This Quarterly Update covers the period from 15 July to 15 October 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.
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CURRENT ARREST AND DETENTION STATISTICS*
||Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli detention, including:
||administrative detainees, including 3 women and 18 PLC members
children, including 31 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 third quarter of 2011 (1 July – 30 September 2011). This marks an 11 percent decrease over the second quarter of 2011, and an 11 percent increase 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 August 2011, except for the number of women and PLC member, which are current as of 15 October 2011 and based on Addameer’s own documentation. Arrest statistics are based on figures from the Palestinian Monitoring Group and are current as of 30 September 2011.
Number of Palestinians arrested by Israel: January 2008 – September 2011
PRISONER NEWS & ADVOCACY UPDATE
On 11 October, the Israeli government and Hamas announced that they had reached a deal, under Egyptian mediation, to release captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. Shalit’s capture by Hamas-affiliated military groups in June 2006 had been a contributing factor in a number of retaliatory measures, amounting to collective punishment, taken by the Israeli authorities against the Gaza Strip, including the imposition of a total closure and the banning of all family visits to Gazan prisoners in Israeli prisons in 2007 and the winter 2008-2009 offensive on Gaza.
The prisoner swap, which comes after years of negotiations, will take place in two phases, with 477 prisoners released on 18 October and another 550 by mid-December. The publication of the list
of the first 477 names by the Israeli Prison Service on 15 October, however, raised a number of important concerns. While initial reports hinted that prominent Palestinian political prisoners such as Marwan Barghouthi and Ahmad Sa’adat would be released as part of the deal, their names were not included in the first round of releases. In addition, although all female political prisoners held in Israeli prisons were meant to be included in the deal, 9 women were left off the list and remained in prison after the first round of releases. Although there unconfirmed reports in the days following 18 October that these 9 women would be released, at the time of publication, they remained in prison.
Perhaps most significantly, 205 of the first 477 released prisoners were either transferred to the Gaza Strip or deported abroad as part of the exchange deal—measures that violate
the prohibition on forcible transfer and deportation contained in international humanitarian law and constitute a war crime. A further 55 prisoners were released to their homes in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, on a number of security conditions, including restrictions on their freedom of movement and obligations to regularly report to Israeli police stations. For a complete analysis of the background and conditions of release of the first 477 prisoner, read Addameer’s factsheet
on the exchange deal.
Addameer has represented, or provided legal advice to, 39 of the 477 released prisoners on some aspect of their most recent detention or previous arrests. Addameer lawyers notably followed 14 of the released prisoners during their interrogation, 5 throughout the course of their arrest and trial, and 2 during previous detention in administrative detention. In addition, Addameer has also followed 9 of the prisoners with regard to medical issues and 5 with regard to isolation.
It remains to be seen who will be included in the next round of releases, with the final say seemingly left at Israel’s discretion on the basis of a number of requirements set by Hamas, including the release of sick and long-serving political prisoners. In the past, Israel has been known to renege on its commitments in such deals by releasing Palestinian criminal prisoners or political prisoners with very little time left to serve, instead of respecting conditions set by Palestinians. Human rights groups have expressed their hope that the approximately 170 Palestinian children who remain in prison, as well as the approximately 270 Palestinians held in administrative detention without charge or trial, will be included in the next round of releases.
For previous Quarterly Updates, see: