Occupation: Unemployed (Previously worked as a chef)
Date of birth: 21 February 1974
Date of Arrest: 31 July 2008
Administrative detention: 8 arrests and 6 years in and out of administrative detention
Place of Detention: Ketziot
Date of Release: UNKNOWN
Postal Address: Ketziot Prison, P.O. Box 13, Postal Code: 8410208, Israel
Number of order renewals: Two (on 4 February 2008 and 5 August 2009)
Expected end of administrative detention order: 29 January 2010
On 15 June 2009, Addameer attorney Mahmoud Hassan filed a petition with the Israeli High Court of Justice on behalf of Salim Ayesh challenging the administrative detention order against him. On 27 June, during the scheduled hearing at the High Court of Justice in Jerusalem, Adv. Mahmoud Hassan withdrew the petition at the Court’s recommendation after it reviewed the 'secret evidence’ against Salim. According to the judges, the representative of the security services had already informed the court of his decision to renew the administrative detention orders against Salim. Subsequently, a third administrative detention order valid for an additional six months, starting 30 July 2009, was issued against him. The six month order was confirmed at the judicial review on 5 August 2009 and is now set to expire on 29 January 2010.
ARREST AND ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION
In the early hours of the morning on 31 July 2008, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) came to Salim Ayesh’s house and arrested him. The soldiers presented no arrest warrant. They stayed in the house for half an hour and locked Salim’s wife in a room so that she could not see what was happening to her husband. At the same time, the soldiers began destroying furniture and handicrafts that Salim had made during a previous time in prison.
Salim was blindfolded, handcuffed and taken to Ofer prison, near Ramallah. While in prison, Salim was issued with a full six month administrative detention order from 31 August 2008 until 30 January 2009. Addameer Association submitted an appeal against the administrative detention order on 24 August 2008, however without success: the decision was sustained. This is not the first time that Salim has been in administrative detention. He has previously been arrested eight times and has spent a total of six years in and out of administrative detention. Salim was last released from administrative detention on 7 April 2008, only four months before his latest arrest.
The first review of this latest administrative detention order was held on 11 August 2008. In the court, Amit Fries, the military judge, stated that Salim’s recent detention was related to the activities he had carried out between his release in April and the his arrest. Judge Fries, however, did not say what the activities were or what significance they had to Salim’s arrest.
In his defense, Addameer Attorney Mahmoud Hassan asked the military prosecutor whether the suspicion against Salim was related to him receiving money from abroad. Shortly after his arrest, Salim had briefly mentioned to Adv. Hassan that he had been trying to raise money for costly medical treatment that he was unable to pay for. However, at the time of his arrest, Salim had still not received any money. The military prosecutor replied that the 'secret file’ did include this information; he also added that Salim had been receiving money to support Islamic Jihad. The military prosecutor, however, had no evidence to support this allegation and he provided no additional information on the exact contents of the 'secret file’. Adv Hassan stated in reply that Salim had indeed been transferring money, however, this was due to urgent personal reasons. Military Judge Amit Fries did not take this information into account and reaffirmed the military prosecutor’s claim that after Salim’s previous release from administrative detention, he had returned to being a member of Islamic Jihad. The judge added there was no clear difference between receiving money for personal reasons and supporting Islamic Jihad.
Judge Fries is using such unfounded justification to keep Salim in administrative detention. Salim is now being detained in Ketziot Prison in the Negev. His administrative detention order was due to expire on 6 February 2009, but Salim was never released. On 4 February 2009, a second administrative detention order was issued against him. The military judge then requested a special secret meeting with the Israeli Security Agency (ISA). The information he allegedly received from ISA officers at this meeting, which was never made public, allegedly constituted a basis for the judge to uphold the order for a further six months. Instead of presenting any justification for his reasoning, however, the judge merely concluded that Salim, as a member of a political group, constituted a 'danger to the security of the area’ and of the state of Israel. His detention order is now expected to end on 30 July 2009.
Salim Ayesh is originally from Ta’amari Village near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. He is married to Nehad, but the couple has no children. Salim used to work as a chef in a traditional Palestinian restaurant in Bethlehem, serving mostly shawarma, falafel and hummus. However, due to his frequent arrests, it was increasingly hard for him to keep his job. After his release from administrative detention in April 2008, he returned to his previous employer hoping to get his position back, but it was already filled. He then tried to find work in other restaurants in Bethlehem, but without much success and was thus unemployed at the time of his arrest.
THE AYESH FAMILY
Salim has had a piece of shrapnel lodged in his leg since 1991 as a result of an injury he suffered in a previous arrest raid. To this day, he suffers from a resulting severe infection in his leg that gets worse in the winter. As is the case for most prisoners, the only medical assistance Salim receives consists of painkillers. Salim’s medical health has thus rapidly deteriorated during his imprisonment, especially since he has been in need of specialized medical treatment even before his arrest. In addition to his leg condition, Salim also suffers from stomach ulcers, a frequent occurrence among Palestinian prisoners caused by the lack of adequate food and nutrients.
Since Salim’s arrest, life has been very difficult for his wife, Nahed. is currently enrolled in the third year of the Religion Studies program at the Al-Quds Open University and feels a bit lost without Salim’s support. He was always encouraging her to study and follow her interests; without him, even education does not make as much sense,she says. Nahed is prevented from visiting Salim in prison due to 'security reasons’. In fact, during all of her husband’s eight times in prison, Nahed has only been able to visit her husband five times. One of Salim’s brothers does have a permit that would enable him to visit the prison. Despite this, the Israeli authorities claim that he is 'not related to Salim’ so they have continued to deny him access to the prison. Other family members are also forbidden from visiting Salim due to 'security reasons’. The only member of his family who is permitted to visit is his mother. Salim’s mother, Umm Salim, is currently suffering from rheumatism and experiences pain in her joints. Her bi-monthly trips to Ketziot prison have severely exacerbated her condition, but not going means further isolating Salim from the outside world and depriving him from clothes, books and other essential personal belongings not provided by the prison administration. Every three months, Salim’s mother is permitted to bring Salim some items. The prison conditions in winter are extremely cold so Salim often asks his mother to bring him warm clothes and blankets. However, restrictions imposed on what she is allowed to bring are often arbitrary. At present, one shirt is allowed along with three pairs of underwear and one pair of pants. If any attempt is made to bring in more than the permitted items, the whole parcel is subsequently prohibited.
Here is how you can help Salim Ayesh:
- Send Salim letters of support to his postal address in prison
- Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that Salim be released immediately and that his administrative detention not be renewed.
- Write to your own elected representatives urging them to pressure Israel to release Salim and to put an end to such an unjust, arbitrary and cruel system of incarceration without trial
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