Name: Thaer Mohammad Aziz Halahleh
Date of Birth: 19 March 1979
Place of residence: Kharas, Hebron
Marital status: Married with one daughter
Date of arrest: 10 April 2013
Place of detention: Ofer Prison
UPDATE 13 June 2013 - After his most recent arrest on 10 April 2013, his 8th such arrest, Thaer was informed by a doctor in Ofer Prison that he had contracted Hepatitis C. During a dental operation in Askalan Prison, non-sterile tools were used, and it is believed that this instance of medical malpractice is what has led to this diagnosis.
Thaer Halahleh was arrested on 26 June 2010 when Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) raided his home in Kharas village, near Hebron. Approximately 50 Israeli soldiers arrived to Thaer’s house at 12:30 am. They knocked on the door, but before giving the family enough time to open it, they broke down the door and went inside. The soldiers then made all the women and children step outside the house and searched the house with two dogs. After about 40 minutes, the IOF told Thaer’s father that they had an order to arrest his son. When his father asked for the reason, the officer only told him that Thaer was a “threat to the public”. This vague phrase is frequently used by the Israeli security service when putting a Palestinian in administrative detention. Thaer was subsequently transferred to Etzion detention center.
ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION AND HUNGER STRIKE
Thaer was issued an administrative detention order on 5 July 2010. As with all other administrative detainees, Thaer’s detention is based on secret information collected by Israeli authorities and available to the military judge but not to Thaer or his lawyer. This practice violates international humanitarian law, which permits some limited use of administrative detention in emergency situations, but requires that the authorities follow basic rules for detention, including a fair hearing at which the detainee can challenge the reasons for his or her detention. These minimum rules of due process have been clearly violated in Thaer’s case, leaving him without any legitimate means to defend himself.
Thaer’s administrative detention order has been continuously renewed since his arrest every three months, with the most recent extension occurring in January, for six months. Thaer began an open hunger strike in protest of his administrative detention on 28 February. When he started his hunger strike, he was in Al-Naqab prison. On 21 March, he was transferred with another hunger striking prisoner, Bilal Diab, to Ramleh prison medical center. They are both currently being held in isolated cells, in the same section as prisoners with criminal offenses.
Addameer lawyers have been denied access to Bilal and Thaer since they were transferred to Ramleh prison hospital. Following repeated requests to the Israeli Prison Service and an urgent appeal submitted to the District Court on 1 April demanding access, a Physicians for Human Rights-Israel independent doctor visited Thaer and Bilal on 9 April. The doctor noted that Thaer’s condition would soon deteriorate rapidly.
Along with Bilal, Thaer had a hearing in the appeal of his administrative detention order on 4 April. At the time, the decision on his appeal was postponed repeatedly for two weeks. On 18 April, the Israeli military judge announced this his final decision would come on 22 April. Thaer and Bilal’s appeals were eventually rejected by an Israeli military judge on 23 April, despite their fragile medical condition.
Thaer has been consistently targeted for arrest and administrative detention by Israeli authorities. He has been arrested eight times and spent six and a half years in administrative detention total. He was first held in administrative detention in 2000. After many other arrests, he was arrested again in 2008 and spent one year in administrative detention, only to be re-arrested the following year and placed back in administrative detention.
Thaer and his wife, Shireen, have a one-year-old daughter, who was born while he was in prison. His wife was seven months pregnant when he was arrested. His daughter, Lamar, has only seen her father in visits to prison, and has been forced to get to know him through photographs.
Thaer’s mother, wife and daughter are the only family members who have previously had permission to visit him. His father and five brothers have never received permission. Since the beginning of his hunger strike, he has received one visit from his mother, wife and daughter and was then subsequently denied all family visits.
Thaer’s father and brothers have all also been arrested. His brother Shaher was arrested in 2002 and is currently in Rimon prison, serving a 17-year sentence.
Thaer’s family is subjected to consistent harassment by the IOF, even upon his release on 5 June 2012. The IOF attempted to arrest Thaer’s wife and held her for a total of ten hours in one day at Allenby Bridge and a checkpoint in the West Bank. Ten days prior to Thaer’s arrest on the 16th of November, 2012, soldiers and secret service were constantly surrounding the family’s home, and hit his elderly father with an M16 in his back during a raid.
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 see:
Read Addameer’s report on administrative detention:
Administrative Detention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: A Legal Analysis Report, updated July 2010.
Here is how you can help Thaer Halahleh:
*Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that Thaer Halahleh be released immediately and his administrative detention order not be renewed.
- Brigadier General Danny Efroni
Military Judge Advocate General
6 David Elazar Street
Harkiya, Tel Aviv
Fax: +972 3 608 0366; +972 3 569 4526
Email: [email protected]; [email protected]
- Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon
OC Central Command Nehemia Base, Central Command
Neveh Yaacov, Jerusalam
Fax: +972 2 530 5741
- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak
Ministry of Defense
37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
Fax: +972 3 691 6940 / 696 2757
- Col. Eli Bar On
Legal Advisor of Judea and Samaria PO Box 5
Beth El 90631
Fax: +972 2 9977326
*Write to your own elected representatives urging them to pressure Israel to release Thaer Halahleh and to put an end to such an unjust, arbitrary and cruel system of incarceration without trial.