This Quarterly Update covers the period from 15 April to 15 July 2011. It provides the most up-to-date statistics on prisoners and arrests and an overview of the important trends this quarter. 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 complete Quarterly Update in pdf format, please click here.
CURRENT ARREST AND DETENTION STATISTICS*
Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli detention, including:
administrative detainees, including 4 women and 14 PLC members
children, including 39 under the age of 16
members of the Palestinian Legislative Council
prisoners who have been imprisoned for more than 20 years
Palestinians from the 1948 Territories
prisoners from the Gaza Strip, including 2 detained under the Unlawful Combatants Law
prisoners from East Jerusalem
approximate number of Palestinians arrested by Israel during the second quarter of 2011 (1 April – 30 June 2011). This marks a 1.2 percent increase over the first quarter of 2011, and a 4.7 percent decrease over the same period in 2010.
*Detention statistics are based on reports from the Israeli Prison Service and Addameer’s monitoring. Because the IPS did not publish the latest statistics before the publication of this newsletter, the detention statistics included are current as of 31 May 2011. Arrest statistics are based on figures from the Palestinian Monitoring Group and are current as of 30 June 2011.
Number of Palestinians arrested by Israel: January 2008 – March 2011
PRISONER NEWS & ADVOCACY UPDATE
Harsh violence and waves of mass arrests characterized the repression in East Jerusalem during the reporting period, particularly in the neighborhoods of Silwan, Issawiya, and the Shuafat camp. Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) continued to target children in Silwan, making arrests during night raids on homes and by increasing numbers of Israeli undercover agents, known as Musta’arabeen. In May, instances of arrests of children as young as 7, 8, and 9 years old were all reported. During the arrests, families of the children were beaten and not told where their children were being taken. After long periods of interrogation, many of the children were charged with stone-throwing, subjected to fines and varying periods of detention, and subsequently placed on house arrest.
In the lead-up to the 15 May Nakba (“Catastrophe” in Arabic) day commemorations, Milad Ayyash, 17, was shot and killed in the Batten al-Hawwa neighborhood of Silwan on 13 May. Ayyash was shot in the abdomen with live ammunition, likely by a settler security guard, during a clash between Border Police officers and settlers and local youth. The violent incident set the tone for the backlash against the Nakba day protests, during which thousands of unarmed Palestinians demonstrated in commemoration of losses suffered from the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Mass arrests occurred during and after the protests, with 120 individuals arrested in East Jerusalem during the month of May alone.
Frequent clashes and arrests continued throughout June. On one occasion, a 15-year-old boy was arrested after being hit by a military jeep in Silwan. On another, a 16-year-old boy was hit so hard upon his arrest in Issawiya that he fainted. The IOF also continued to raid the al-Bustan solidarity tent in Silwan on a regular basis.
According to the Palestinian Monitoring Group, 136 Palestinians were arrested in East Jerusalem over the reporting period, more than 50 of them children, but Addameer estimates that this number is likely higher since it documented about 120 arrests in Jerusalem during the month of May alone and represented 141 people during the reporting period, including 68 children.
Update on the detention of Palestinian lawmakers
During the reporting period, there was a marked increase in the number of Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members arrested and placed in administrative detention compared to the previous quarter. The increase came after the signing of a unity deal between Hamas and Fatah at the end of April, seeming to indicate that Israel is once again resorting to the arrest of lawmakers as a way to punish Palestinians for their efforts to achieve national unity. In total, six Change and Reform PLC members were arrested during the reporting period, bringing the number of imprisoned PLC members up to 19 as of 15 July 2011, with 14 of them in administrative detention. In comparison, only three Change and Reform PLC members were arrested in the first quarter of 2011.
On 3 May, Change and Reform PLC member Ali Romaneen was rearrested by Israeli authorities in Jericho and placed in administrative detention for 3 months, due to expire on 2 August. He had been released on 19 October 2010 after serving over four years in Israeli detention following his arrest on 29 June 2006 as part of Israel’s arrest sweep after the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on 25 June 2006.
On 3 May, PLC member and Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Ahmad Saadat’s fifth isolation order was confirmed for another six months, due to expire on 3 November. He is entering his 28th consecutive month in isolation and has been denied all family visits throughout his isolation.
On 31 May, Change and Reform PLC member Nizar Abd Alziz Ramadan was rearrested at the Container checkpoint near Bethlehem and placed in administrative detention order for a period of 4 months, due to expire on 30 September. Three other PLC members traveling with him at the time were also arrested but released shortly thereafter. He had been released from six months in administrative detention only a few months earlier on 8 September 2010.
On 2 June, Change and Reform PLC member Abdel Rahman Zidan was arrested during a night raid in Tulkarem and placed in administrative detention for six months, due to expire on 1 December. Zidan has been briefly detained by the Palestinian Authority on 21 September 2010 when a joint force of Palestinian security agencies broke into his house, searched through his personal documents and files and confiscated some of his belongings without presenting a search or arrest warrant.
On 6 June, 72-year-old Change and Reform PLC member Ahmed Al-Haj Ali was arrested during a night raid in Nablus, receiving an administrative detention order for a period of 6 months, due to expire on 5 December. He had previously served 17 months in administrative detention from December 2007 to April 2009.
On 16 June, Change and Reform PLC member Samir Al-Qadi was rearrested during a night raid in Hebron and placed in administrative detention for six months, due to expire on 28 December. He had previously been arrested on 29 June 2006 and sentenced to 42 months in prison.
On 28 June, Change and Reform PLC member Nasser Abdel Jawad was rearrested in Salfit. He had previously been arrested on 29 June 2006 and sentenced to 42 months in prison. At the time of publication of this newsletter, Nasser had been placed in administrative detention.
During the reporting period, the administrative detention of five Change and Reform PLC members was also renewed. Mahmoud al-Ramahi, Nayef al-Rujub, Mohammed At-Tal, Khalil al-Rabia, and Omar al-Raziq will all be held for a further six months without charge or trial until November 2011-January 2012.
Hamas leaders arrested
A spate of arrests of Hamas leaders during the month of May and continuing throughout the reporting period seems to indicate an increase in the detention of Hamas-affiliated Palestinians in response to the Fatah-Hamas unity deal signed at the end of April.
On 4 May, Israeli forces detained Issa Khairy Aj-Ja’bari, the former minister for local government in the government formed by Hamas between March 2006 and March 2007, and subsequently placed him in administrative detention. The Hamas leader, elected in 2006, was released from Israeli custody on 31 March 2010, after spending 14 months in prison. He was also detained in the summer of 2006, when Israeli forces rounded up Hamas officials in response to the capture of a soldier by a militant group in Gaza. He was held for almost two years at that time and re-arrested in 2009.
On 7 May, former Hamas spokesman Khaled Al-Haj was arrested while passing through a military checkpoint near Jenin. As a leading party official, he represented Hamas in the coordinating committee that helped to pave the way for the unity deal, and has previously been in administrative detention for over three years. Adnan Abu Tabanah, another Hamas leader who has spent more than ten years in Israeli prisons, was arrested in Hebron on 12 May. Senior Hamas official Hussein Abu Kweik was arrested on 31 May, after Shin Bet (Israeli intelligence) agents demanded that he appear at Ofer Prison. Abu Kweik, who has spent 12 years in Israeli prisons and survived an assassination attempt that claimed the lives of his wife and three of his sons in 2002, told media sources before he was arrested that Hamas officials were being targeted in order to threaten the reconciliation deal and offset plans for Naksa day (5 June) protests.
Other party leaders arrested
Leaders from other Palestinian parties were also detained throughout the reporting period. Islamic Jihad leader Bassam As-Saadi was arrested on 6 May during a raid in Jenin refugee camp and received a 6-month administrative detention order on 16 May. Only two months prior to his arrest, he was released after serving eight years in Israeli prisons. On 2 June, Fatah member and former legislator Hussam Khader was arrested during a raid of his home in Nablus. Khader, who is known for being a proponent of Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, was also placed in administrative detention.
Worsening of detention conditions
Speaking at the closing session of the Israeli Presidential Conference on 23 June and a few days before the fifth anniversary of the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on 25 June 2006, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a change in policy with regard to detention conditions for Palestinians in Israeli prisons. Declaring the current conditions as “over-generous”, despite widespread and recurrent international condemnation thereof, Netanyahu declared that a series of undefined measures would be implemented, specifying only one, namely the decision to start denying Palestinian prisoners’ access to education. Following the announcement, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) notably considerably stepped up its policy of undertaking invasive strip searches. In the week that followed Netanyahu’s comments, the IPS tried to strip-search three prominent prisoners, Nael Barghouthi (the prisoner who has been held the longest in Israeli prison), Ahlam Tamimi (sentenced to 16 life sentences) and Haitham Salhiyeh (sentenced to 2 life sentences). All three refused and were subsequently punished with solitary confinement.
Denial of entry to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory to hundreds of internationals
On 8 July 2011, an estimated 800 internationals taking part in an initiative organized by Palestinian civil society named “Welcome to Palestine
” were meant to fly into Ben Gurion airport on their way to Bethlehem to participate in a week of peaceful activities. Hundreds of activists were prevented from even boarding their planes in France and Switzerland, among others, after Israeli pressure on the airlines meant to carry these passengers to Ben Gurion. Another approximately 120 were immediately denied entry upon their arrival at Ben Gurion, leaving only a very limited number of internationals able to transit through Israel and continue onward to the oPt. Between 9 and 13 July, Addameer visited some of the more than 80 internationals detained in Ramleh Prison after being denied entry on 8 July. Many of them reported mistreatment by Israeli authorities, including being beaten at the time of their detention at the airport and being left without food or water for extended periods of time. Click here to read Addameer’s press release
on this issue.
On 13 July, two Australian women won a court appeal against their deportation with the court holding that desire to visit the oPt was not sufficient ground to justify a deportation. However, the court also required them to seek permission from the military to cross into the West Bank within 24 hours or leave Israeli. On 14 July, the appeal of a German woman against her deportation order was rejected by an Israeli court. According to Israeli interior ministry spokeswoman, Sabine Hadad, by 14 July, Israel had deported all but two activists, a number disputed by the organizers of “Welcome to Palestine” and by lawyers for the international detainees, who claimed that 40-50 were still being held.
STOP ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION CAMPAIGN
There are currently 229 administrative detainees, 4 of whom are women and 14 of whom are PLC members. This represents a 0.05 increase on April 2011, when Israeli authorities held 217 administrative detainees without charge or trial.
, a prominent writer and political scientist, was arrested
on 21 April and issued
an administrative detention order for a period of 4 months, set to expire on 2 September. Following his arrest, he was only interrogated for 10 minutes and his first administrative detention order contained a number of errors. It quickly became clear that the first detention order issued was actually someone’s else’s detention order that had been tampered with using correction fluid to include Ahmad’s name and details, albeit incorrectly. His lawyer and international human rights groups assert that there is no evidence against him and that he is a prisoner of conscience. Qatamish’s case has been taken up by Amnesty International
and the World Organization against Torture
. Qatamish was previously held in administrative detention for a period of five and a half years from 1992-1998, making him one of the longest-serving administrative detainees held without charge in Israeli prison. His writings include a memoir in which he accounts his experiences of being tortured while in detention. Ahmad Qatamish will be the second case in Addameer’s prisoners at risk
campaign, which was launched on 17 April with the case of Ayed Dudeen (see below). Click here
for a detailed profile of Ahmad Qatamish.
, the first case
in Addameer’s prisoner at risk campaign,was released on 9 June after spending nearly 3 years and 8 monthsin administrative detention. As with all other administrative detainees, Ayed’s detention was based on secret information collected by the Israeli Security Agency (ISA), available to the military judge reviewing his detention orders but not to Ayed or his lawyer.
At the time of his release, he was the longest held administrative detainee, receiving 30 administrative detention orders since he was arrested in 19 October 2007.
Fourteen PLC members are currently in administrative detention, five of whom – Ali Salim Rumanin, Nizar Abd Alziz Ramadan, Abdel Rahman Zidan, Ahmed Al-Haj Ali, and Samir al-Qadi – were arrested during the reporting period on 3 May, 31 May, 2 June, 6 June and 16 June respectively.
As of 15 July 2011, there were 211 child prisoners, 39 of whom are under age 16. This represents a 0.05 decrease on April 2011, when Israeli authorities held 224 children, 46 of them under the age of 16. Approximately 211 Palestinians under the age of 18 have been arrested so far this year, almost 90 of them during the reporting period, with Addameer representing 70 of these in the last three months.
The trial of fourteen-year-old Islam Dar Ayoub Tamimi
, who was arrested on 24 January and placed under house arrest on 5 April, is ongoing. In the “trial-within-a-trial” procedure, Islam’s 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 16 May, Islam’s lawyer attempted to submit expert opinions from former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, related to the treatment of child detainees in accordance with the UN Convention Against Torture, and from a child psychologist who underlined the effect of detention on minors. The submissions were first rejected by the military judge, who said that experts must appear in court in person to testify. On 4 July, however, the child psychologist’s expert opinion was heard by the court, during which time the military judge also asked the psychologist to comment on the video recording of Islam’s interrogation. The next hearing will be held at the beginning of September, at which point, the defense hopes that Mr. Nowak’s testimony will be heard. Click here
for Islam’s detailed profile.
,who was arrested in February 2010 and subjected to torture and ill-treatment by Israeli forces during his arrest,was found guilty on 6 June 2011of all charges against him, a year and four months after his arrest. Though explicitly stating that she believes he was tortured, the Israeli military judge also argued
in her verdict that the torture did not influence his confession. Mohammad, who is now 17 years old, was due to be sentenced on 19 July 2011. At the time of publication of this newsletter, he had been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
PROTECTION OF FEMALE PRISONERS
As of 15 July 2011, there were 35 Palestinian women in Israeli detention in HaSharon and Damon prisons inside Israel. At least 12 women were arrested by the Israeli authorities during the reporting period, all but two of whom were released after interrogation. During the reporting period, two further women were released.
On 21 April, Shireen Issawi, a lawyer from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, was acquitted and released after spending a full year in prison while awaiting the completion of her trial. Nelli Safadi, a 34-year-old woman from Nablus who was arrested by the Israeli army on 11 November 2009 and sentenced to 20 months in prison, was also released on 12 July. Nelli was subjected to numerous means of physical and psychological torture and ill-treatment during her interrogation, including the use of painful stress positions, sleep deprivation, abusive language and threats. She was also denied visits from her mother and was held in a section of HaSharon Prison that also holds Israeli female criminal offenders, exposing her to regular verbal assaults.
During the reporting period, Aliya al-Jibri, a woman from Hebron who was arrested on 15 February 2011, was placed in administrative detention for 6 months, due to expire on 14 August. At the time of publication, no further information was available.
On 6 July, Bushra al-Taweel, the 18-year-old daughter of the mayor of Al-Bireh, Jamal al-Taweel, and former prisoner Muntaha al-Taweel (Muntaha was released on 1 February 2011 after spending 358 days in administrative detention), was arrested by the Israeli authorities after a raid on her family’s home, during which personal computers and documents were also seized. As of 15 July, Bushra was still held in detention for interrogation purposes. Two days after her arrest, on 8 July, Besan Mahmoud Abu Baker, the 21-year-old daughter of Fatah PLC member Najat Abu Baker, was also arrested at a checkpoint near Ramallah.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AND ANNEXATION WALL-RELATED ARRESTS
Arrests of activists engaged in demonstrations against the Wall continued during the reporting period. Children and youth were particularly targeted and interrogated without the presence of a lawyer or family member in order to extract information related to protest organizers in their village. As of 1 July 2011, there have been at least 197 documented cases of arrests of human rights defenders this year. This figure includes those who take part in the weekly demonstrations against the Wall and settlements in the West Bank, residents of East Jerusalem protesting Israel’s expansionist policies, and Palestinians who took part in the non-violent demonstrations which marked Nakba Day on 15 May. Approximately 120 of those arrested this year were under the age of 18, and some as young as 14.
As of 15 July, there were at least 47 Palestinian human rights defenders held in Israeli custody from the occupied West Bank villages of Bil’in, Ni’lin, Nabih Saleh and Beit Ummar. There are currently 18 activists from Bil’in in prison, including 16 children; at least 1 from Ni’lin; 8 from Nabih Saleh; and 20 from Beit Ummar, all of them children.
The trials of Bassem and Naji Tamimi
After more than two months of detention, the trial of Bassem Tamimi, the protest organizer and coordinator of Nabi Saleh’s popular committee arrested on 24 March, began on 5 June. During the hearing, Bassem pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, which include organization of unauthorized marches, incitement to throw stones, failure to report for questioning, and obstruction of justice for allegedly advising youth on how to act if under Israeli police interrogation. A hearing on 27 June determined that Bassem’s trial will be postponed an additional two months until 28 August.
Naji Tamimi, another leader of the popular committee who was arrested on 6 March, was sentenced on 27 June to one year in prison and a 2-year suspended sentence for his role in organizing demonstrations.
On 21 June 2011, after six years of demonstrations, the IOF began dismantling a portion of the Annexation Wall near the village of Bil’in. The move comes almost four years after the High Court’s order that the section of the Wall at issue – which juts into the Palestinian village, illegally confiscating 490 acres of land – be torn down and re-routed. In the September 2007 ruling, the Israeli Supreme Court unanimously rejected Israel’s argument that the Wall was needed for ‘security’ of the adjacent Modi’in Illit settlement. Between the time of the Court’s order and the beginning of dismantlement, 2 people have been killed by the IOF and many more have been injured and arrested during weekly protests held in the village.
The section of the Wall to be dismantled from Bil’in is 2.7 km long; it will be replaced by a new path, 3.2 km long. Despite this move, only approximately 150 acres will be returned to the village, leaving 330+ acres on the “Israeli side” of the Wall.
The Bil’in Popular Committee has announced that it will begin building community and public buildings on the returned land, a strategy aimed at cementing their possession and presence there. However, because the regained land is designated as Area C (territory over which Israel has complete security and administrative control), the Palestinians will have to attain building permits. By contrast, settlements on Palestinian lands, illegal according to international law, are given permits post-construction. The Matityahu East neighborhood of Modi’in Illit Settlement built on Bil’in land is but one example of a settlement given a retroactive permit. The village plans to continue to fight for the remaining annexed land belonging to it.
Nakba day arrests
A large number of human rights defenders were arrested during protests on the occasion of Nakba day. As thousands of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Syria marked the occasion by marching towards the borders with Israel, leaving a total of 14 killed, Palestinians inside the West Bank and Gaza protested in their villages and at the unofficial “borders” with Israel, i.e. Qalandia checkpoint and Erez crossing. In al-Walajeh near Bethlehem, 9 activists were arrested on 15 May, including 11-year-old twins and the prominent activist Mazen Qumsiyeh. In the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, approximately 73 activists were arrested during protests, with at least another 10 arrested on Naksa day (5 June). In Gaza, one Palestinian was killed as hundreds marched towards Erez and at Qalandia, organizers estimate that approximately ten out of the hundreds who participated in the protests were arrested, with many more injured.
Palestinian municipal elections
Although in February it had announced that the municipal elections would take place in July, following the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, the Palestinian Authority announced on 17 May that they would be postponed until 22 October in order to give the Central Elections Commission time to hold them simultaneously in Gaza and the West Bank.
On 11 July 2011, a new law was passed by a 47-38 majority in the Knesset penalizing boycotts against Israel, Israeli institutions, or any area under Israel’s control – i.e., illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. The “Law for Prevention of Damage to the State of Israel through Boycott – 2011” defines such a boycott as a civil wrong for which damages can be awarded.
The law defines boycotts in a broad and ambiguous way, capturing a whole host of activities aimed at peacefully opposing occupation. Notably, the law enables those ‘targeted’ by the boycott – for example, settlers – to claim civil damages from those calling for a boycott without having to prove actual damage. In addition to awarding civil damages, the law also strips legal rights and benefits from Israeli citizens, Israeli groups and state-funded institutions (such as universities) engaging in boycott. It can revoke the non-profit (and thereby tax-exempt) status of NGOs, and can bar businesses which refuse to buy settlement products from government contracts.
Israeli human rights groups have announced plans to oppose the law, seeking to overturn it at the Supreme Court. To see full translation of the law, click here
UNITED NATIONS NEWS
During the reporting period, Addameer submitted two complaints to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Ayed Dudeen
and Ahmad Qatamish
, the first two cases in its Prisoners at Risk campaign.
On 17 May, the Palestinian Authority announced its intention to seek full UN membership, as well as international recognition of the state of Palestine on 1967 borders. The two-pronged strategy will be undertaken at the Security Council and General Assembly levels in September 2011. Palestine’s application for full UN membership will have to be submitted to the UN Secretary-General, who will then forward it to the Security Council for recommendation. If recommended by the Security Council, the application will then be voted on in the General Assembly. International recognition for the state of Palestine on the other hand will be addressed directly at the UN General Assembly, likely through a resolution sponsored by the League of Arab States calling for such recognition.
From 20-29 July, the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People will be conducting interviews with witnesses in Gaza (21-24 July) and Amman (26-27 July) in preparation for its annual report to the General Assembly. One of the topics the Special Committee will focus on is the arbitrary arrest and detention of children, particularly in East Jerusalem. Addameer lawyer Mahmoud Hassan will be briefing the committee on this issue.
On 26th July, the UN Security Council will hold a debate on the Middle East, during which Palestinian UN membership and statehood will likely be discussed officially for the first time. With the General Assembly’s 66th session starting on 13 September 2011, it has been rumored that a resolution calling for the recognition of Palestine on 1967 borders will be tabled on 21 September 2011.
At the 66th session, the General Assembly will also discuss the annual report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, as well as reconsider the Goldstone report, as requested by the Human Rights Council at its 16th session.
The Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Frank William La Rue, who was scheduled to visit Israel and the oPt first in January and then in May, will likely visit in November instead. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur is to gather all relevant information of discrimination against, threats or use of violence and harassment directed at persons seeking to exercise or promote the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
EUROPEAN UNION NEWS
On 14 June, the European Union in a statement before the UN Human Rights Council expressed its support for Israeli and Palestinian human rights defenders peacefully protesting against settlements and the Annexation Wall, worrying that their rights were being “severely curtailed” and that they “continue[d] to be detained for their non violent protests.” As it has done in the past for other Palestinian human rights defenders such as Abdallah Abu Rahma, the EU is observing the trial of Bassem Tamimi (see section on Human Rights Defenders above), which opened on 5 June before the Israeli military court at Ofer.
On 15 June, the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, responded to a letter sent in March by 28 MEPs expressing their deep concerned about the fact that the company G4S, which works in illegal Israeli settlements and in Israeli prisons, also provides security in the European Parliament. In the letter, Buzek wrote that G4S reported that its activities in East Jerusalem and the West Bank did not violate international law, but had nonetheless decided to withdraw from a number of contracts as soon as possible.
A European Parliament delegation for relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council is set to visit Palestine at the end of August. The 11th inter-parliamentary meeting between the European Parliament and the Palestinian Legislative Council will take place between 1 and 5 September in the oPt.
To mark Palestinian Prisoners Day on 17 April, Addameer launched a new campaign called ‘Prisoners at Risk’, which focuses on prisoners subjected to serious human rights violations, including long-term administrative detention, isolation, medical neglect and torture. The first case of the campaign focused on Ayed Dudeen, who was the longest held administrative detainee until his release on 9 June 2011. The second case in the campaign will be that of Ahmad Qatamish, the renowned Palestinian author and political activist who has spent 5 and a half consecutive years in administrative detention in the past and has recently been rearrested and placed in administrative detention. More information about the campaign can be found on our website or on Facebook.
Addameer has published its annual report on violations in PA prisons, available here in Arabic. The report focuses on politically-motivated arbitrary detention and violations of detainees’ rights by the PA’s security forces between January 2009 and September 2010. The English translation will be available shortly.
Addameer’s Advocacy and Outreach Officer conducted a speaker tour in the UK from 27 June to 8 July, which aimed to raise awareness of political prisoners and build contacts with different groups in the UK, including government officials, trade unions, students and activists. During the tour, the officer notably met with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Palestine student societies at SOAS, and local Christian Aid groups throughout the UK.
Next month, Addameer will publish its 2010 annual report on violations against Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention centers. The 2009 annual report is available here.
In the coming months, Addameer is preparing to launch a new website to replace its current website, www.addameer.info. The new website will allow for easier browsing and will include multimedia content, including videos from Addameer’s existing YouTube channel, a photo gallery and audio of Addameer’s radio programs; an extensive database of prisoner profiles; advocacy toolkits for Addameer’s campaigns; and monthly statistics on prisoners. The new website will be available both in Arabic and in English.
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY ARREST AND DETENTION NEWS
Political detention continues despite national reconciliation agreement:
The signing of a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah in Cairo on 4 May 2011 created hope among the families of prisoners and within civil society that political arrests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would end. Indeed, the agreement explicitly prohibited arrests on the basis of political affiliation or without proper judicial procedure, and committed Hamas and Fatah to immediately release all detainees from the two factions. The reality, however, has been very different. Through its monitoring, documentation and legal representation, Addameer can only conclude that political detention continues, albeit at a lesser rate than before the agreement, a trend that is also confirmed by information published by the media and political parties. The erosion of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the oPt therefore continues, further damaging the social fabric of the Palestinian community and endangering the viability of the reconciliation agreement itself.
Currently, there are approximately 200 political prisoners in the prisons and detention centers of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. These detainees are mostly affiliated with Hamas but also include individuals from Islamic Jihad, Hizb al-Tahrir and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. In the Gaza Strip, approximately 50 political prisoners are held by the Hamas government, most of them affiliated with Fatah although a number belong to the Salafi Jihadi movement.
In the West Bank, some of the 200 political prisoners are serving sentences issued by military courts while others are currently on trial before these courts. This is in contravention of the Palestinian Basic Law, which stipulates in Article 101(2) that “military courts are established by special laws, and their jurisdiction shall not extend beyond military affairs”; a provision that has also been confirmed by the Palestinian High Court of Justice on numerous occasions. Yet other prisoners have been transferred to civilian courts where their cases are ongoing, despite the fact that there is insufficient evidence to charge them, as evidenced by the fact that many have been acquitted of all charges in these courts.
In other cases, the Palestinian High Court of Justice and various civilian courts have issued decisions ordering the release of these detainees but despite this, the security forces have refused to do so. This was the case for two detainees held by the General Intelligence Service in the city of Bethlehem, where a magistrate court rejected the prosecution’s request to extend their remand, ruling that they be released immediately. General Intelligence, however, did not comply with the ruling, in clear violation of the Palestinian Basic Law, which in Article 106 states that failure to implement judicial decisions is a crime punishable by imprisonment and dismissal from public office and that requires compensation for those affected.
In addition, the security forces also continued to violate the rights of both detainees and their lawyers, notably by preventing lawyers from visiting their clients, despite the fact that article 12 of the Palestinian Basic Law guarantees the right of detainees and prisoners to contact a lawyer and article 103 of the code of criminal procedures upholds attorneys’ right to contact their clients without any restriction or limitation.