This Quarterly Update covers the period from 15 January 2012 to 30 August 2012. It provides the most up-to-date statistics on prisoners and arrests and an overview of the important trends in these quarters. In addition, it gives background on individual prisoner cases and summarizes the most relevant legal, UN and EU news, as well as Addameer‘s activities over the reporting period.
To read the Quarterly Update in pdf format, please click here.
CURRENT ARREST AND DETENTION STATISTICS*
4743 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli detention, including:
178 administrative detainees, including 7 PLC members
10 women, including 1 under the age of 18
193 child prisoners, including 21 under the age of 16
12 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council
72 prisoners who have been imprisoned for more than 20 years
191 Palestinians from the 1948 Territories
437 prisoners from the Gaza Strip
167 prisoners from East Jerusalem
*Detention and arrest statistics are current as of 1 January 2013. Detention statistics are based on reports from the Israeli Prison Service and Addameer.
PRISONER NEWS & ADVOCACY UPDATE
During this quarter, not one day passed without a least one prisoner on an individual hunger strike. Two administrative detainees, Samer Al Barq and Hassan Safadi started an open hunger strike when the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) reneged on their agreement not to renew their administrative detention orders. The hunger strikes escalated when Ayman Sharawna and Samer Issawi started to protest their arbitrary detention after their release in the prisoner exchange deal on 18 October 2011.
Tarek Qa’adan, Jafar Azzidine and Yousef Yassin were arrested this quarter on 28 November 2012, during the latest attacks on the Gaza Strip. The three of them announced hunger strikes immediately after being given administrative detention orders. As of publication, they are still on hunger strike and only drink water without vitamins and minerals.
Also during this period, the human rights defender Mohammad Asad Kananeh was on hunger strike for fifteen days between 24 October 2012 until 7 November 2012 to protest the fact that he was placed in a prison section for criminal offenders instead of the section for political activists.
Administrative Detainees Go On Hunger Strike
Several administrative detainees began open hunger strikes in protest of the renewal of their administrative detention, despite the prison administration pledging not to renew any orders after 14 May 2012. This agreement was one of the main outcomes of the mass hunger strike from 17 April to 14 May 2012 in which the IOF stated that adminsitrative detention would only be used in exceptional circumstances and that any current administrative detainees, especially those who were part of the hunger strikes, would not have their administrative detention renewed.
Administrative detainee Samer Al-Barq goes on hunger strike for the third time
Samer Al Barq went on hunger strike three times in 2012, most recently between 14 and 18 October, in refusal of the renewal of his administrative detention order. He is still held in captivity and is expected to be exiled out of Palestine, which raises complications as he does not hold a Palestinian ID, and therefore no country has been able to accept him.
Administrative detainee Hasan Safadi ends his hunger strike and is released
Hasan Safadi went on hunger strike twice during 2012 following his arrest on 29 June 2011. His first hunger strike between 5 March and 14 May 2012 lasted for 71 days. His second hunger strike lasted for 93 days because the prison administration refused to honor the 14 May agreement between the prison administration and the hunger strikers. Hasan Safadi ended his second hunger strike on 21 September 2012 after he guaranteed from the court and intelligence that the will be released on 29 October 2012. Hasan was released on 29 October 2012.
Administrative detainee Oday Zeid Keilani
The IOF arrested Oday Keilani on 3 April 2012 and gave him a six month administrative detention order. He started his hunger strike on 2 October 2012 upon the renewal of his administrative detention order for an addition four months. On 4 December 2012, he ended his hunger strike upon an agreement with the prison administration that his current administrative detention will not be renewed. According to this agreement, Oday Keilani will be freed on 2 February 2013, after ten months in administrative detention.
Detainees Begin Hunger Strikes After the Aggression on Gaza
During the aggression on the Gaza Strip on 14 November in 2012, the IOF proceeded to arrest and detain tens of Palestinians from different villages, towns and refugee camps in the occupied West Bank. From these arrests are a number of freed prisoners that participated in hunger strikes in the last two years.
In Jenin on the night of 22 November, the IOF arrested Jafar Azzidine, Tarek Qaadan, Yousef Yassin who all began hunger strikes on 28 November 2012 upon receiving administrative detention orders. They are calling for the dismantlement of the arbitrary administrative detention policy.
(41 years old, Arraba, Jenin) - Jafar was arrested on 22 November 2012, and started his hunger strike on 28 November 2012 in protest of his administrative detention order of four months.
The IOF has arrested Jafar Azzidine seven times, his most recent arrest before this one being on 21 March 2012. Jafar immediately started a hunger strike upon his arrest until the end of the general Palestinian hunger strikes ended on 14 May 2012. His hunger strike lasted 58 days. Jafar was released on 19 June 2012 after four months of administrative detention before he was re-arrested on 22 November 2012.
Due to his current hunger strike, Jafar suffers from a significant decrease in blood pressure, constant dizziness, chronic headaches, pain in his joints and knee caps and a decrease in protein, especially in the spinal cord.
(40 years old, Arraba, Jenin) – Tarek was arrested on 22 November 2012 and began his hunger strike on 28 November 2012 in
protest of his administrative detention order for three months. The IOF has arrested Tarek Qa’adan thirteen times since 1989, and was given administrative detention nearly every arrest. In his last arrest, he served fifteen months in administrative detention before being released on 8 July 2012. Tarek has participated in both individual and group hunger strikes, such as those in solidarity with Khader Adnan and Hana Al Shalabi, as well the mass hunger strike between 17 April and 14 May 2012, in which he was on strike for 62 days.
Yousef Sha’ban Yassin (29 years old, Aneen, Jenin) – Yousef was arrested on 22 November 2012 and started his hunger strike on 28 November 2012 in protest of his administrative detention order of three months. Yousef has been arrested three times, most recently on 18 February 2010, in which he was given an eight month sentence. Today he continues an open and total hunger strike as of 28 November, and only drinks a water and salt mixture. Yousef has been arrested three times, the latest being 18 February 2010, in which he served an eight month sentence. Today he continues on his open hunger strike since 28 November 2012 to protest his current administrative detention order. He does not take anything except water and salt.
For Tarek, Jafar and Yousef, it should be noted that the prison administrative did not transfer the prisoners from Megiddo prison to the Ramleh Prison Clinic until after their health seriously deteriorated and into their third week of striking. Addameer, international human rights associations, as well as medical associations and doctors around the world are increasingly concerned for the lives of the prisoners on hunger strike, and demand that they must be released immediately.
Prisoners re-arrested after the 2011 Prisoner Exchange Deal Continue on their Hunger Strikes
Ayman Sharawna continues his hunger strike
As per our previous quarterly report published on 15 September 2012, detainee Ayman Sharawna started his hunger strike on 1 July 2012 for 45 days in demand of his release after the IOF arrested him on 31 January 2012. Ayman was released in
the prisoner exchange deal in 18 October 2012 after serving ten years of a 38 year sentence.
The IOF re-arrested Ayman, claiming that he breached the terms of his contract after the deal, and which therefore allows for his re-arrest. The military prosecution is requesting that he finish his previous sentence of 28 years.
Ayman suspended his hunger strike on 23 December 2012 because of a promise of a court hearing on 22 January 2013. However, the prison administration cheated Ayman during these negotiations, as the 22 January was an official holiday due to the Israeli Knesset elections. Therefore, Ayman re-entered his hunger strike on 1 January 2013 upon learning this information from his lawyer. He then suspended his hunger strike for a second time, and is awaiting the outcome of the meetings between the Minister of Detainee and Ex-Detainees Affairs and the Occupation’s intelligence. The Egyptian leaders who were instrumental in the 18 October 2011 prisoner exchange deal have confirmed that the contracts signed
after the prisoners exchange does not allow for the re-arrest of freed prisoners from the exchange.
Samer Tareq Issawi continues his hunger strike: “I will not wait for another Shalit to re-gain my freedom, under a deal that does not respect the rules of the deal, I will achieve my freedom with a hunger strike”
The IOF re-arrested Samer Issawi on 7 July 2012 on Jaba’ checkpoint that cuts between Ramallah and the Dead Sea and leads to Jerusalem from Hizma checkpoint. Samer was the first Jerusalem prisoner who was re-arrested on the pretense that he defied the contract of the prisoner exchange deal.
Samer announced his hunger strike on 1 August 2012, in rejection of his re-arrest and the military prosecutions attempts to have him finish his previous sentence of twenty years based on secret administrative information.
He considers his hunger strike to be the only weapon to gain his freedom that was robbed from him after the Occupation did not uphold its end of the prisoner exchange deal.
Nahshon Special Units Attack Samer and his Family in Court
The magistrate court in Jerusalem on 18 December 2012 held a session to consider Samer’s case. Samer, whose health was deteriorating rapidly from his hunger strike, was wheelchair bound and escorted into the court by Nahshon personnel. According to lawyer Anan Odeh: On 18 December 2012, there was a court session for hunger striker Samer Issawi. Around 11 am, Samer entered the court room and tried to greet his mother and sister, and was brutally attacked by Nahshon Unit members who beat him all over his body especially on his neck, chest and stomach. The beating was so brutal so that he would not be able to communicate with his mother or sister. Furthermore, the judge presiding over the hearing left the court room to allow the Nahshon forces to keep attacking Samer.
Anan adds that Samer’s mother was distraught from witnessing her son being attacked, and then her and her daughter were banned from attending the session. As a result of the attack, Anan requested that Samer should be transferred to the hospital immediately to receive treatment but the judge refused and insisted on continuing the court session.
After the court hearing, Samer tried to speak with the press to tell them about attack, but the Nahshon escorts carried him from the wheelchair and into the elevator to keep him from communicating with the press. Outside the courtroom, some of Samer’s family members were attacked as well including his cousin who was detained for a few hours.
At noon that same day, a large convoy of IOF soldier raided the Issawiyah village in Jerusalem, surrounded the Issawi family home and arrested and detained his sister Shirien under the accusation of attacking one of the Nahshon Unit members. She was released 24 hours later on a 3,000 shekel bail, ten day house arrest and a six month ban from visiting Samer.
Samer is still on hunger strike since 1 August 2012, and his health is deteriorating rapidly.
Mohammad Assad Kananeh put in criminal prisoners section in Shatta Prison
Mohammad Kananeh went on hunger strike from 24 October 2012 until 7 November 2012 to protest his detention in the criminal prisoners section and his very harsh living conditions. The demands of his hunger strike were to be transferred to a political prisoners section and to improve his living
conditions. Mohammad ended his hunger strike after 14 days when the administrative granted him his demands.
Over 200 arrests in the West Bank during the latest attacks on Gaza
On 14 November 2012, Israel broke the ceasefire with Gaza when Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) assassinated a key Hamas leader, Ahmad Jabari. Over the next seven days, the IOF aerially attacked the Gaza Strip, killing 162 Palestinian and injuring thousands.
Protests and demonstrations erupted across the West Bank as an act of solidarity with Gaza and were confronted with IOF aggression, including tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. During this period, the IOF embarked on daily arrest campaigns and detained over 200 Palestinians, including dozens of children. On 22 November alone, shortly after a ceasefire was announced, 55 were arrested in widespread night raids, including six Palestinian Legislative Council members from the “Change and Reform Party.”
Addameer followed several cases during the attacks, including a group of young women who protested at the illegal settlement of Beit El near Ramallah, three young males who were arrested at Atara checkpoint in Bir Zeit and several children under 16 in Silwan, Jerusalem. Former prisoners, hunger strikers, human rights activists and a professor at Najah University in Nablus were also arrested, three of which entered an open hunger strike shortly after their arrest and subsequent administrative detention orders. Jafar Azzidine, Tarek Qa’adan and Yousef Yassin have been on hunger strike for 61 Days as of 27 January 2013 in protest of arbitrary arrest and administrative detention.
The attacks on Gaza illustrated the continued policy of arbitrary detention in the West Bank, as well as the suppression of solidarity among Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank in order to fractionalize the Palestinian population.
Detention of Palestinian Legislative Council Members
There are twelve PLC members currently detained; five under administrative detention, four in trial, and three who have been sentenced. Nayef Rojoub’s administrative detention order was renewed on 28 November. At the end of December 2012, Mohammad Jamal Natsheh was released from administrative detention.
On 23 and 24 November, six members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) were arrested on suspicion of their membership with the Hamas-affiliated ‘Change and Reform’ Party.
· On 23 November 2012, Mahmoud Al Ramahi, the secretary of the PLC, was arrested and immediately transferred to Ofer Prison, in which he was given a six-month administrative detention order. This is the third time he has been arrested since the ‘Change and Reform’ Party won the majority of seats in the PLC in 2006. He was convicted and detained for 32 months in 2006 for membership in the ‘Change and Reform’ party; and served a further 19 months in administrative detention in 2010.
· Basem Al Zai’reer is a deputy for the Hebron region in the PLC, and was given a six month administrative detention order. This is the second time he has been arrested; he was first arrested during the 2008/2009 Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, when he served 12 months under administrative detention.
· Riyad Radad is a deputy for the Tulkarem region in the PLC. This is the second time he has been arrested: he was convicted for 40 months in 2006 for his membership of the Change and Reform Party. He was released on 3 December 2012 without charge.
· Fathi Qarawiis, a deputy for the Tulkarem region, is now detained in the Megiddo prison. He was given a 3 month administrative detention order.
· Yaser Mansour, a deputy for the Nablus region, was arrested on 24 November 2012 and given a six month administrative detention order. This is the second time he has been arrested; he served 40 months in 2006 for his political affiliation.
· Emad Nofal, a deputy for the Qalqulia region, is detained at Megiddo prison. Again, this is the second time he has been arrested; he served 40 months in 2006 for his political affiliation. Emad was first given a six month administrative detention order, but now is being accused of charges
revolving around attending a demonstration calling for unity between Hamas and Fatah.
Israel has a history of punishing the membership of the PLC in an attempt to subdue the Palestinian population during moments of tension in the OPT. Between 14 and 22 November 2012, during the recent Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, over 200 Palestinians in the West Bank were arrested. On 23 November 2012, only one day after the ceasefire was announced, the PLC members were detained. The timeliness of these arrests in relation to the attack on the Gaza Strip is indicative of Israel’s continued efforts to undermine the legislative process in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. Similarly fourty PLC members were arrested for their political affiliation shortly in 2006 shortly after the PLC elections.
On 11 January 2013, hundreds of Palestinian activists erected a new village named Bab Al Shams, on the lands of Za’yem near Jerusalem. The land is located in an area referred to as the “E1 corridor,” which Israel had made plans to build a settlement on, effectively splitting the West Bank in half. The concept behind this popular resistance tactic is to reclaim the Palestinians land in protest of the expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank.
In the early hours of 13 January 2013, merely two days after the village was erected, the IOF violently raided the village in the middle of the night, attacking the residents with batons and the butts of their guns, and arresting 130 people. The residents were released later in the night, but the village was effectively destroyed and ransacked. On 15 January 2013, about fifty activists returned to reinstate Bab Al Shams, but were met with military force who again attacked and arrested them. Nineteen of these activists are still detained as of publication; and are charged with “trespassing in a military zone” and “attacking the police.” One of the arrested, Isam Bakir, is a human rights defender who works at the Palestinian NGO Network.
Violations by Special Services
Psychological and Physical Torture: The Case of O.J.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the use of psychological abuse against Palestinian prisoners. O.J., a 22 year old from Beit Anan near Jerusalem, reported to Addameer his interrogation experience in Al Moscobiyeh during his first arrest. O.J. endured interrogation sessions that lasted over eighteen hours, and was denied a lawyer for the first twenty days of his 45 day interrogation. In addition to chaining him to the chair for the duration of the questioning, the interrogator constantly used psychological tactics, such as threatening to rape him or hurt him, as well as cursing at Allah and threatening to bring his mother into interrogation. The interrogators hung a photo of his mother and fiancé in the room and threatened to sexually harass them if they did not confess or give them information. O.J was also placed in a cell in Megiddo with collaborators that tried to weed information out of him. When he was transferred to another cell in Megiddo, he was attacked by the guard and kicked in the stomach because he asked for a new mattress.
In between interrogations, he was held in a cell that was three meters wide and three meters long with a bright fluorescent light beaming at all hours, causing extreme sleep deprivation. The walls of the cells were made of a certain cement that was painful to the touch, making him unable to lean on any surfaces in the cell. The bathroom in the cell was open in view to the rest of the cells, giving O.J no privacy at all. O.J endured this interrogation for 45 days before being transferred to Ofer Military Prison. This was his first arrest, and he is now in Ofer awaiting sentencing.
O.J.’s testimony highlights the use of both physical and psychological torture on prisoners. In Israeli law, the use of torture is only permitted in extreme cases, when the detainee is considered a “threat to the state” or a “ticking bomb,” as defined by the Israeli Security Agency. While this criteria is undoubtedly applied liberally to Palestinian prisoners, Addameer can conclude from several documented cases, including O.J.’s, that torture is systematically used as a method of coercion, even on young detainees and those who do not pose an immediate security threat.
Update on isolation
As a form of punishment, the IPS holds prisoners in long-term solitary confinement or isolation. Resulting from the demands of the mass hunger strike in April 2012, all but one prisoner were taken out of long-term isolation, although since the agreement, one prisoner has received a new isolation order. There are currently two Palestinian prisoners, Dirar Abu Sisi and Awad Al-Saidy, held in isolation for reasons of state or prison security.
In February 2011, while visiting his wife’s hometown in Ukraine, Dirar Abu Sisi was kidnapped by Mossad, and has since been held in isolation. On 1 November 2012, his isolation order was renewed for another six months. Dirar, an engineer from Gaza, was the only prisoner not removed from isolation after the hunger strikes, and is still awaiting sentencing in Hadarim Prison.
Awad Al-Saidy, also from Gaza, was arrested on 12 February 2004, and has been held in isolation since 5 April 2012. He was put in isolation on 5 April 2012, as punishment during the ongoing hunger strikes at the time. He is serving a fifteen year sentence in Rimon Prison.
Night Raids and Attacks on Prisoners Continue
Addameer documented ten raids on prison cells in the last quarter. Two Israeli special units called Natshon and Metseda, often raid the prison cells in the middle of the night, using the excuse of searching for contraband, and use the opportunity to attack the prisoners and confiscate their property.
· In September 2012, two sections in Askalan Prison were raided by twenty heavily armed soldiers. The raid lasted for six hours, during which the prisoners spent the entire time shackled. Two prisoners, Mahmoud Abu Hawwa and Yacoub Al Haj were punished with solitary confinement.
· On 12 October 2012, one section in Shatta Prison was raided, and twenty prisoners were beaten with the butts of rifles and three put in solitary confinement. The IPS threatened to impose more punishments and monetary fines on the prisoners because one IOF soldier was injured during the raid.
· On 26 December 2012, a freed prisoner reported to Addameer that Huwwara Detention Center was raided nearly every night during the length of his detention. During the surprise raids, the detainees would be taken into the prison yard despite the freezing temperatures and stood against a wall with their hands up for the entirety of the raid. The cells would be ransacked, possessions and beds broken and items confiscated. Strip searches were also conducted nightly, and prisoners with health or medical problems would be taunted.
· On 27 December 2012, the special units attacked sections of the Nafha Prison, including badly beating detainee Hamzeh Taqtouq and placing him in solitary confinement.
· On 5 January 2013, a prison in the Negev was raided in the middle of the night. The detainees were forced to stand outside in the prison yard while the IPS raided the rooms and destroyed and confiscated property.
SPOTLIGHT: Qaryout – A Quarter Century of Settlement Expansion and Palestinian Detention
Qaryout is a village south of Nablus that has had more than one thousand acres confiscated by the illegal settlements of Eli, Shuvut Rahel and Shilo. For more than 25 years, the village has been under frequent attacks by settlers and the Israeli army. In addition to confiscation of land, the settlers physically attack members of the community, systematically burn down olive trees and leak sewage into the village to destroy agricultural land, which the residents depend on for their livelihood. There have been several instances of settlers murdering Palestinians in cold-blood, for example Ahmad Allan, a young shepherd who was killed after one of his sheep accidentally wandered into the settlement. The army supports the settlers actions in many ways, such as in the case of 12 year old Awad Asmar, who was assaulted by soldiers when he was playing football near the military patrol and was brutally attacked by soldiers.
In addition to settler violence and constant harassment, the residents of Qaryout have been subjected to nearly nightly raids and arrests. The army enters the village in large numbers, either on foot or in jeeps and systematically invades homes in raids that are often over two hours long, in which the entire family is forced to stand outside guarded by armed soldiers. On 17 December 2012, the Muammar family home was raided at 4:30 am, in which the entire family was expelled to the roof as the IOF scoured the home for over one hour before arresting Ghanem, 20 years old. Meanwhile, the home of the Muammar family’s neighbor, Mohammad Badawi was also raided, in which the family was forced outside and the men were made to line-up against a wall during the search and arrest. According to Adham Sabbah, who was violently attacked during one of the raids, the army attacks the village so frequently due to the three settlements surrounding the village and to try to encourage the residents to flee.
Currently there are eleven residents of Qaryout in detention, including two children under age 18.
STOP ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION CAMPAIGN
As of January 2013, there were 178 Palestinian administrative detainees including 5 PLC members. During the attacks on Gaza, twenty of those who were arrested were given administrative detention orders that ranged from one to six months, including three who are currently on hunger strike: Tarek Qa’adan, Jafar Azzidine and Yousef Yassin.
With the resurgence of arbitrary arrest and administrative detention, it is imperative to draw attention to this issue on an international level. On 17 April 2013, Addameer encourages you to join our global campaign to call for the end of administrative detention. For more information about the campaign and how you or your organization can get involved, please contact our advocacy team at: [email protected]
As of January 2013, there were 193 Palestinian children under the age of 18 in Israeli detention, including 23 under the age of 16. There have been several cases of children being arbitrarily detained, including two sisters from Bethlehem, ages 14 and 16, who were arrested at a checkpoint and held at Al Moscobiyeh, where they were subjected to interrogation.
Azzoun – 85% of Arrests in 2012 are Children under 18 Years of Age
Azzoun, a village located just outside of Qalqilia, has witnessed a spike in arrests, especially of youth and children, in the past year. About 80 residents were arrested by the IOF in 2012, of them 68 were youth under 18 years old. During the arrests, children are treated violently, including being handcuffed and subjected to intimidation and in some cases beatings during interrogation. The residents spoke of deliberate destruction of the contents of the homes during night raids, sometimes with the aid of police dogs, in order to ruin the family’s food and personal property. In November and December alone, the IOF implemented curfews on ten different occasions, as well as regularly blocked the main village entrance during the night raids. Currently there are between 50 and 60 prisoners from Azzoun, 40 of them are children with sentences varying in severity from months to years.
In November 2012, the IOF conducted nightly raids on Azzoun, in which they stormed the village from all sides, blocking off the entrances, implemented a curfew and systematically raided homes. The raids often lasted from 7 in the evening until 8 in the morning, and ended with the arrest of several members of the community, and many times youth. On 5 November, scores of soldiers violently raided 42 homes and arrested ten, including a 17 year old student.
Again, on 6 November 2012, after another late night raid, eight children ranging from 13 to 17 years old were arrested. A 13 year old was arrested that night recounted his experience to Addameer and told us that he was sleeping in his house when the soldiers climbed down the roof, and knocked down the door to enter the house. A large number of soldiers surrounded him and blindfolded and shackled him and took him to Ariel settlement where he underwent interrogation. During the interrogation the Israeli intelligence used intimidation tactics, such as interrogating him in a pitch black room and yelling at him to confess, as well as threatening to beat him until he confessed.
On 9 November, two school children, ages 15 and 16, were arrested at noon during school hours. Between the 21 and the 24 November, three more were arrested from the village, all young men.
Only four have been released on bail since 5 November. The rest are still held in interrogation centers near Qalqilia. Two days later, the army raided the village again after midnight in the same manner and arrested eight children, of which only three have been released. Their ages range between 11-13 years of age. During the arrests, community members were beaten and intimidated, and homes were vandalized.
On 8 December 2012, three children ages 15 and 16 years old, were arrested outside of their home on the accusation that they were considering to plan to throw rocks at settlers in the future.
The recent attacks on Azzoun illustrate the occupation’s use of collective punishment and intimidation, as well as indiscriminate arrests of minors.
PROTECTION OF FEMALE PRISONERS
As of December 2012, there were 11 Palestinian women in Israeli detention in HaSharon prison inside Israel. Below is a sampling of arrests that Addameer documented in this quarter.
- A.H. was arrested at Huwwara Checkpoint during a solidarity protest against the attacks on Gaza. She was violently dragged by the IOF into detention before being released.
- On 15 November 2012, eight women were arrested during an all-female demonstration in Beit El, in which they were blindfolded, shackled and detained at the settlement for hours, while being interrogated and harassed by the soldiers, who called them “bitches,” threatened and subjected to humiliation.
- Addameer has witnessed an increasing trend in the arrests of young females Palestinians this quarter. 19-year-old M.Z. was arrested on 13 September 2012 was sentenced to 12 months in prison and a 2,000 shekel fine. On 17 November 2012, two high school students from Hebron were arrested at a checkpoint and 17 year-old H.A.T was sentenced to 12 months detention, 3 years probation and a 1,000 shekel fine.
- Nusaybah Jaradat (30 years old) from Hebron, was released from prison in December after completing a 7 months sentence after being arrested on Allenby Bridge from Jordan. She holds a Jordanian citizenship and is a mother of two children.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AND ANNEXATION WALL-RELATED ARRESTS
Basem Al Tamimi
, a human rights defender and coordinator in the Nabi Saleh Popular Committee, was re-arrested on 24 October 2012, following a demonstration against Rami Levy, a chain of grocery stores found in settlements across the West Bank. At the demonstration, the Israeli army attempted to arrest Basem’s wife Nariman. Basem was charged and sentenced for four months and a fine of 5000 shekels for attending a demonstration and for attempting to stop the police from arresting Nariman, and is being denied family visits due to ‘security reasons’. Earlier this year, Basem was released after serving 14 months in prison. After his release, he was put under house arrest in Ramallah, which prevented him from being able to see his family in Nabi Saleh. His wife Nariman says that the Israeli army often comes to Nabi Saleh and harasses her family and threatens to arrest her 15-year-old son.
Right to Education for Palestinian Prisoners Denied by Supreme Court
On 24 December 2012, the Occupation’s Supreme Court dismissed an appeal filed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) regarding reinstating the prisoner’s right to education in Open University in Israel. The prisoners’ right to study in the Open University was originally revoked in 2007, as punishment for the prisoners after Gilad Shalit was arrested in Gaza. Permission to study is now granted through the IPS, and may be revoked anytime and for any reason. In 2010, there were 270 prisoners studying in higher education institutions. According to ACRI, this most recent rejection of the appeal to allow higher education was a completely arbitrary decision, and is discriminatory against Palestinian political prisoners, as Israeli criminal prisoners are not penalized under this court order. On 13 January 2013, ACRI filed a petition for an additional hearing, which is a rare procedure that is granted only in special cases. This decision greatly affects the ability of Palestinians to be able to pursue higher education while in prison.
UNITED NATIONS NEWS
· Following the travel ban issued by Israel in August 2012 to Addameer Chairperson Abdullatif Ghaith, which prevents him from traveling abroad, Addameer made a submission to the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders. This travel ban comes in addition to a pre-existing order that also bans Mr. Ghaith from entering the West Bank (as defined by Israel), where Addameer offices are located, thereby restricting the ability of Addameer to carry out its work. The timing of these bans directly coincides with an increased public focus on Addameer’s work, particularly for its role in supporting Palestinian political prisoners throughout their hunger strikes of 2011 and 2012. Throughout his time as Addameer Chairperson, Mr. Ghaith has also been targeted for arrest and detention by Israeli authorities, being held without charge in administrative detention on three separate charges.
· Addameer also made a submission to the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders on behalf of Addameer researcher Ayman Nasser. As detailed below Ayman was arrested by IOF on 15 October 2012, interrogated for 45 days, and is currently standing trial at Ofer military court, near Ramallah.
· Following the 11 December raid by IOF on Addameer offices, as well as those of the Palestinian NGO Network and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committee, all three organizations submitted a letter of protest to the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Ramallah requesting its intervention on behalf of Palestinian civil society. Addameer also submitted a letter of protest to OHCHR following the travel imposed on Addameer Chairperson Abdullatif Ghaith.
· During the reporting period Addameer, as part of the Palestinian Council of Human Rights Organizations (PHROC), made a submission to the International Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The FFM was appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, ‘to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem’. Following Israel’s refusal to allow the FFM to enter the oPt, it was forced to hear testimonies from individuals and organizations, including a PHROC delegation, from Amman in Jordan.
EUROPEAN UNION NEWS
· In September 2012 Addameer issued a call to European and international civil society to prevent the passing of the ACCA agreement, which is a protocol attached to the European Union/Israel Association Agreement. Addameer called on the European Parliament (EP) to suspend its vote on the ACAA until Israel complies with several fundamental international humanitarian law and human rights standards. While there was a fair degree of mobilization around the vote, it eventually passed on 23 October which not only rewards Israel for its human rights violations but also jeopardizes any possibility to block further EU-Israel agreements going through the European Parliament.
· Throughout the reporting period Addameer also provided regular updates to many of the diplomatic missions on behalf of the Palestinian political prisoners and in particular the on-going hunger strikes.
· Following the raid by IOF on 15 December on a number of Palestinian civil society organizations including Addameer, the EU issued a local statement expressing their concern over the attacks on Palestinian civil society.
Detention of Addameer employee Ayman Nasser
On 15 October 2012, human rights defender and Addameer employee Ayman Nasser was arrested from his home in Saffa, outside of Ramallah. During the raid, the IOF violently searched his home in the presence of his wife, Haleema and their four children, aged 3 – 13 years old, and confiscated his personal computer, mobile phone and his children’s computer that is used for school work. After being interrogated inside his home for over an hour, the IOF transferred Ayman to Al Moskobiyeh interrogation center in Jerusalem. Ayman endured 45 days in interrogation at Al Moskobiyeh, during which he was subjected to lengthy sessions of intensive and harsh interrogation while being shackled to a chair with his hands behind his back, and with some of the sessions lasting for more than 20 hours a day continuously. In between interrogation sessions, Ayman remained in solitary confinement in a small cell with a constant fluorescent light and a single blanket. These torture methods were used against him to break him psychologically and physically.
At one of Ayman’s court appearance in Al-Moskobiyeh military court in Jerusalem on 18 October, he said he believes ‘that every human being has opinions and positions and if it’s not violating the law he can freely think and speak these opinions. I am a human rights defender who supports the Palestinian prisoners and I represent my opinions in the public media. My thoughts are not secret, they are public, and everyone knows them’.
Ayman was transferred to Megiddo Prison on 22 November 2012, and was charged with several accusations, all revolving around his support and solidarity of Palestinian prisoners. His charges include participating in solidarity demonstrations during Prisoners Day on 17 April, attending other public rallies and rallying support for the prisoners cause. The IOF is currently attempting to forge a connection between Ayman’s continued human rights defense with an affiliation of a political party deemed illegal by Israel.
“Abu Ameen,” as he is fondly called by his colleagues and friends, suffers from several pre-existing health conditions, but never allowed his failing health to prevent him from being an active member of society and advocate for human and civil rights. Not only is he a full-time researcher at Addameer in the documentation unit, making much of his work interacting and building connections with the families of prisoners, but he is also a part-time lecturer at Al Quds Open University, the director of a sports club in his hometown since 2003, and a representative in the High National Council on Prisoners. During his detention, he was elected into the Saffa Municipality Board.
Ayman is now undergoing his trial in the Ofer Military Courts and could face time in prison for his human rights defense. The military prosecution team has attempted to bring other Palestinian prisoners to testify against Ayman using confessions that were gathered after 40 hours or more of interrogation. Thus far the witnesses have denied their original testimonies on the basis that they were forced into confession after continuous and long interrogation sessions.
Ayman’s arrest and detention is an attack on Palestinian society in two ways: it is an attempt to suppress any solidarity with the prisoners issue and furthermore, an attempt to hinder civil society work by directly attacking the staff members of a human rights organization.
Campaign for Ayman Nasser: Defend the Prisoners Even if The Cost is Freedom!
Addameer has started a campaign for Ayman Nasser and encourages members of the global community to participate by downloading our Activist Toolkit and organizing events to bring light to Ayman’s case. His next court hearing is on 4 February 2013.
IOF Raid on Addameer’s Office in Ramallah
In the early morning hours of 11 December 2012, the IOF raided the offices of Addameer, the Palestinian NGO Network and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committee. During the raid, the IOF damaged many resources in the office as they ransacked it, and stole four computers, a hard drive and a video camera. Addameer is still assessing further damage, including the looting of case files and paperwork, and other data loss. The raid by IOF is the latest in a number of attacks on Addameer and comes not long after the arrest and detention of
Addameer researcher Ayman Nasser; the international travel ban imposed on Addameer Chairperson Abdullatif Ghaith; and the bans on attending court imposed on some Addameer lawyers by IOF. This latest IOF attack on Addameer and other civil society organizations is an attempt to silence and threaten human rights initiatives for Palestinians. However, Addameer maintains that even under the most difficult of circumstances it will continue to defend Palestinian political prisoners.
Highlights from this quarter
From 28 November to 1 December 2012, Addameer director Sahar Francis attended the World Social Forum in Brazil and coordinated two speaking events about the Palestinian political prisoners issue. The World Social Forum was attended by over 3,000 Palestinians and activists from around the world.
On 6 December 2012, two Addameer staff members presented a paper called “Legal Aid for Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Jails” for a conference held by the Palestinian Ministry of Justice. The paper critiqued the current legal aid process and suggested a new alternative to the aid process.
Advocacy Unit Coordinator Gavan Kelly conducted a speaking tour for the Association France Palestine Solidarite from 26 to 30 November 2013.
Speaking Tour in the UK: Sahar Francis will be conducting a speaking tour across the UK from 11 to 25 February 2013. She will be speaking in Glascow, Edinburgh, Durham, Liverpool, Oxford, Portsmouth, London and Richmond. She will be speaking about the intersection between international law and the Palestinian prisoners struggle. For more information, please check out website with the latest updates on the locations of the events.
Administrative Detention Campaign:
Addameer will be launching a new global campaign for administrative detainees on Prisoners Day on 17 April. To get involved please contact our advocacy team at [email protected]
Upcoming Publications: Addameer is in the final stages of two publications intended for early 2013 about the economization of the prison system and the violations by the Natshon and Metseda Special Forces.
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY ARREST AND DETENTION NEWS
Walid Khalid Hussein Ali was arrested on 18 September 2012, only twelve days after being released from Israeli prison. He was arrested from his home in Salfit by seven members of the Palestinian preventive security forces. Two hours after his arrest, his brother Abdallah was also arrested by Palestinian intelligence. Previously, Walid was arrested by the IOF more than once and held in administrative detention on numerous occasions.
Bilal Bisharat was summoned by the Palestinian Preventive Security Forces for an interview on 29 September 2012. Upon arrival he was arrested but then released the following day on 30 September 2012. He was then called back for another interview on 1 October 2012 at 9:00am and was detained for a further two days before being released again. During detention, Bilal was subjected to a number of torture methods such as stress positions, sleep deprivation, sleeping standing up, standing on tomato cans and insults. This is not Bilal’s first arrest by the Palestinian Authority, in 2002 he received a one year sentence right after graduating from high school, and in March 2012, two weeks after graduating from college he was detained for five months.
ABOUT US: ADDAMEER (Arabic for conscience) Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association is a Palestinian non-governmental, civil institution that focuses on human rights issues. Established in 1992 by a group of activists interested in human rights, the center offers support to Palestinian prisoners, advocates for the rights of political prisoners and works to end torture through monitoring, legal procedures and solidarity campaigns.
For more information on Palestinian prisoners and detainees, please contact us directly at:
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
P. O. Box: 17338, Jerusalem
Fax: +972 (0)2 296 0447