret information” is never revealed to Ismat or his attorney. On 26 November 2007, Addameer attorneys file an appeal challenging the detention order. Four days later, the appeal is denied.
30 April 2008 The second administrative detention order against Ismat is issued for a period of three months. The order is confirmed on 5 May 2008, and an Addameer appeal against it is denied on 18 June 2008. Ismat remains in prison.
3 August 2008
The third administrative detention order against Ismat is issued for another three months. Confirmed by a military judge eight days later, Addameer again appeals Ismat’s detention. The appeal is denied on 24 August 2008 and Ismat remains in prison, with only one family visit a month.
19 October 2008 Ismat receives his fourth administrative detention order. On 5 November 2008, the military judge confirms the three-month order. Six days later, Addameer’s appeal against the order is denied. The Addameer lawyer was not present at the Military Appeals Court in Ofer because of the Palestinian boycott of the Israeli military courts in protest of the illegal Israeli aggression in Gaza.
25 January 2009 The fifth administrative detention order against Ismat is issued for a four month period ending 3 May 2009. The judge confirms the order for the given period on 4 February 2009. However, the judge also instructs that Ismat’s administrative detention should not be renewed again if no new intelligence material is presented.
22 February 2009 The military prosecution files an appeal challenging the judge’s decision not to renew Ismat’s administrative detention. The appeal hearing is held on 10 March 2009 at the Military Court of Appeals in Ofer, and the prosecution’s appeal is upheld.
20 April 2009 Ismat receives his sixth administrative detention order, for a three month period from 2 May 2009 until 1 August 2009. On 4 May 2009, judicial review of the order takes place in Ofer. The military judge decides to cancel Ismat’s detention order and rules that Ismat should be released. He justifies his decision by noting that Ismat has already spent a long time in administrative detention, a total of one and a half years. The military prosecution requests 72 hours to file an appeal, and the judge decides to delay his decision until 5:00 p.m. on 7 May 2009.
6 May 2009 The military prosecution files its appeal against the judge’s decision to cancel Ismat’s administrative detention order and release him. The date of the appeal hearing is set for 24 May 2009 in Ketziot prison (Negev). Ismat remains in prison pending the hearing. On 24 May, the hearing is postponed until 9 June 2009, and Ismat is again remanded pending the hearing. On 9 June 2009, the appeal hearing takes place, but no decision is taken.
22 June 2009 Addameer is informed that the prosecution’s appeal was upheld, and Ismat’s sixth administrative detention order is confirmed as drafted. Eight days later, Addameer attorney Sahar Francis files a petition to the Israeli Court of Justice appealing Ismat’s sixth administrative detention order.
20 July 2009 The Israeli High Court of Justice hearing regarding Ismat’s petition is cancelled in agreement with military prosecution, which offers Ismat an additional three months of administrative detention with the guarantee that the order will not be renewed. Francis rejects the deal on Ismat’s behalf and demands his release before the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan. The military prosecution refuses the offer leaving the end of the administrative detention period as is.
23 July 2009 Ismat receives his seventh administrative detention order, for a period of three months, from 1 August to 31 October 2009. The order is confirmed on 5 August 2009. Ismat remains, in prison without charge or trial.
29 October 2009 Ismat is finally released from prison, after having been held almost two years in administrative detention.
Currently held in Ofer prison, Ismat is forced to live in a tent that also accommodates 21 other detainees. Despite international law standards and Israeli Prison Service (IPS) regulations requiring that administrative detainees not be held with sentenced prisoners, Ismat remains with the general prison population and is held in the exact same conditions.
During the day, especially in the summer, the tent is very hot as it is only ventilated by two fans. In the evening, the tent gets very dark as only four lamps light the entire area. In the 20 months that Ismat has been detained without charge or trial, his family was allowed to bring him a parcel with clothes only once and still the prison administration placed restrictions on what was permitted: only underwear and one pair of pants. As Ofer prison consistently prevents families from bringing detainees shoes, Ismat is forced to buy them in the prison canteen, at double the price of what they would cost in Ramallah. On rare occasions, the prison administration provides clothes to prisoners, but as Ismat says, they are never the right size. Even though IPS regulations stipulate that administrative detainees should receive food of “an identical quality to that of the jailers”, Ismat tells his lawyer that the meals they receive are small and often not even edible. Prisoners end up having to re-cook the meals themselves with additional ingredients bought from the canteen. All hygiene products – soap, shampoo, toothpaste and most of their cleaning products are also bought from the canteen at the prisoners’ own expense. Ismat and the other detainees he lives with clean the bathroom and their rooms themselves. As Ofer prison does not have a library, prisoners have to rely on books they receive from the ICRC. They spend their time playing ping pong and exercising outside, as they are allowed to stay out of their tents until midnight.
However, since the March 2009 collapse of prisoner-exchange talks between Israel and Hamas, the Israeli authorities have implemented a series of punitive measures in an attempt to degrade Hamas prisoners’ detention conditions. These measures, amounting to unlawful collective punishment measures, have affected all other detainees in Israeli facilities as well, including those detained administratively. For example, handicrafts activities, which used to occupy much of the day, are now forbidden. The Al-Jazeera TV Channel, the preferred news channel for most Palestinians has also been banned, and the detainees’ daily subscriptions to Israeli newspapers have been cancelled.
Two months before his arrest in November 2007, Ismat became engaged and started preparing for his wedding. As a qualified tradesman with a diploma in construction, he was working as a skilled plumber and electrician, though his trade suffered from travel restrictions imposed by the checkpoints in the West Bank. Ismat had finished building his own house and was preparing for his fiancée to move in with him after the official wedding reception.
Now detained in Ofer prison, Ismat usually receives family visits just once a month. Only his elderly parents are allowed to visit him, as his fiancée and siblings have continuously been denied permits to do so. In the nearly two years since his arrest, he has been denied these rare visits three times as a means of individual and collective punishment. Once, when he was individually punished, his parents were not even informed and arrived at the door of the prison only to be misinformed that he had been transferred to a different facility. It did not seem to matter to the prison authorities that Ismat’s parents had to wake up at 6 a.m. to make it to prison on time. The other two times, all prisoners held at Ofer were collectively denied visits. Ismat’s fiancée has been continuously denied permits to visit him in prison. As per the justification provided to her by the Israeli authorities through the ICRC, there is no familial link between her and Ismat despite the existence of a marriage contract. The fiancée believes this justification is merely a pretext in order to further isolate Ismat in prison. Ismat’s brother As’ad and sister Halima are prevented from family visits based on “security grounds”.
Here is how you can help Ismat Hassan:
- Send Ismat letters of support to his postal address in prison
- Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that Ismat be released immediately and that his administrative detention not be renewed.
- Write to your own elected representatives urging them to pressure Israel to release Ismat and to put an end to such an unjust, arbitrary and cruel system of incarceration without trial.