Quarterly Update on Palestinian Prisoners (15 July 2010 - 15 October 2011)
This Quarterly Update covers the period from 15 July to 15 October 2010. 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 2 children under the age of 18
||children, including 32 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 4 detained under the Unlawful Combatants Law
||prisoners from East Jerusalem
||approximate number of Palestinians arrested by Israel during the third quarter of 2010 (1 July – 30 September 2010). This marks a 16.6 percent decrease over the second quarter of 2010, and a 2.4 percent increase over the same period in 2009.
*Detention and arrest statistics are current as of 30 September 2010. Detention statistics are based on reports from the Israeli Prison Service and Addameer; Arrest statistics are based on figures from the Palestinian Monitoring Group.
PRISONER NEWS & ADVOCACY UPDATE
Fatal shooting of Samer Sarhan in Silwan sparks series of arrests and attacks on Palestinians in East Jerusalem neighborhood
The 22 September fatal shooting of Samer Sarhan, a 32-year old Palestinian resident of the Silwan neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood, and the police’s immediate release of the perpetrator of the crime, a private security guard employed by a settlers’ organization, sparked a series of clashes between Palestinian residents of Silwan and other neighborhoods of occupied East Jerusalem and the Israeli police. The clashes lasted four days, from 22 until 26 September. According to statistics released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the OPT, an estimated 99 Palestinians, including 17 children and one pregnant woman were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets, physical assault and tear gas inhalation in clashes with Israeli forces. A 14-month old child died as a result of tear gas inhalation in the 'Esawiyeh neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
In addition, approximately 70 Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces in several raids inside East Jerusalem neighborhoods, including Samer Sarhan’s family members.
The Arrest of Samer Sarhan’s Family Members
At approximately 2:30 a.m. on 29 September, Israeli undercover forces, accompanied by a large number of Border Police guards surrounded the family homes of Samer Sarhan’s brothers in Silwan. Around twenty men entered the house of Mohammad Maher Sarhan, Samer Sarhan’s nephew. They threw him onto the ground, sprayed teargas on his face from a very short distance, shackled both his legs and hands and walked him out of the house towards a private car. At the same time, three of his family members, Mohammad’s two uncles, Ahmed and Ali Sarhan and one of his cousins, Mohammad Ali Srahan were also arrested when they tried to intervene with the Israeli forces on his behalf.
All three were subjected to abuse and ill-treatment. In an affidavit given to Addameer Attorney Mohammad Mahmoud, Ahmed Sarhan reports that the police stopped spraying the teargas only after they’d finished two canisters. They then pushed him to the ground and started beating him all over his body, including his face, with a baton and the back of their rifles. The beating lasted approximately 20 minutes and ended after Ahmed sustained an open wound on his face. Afterwards, they shackled his hands behind his back with iron shackles and took him together with his brother Ali and nephew Mohammad to a police car. All three men were transferred to Shalem police station in East Jerusalem where they were each interrogated separately for about 30 minutes. They were denied medical assistance for the treatment of their wounds and were made to wait until the next morning when they were released with the condition of spending 5 days in house arrest and 3,000 NIS bail to be paid in the case they commit an offense.
In the meantime, Mohammad Maher Sarhan was transferred to Moskobiyyeh Detention Center for the purpose of interrogation. He was accused by the Israeli authorities of incitement against the Israeli settlers and of planning a military attack. In the morning of 29 September, the Magistrate Court in Jerusalem extended Mohammad’s detention for a ten day period. Addameer attorney Mohammad Mahmoud immediately appealed the court’s decision claiming that there was absolutely no evidence to prove the prosecution’s allegations. The appeal was accepted and Mohammad was eventually released on 2 November 2010 without any charges or conditions. However, as a result of his arrest, he lost his job at an Israeli environment protection institution.
Other Arrests in Silwan
During the reporting period 15 July – 15 October 2010, Addameer represented 15 detainees arrested by the Israeli authorities in Silwan, including one child. Most were accused of throwing stones, participating in clashes with settlers and obstructing police work, but were released immediately after due to a lack of evidence. In most cases, the detainees were released on bail to be paid in case they commit an offence and were sentenced to short house arrest periods.
Update on the Detention of Palestinian Lawmakers
- In the early morning of 18 October 2010, the Israeli army once again arrested Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Hatem Qafisha, elected on the Change and Reform list on 25 January 2006. Mr. Qafisha was previously arrested on 6 November 2007 and held under administrative detention orders, without charge or trial until 1 November 2009.
- On 8 September 2010, the Israeli authorities released Change and Reform PLC members Nezar Ramadan and Azzam Salhab after they had both spent nearly 18 months in administrative detention,without charge or trial. Both PLC members were arrested together with eight other Palestinian politicalleaders by Israeli soldiers on 19 March 2009, a day following the official collapse of negotiations in Cairo between the Israeli government and Hamas over a prisoner exchange. All were subsequently placed under six month administrative detention orders, which were since then renewed twice. At the time of their arrest, Addameer argued that the arrests were politically motivated and aimed at exerting additional pressure on the Hamas leadership to release an Israeli soldier who was captured at the Kerem Shalom Crossing in the Gaza Strip in June 2006. For more information about their arrest and subsequent administrative detention, please read Addameer’s press release issued on 19 March 2009.
- On 12 September 2010, PLC member Mohammad Jamal An-Natsheh was also released by the Israeli authorities at the end of his eight and a half year long sentence. Mr. An-Natsheh ran for the elections to the PLC from inside an Israeli prison. He was elected to the PLC on 25 January 2006 as a Change and Reform candidate.
- On 28 July, the Israeli Magistrate Court in Jerusalem deferred until 22 November 2010 the trial of PLC member Mohammad Abu Teir, 54, of Umm Touba village in East Jerusalem. The decision came in view of a Supreme Court hearing scheduled for 9 September to discuss the revocation of Abu Teir’s Jerusalem residency and that of three other Palestinian political leaders, including fellow PLC members Mohammad Totah and Ahmad Attoun, and the former Palestinian Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, Khaled Abu Arafeh. Mohammad Abu Teir who was released on 20 May 2010 after four years from Israeli detention, was summoned by the Israeli police shortly after and told that his Jerusalem residence had been cancelled. He was given a temporary residence permit requiring him to leave Jerusalem by 19 June 2010. On 15 June 2010, lawyers from Adalah filed for an emergency injunction to the Israeli Supreme Court to stop the deportation process against the four PLC members while the petition is still pending, but the injunction was denied. On 30 June 2010, Abu Teir was arrested for refusing to heed the deportation order and is set to stand trial in Jerusalem. At the same time, Totah, Attoun and Abu Arafeh began a sit-in outside the International Committee of the Red Cross office in East Jerusalem after their own temporary residency permits expired in protest of their ordered expulsion. Their protest is still under way.
PLC Member Ahmad Saadat Receives his Fourth Isolation Order
- It is now almost 18 months, since 16 March 2009, that PLC member and Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Mr. Sa’adat, has been subject to detention in isolation without family visits, compounded by the denial of his right to write or receive letters and severe restrictions on his access to books and media. All isolation orders were imposed on “security grounds” based on the judge’s review of “secret information” to which his lawyer does not have access. In October 2010, Israeli prosecutors requested the fourth extension of the isolation order against Mr. Saadat. The date for the judicial review of the order has not yet been set. The prosecutors justified their request for another isolation extension by vaguely stating that Mr. Saadat had previously been involved in political activities inside prison with detainees who pose a threat to the security of the state. The nature of these activities however, was not defined. Mr. Sa’adat is also subject to a separate order banning his right to family visits, an order which was recently renewed. He is only allowed one hour of recreation a day, during which he is not allowed to see or interact with other prisoners.
- In a related event, a number of detainees across different Israeli prisons, including Ketziot, Nafha, Ofer and Ramon refused meals for the prison administration on October 5th, 10th and 17th in solidarity with PLC member Ahmad Saadat and in protest of his continuous isolation.
Violations by the IPS Special Intervention Units
- On 13 September, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) special intervention units, Nahshon and Metzada raided the Ofer prison deploying tear gas and beating detainees. The incident was sparked by the decision of eleven detainees held in section 11 of Ofer prison to destroy signal disruption equipment installed by the IPS to prevent anyone from communicating with their families by mobile phones. Ketziot and Ofer prisons are the two only facilities among 19 prisons managed by the IPS where detainees manage to smuggle mobile phones in order to have some sort of communication with their loved ones due to heavy restrictions imposed on family visits and the IPS “no telephone contact” policy for Palestinian political prisoners.
- In response to the event, the prison administration transferred all eleven prisoners to a different detention facility while the Metzada and Nahshon units proceeded to conduct a violent search of the sections. The prisoners responded by chanting slogans and banging objects against the doors of their rooms to create noise. Subsequently, the special intervention units started spraying teargas into all rooms of all sections, beating the detainees with batons and using police dogs to intimidate them. Some of the representatives of the sections were transferred to isolation. In protest, detainees refused meals served to them by the prison administration. According to Shadi Shalaldeh, representative of prisoners in Ofer, around 60 men sustained light injuries following the beatings and gas inhalation.
Update on Isolation
- As of 30 September, there were approximately 39 Palestinian political prisoners held in isolation, including 12 that were held in isolation for reasons of state or prison security. The remaining prisoners are held in isolation for medical reasons.
- On 1 October, the IPS placed the representative for Hamas prisoners in Israeli detention, Mr. Abbas As-Sayyid, to an isolation section of Ramon prison. The decision came as a response to the killing of four Israeli settlers near the West Bank city of Hebron in a military action which was carried out by the military wing of Hamas organization.
STOP ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION CAMPAIGN
As of 1 October 2010, there are 212 Palestinian administrative detainees including 4 women, 2 children and 3 Palestinian Legislative Council members. This represents an 11.6 % increase compared with 1 September 2010, when Israel held 190 Palestinians under administrative detention orders, without charge or trial.
- Hana Shalabi’s administrative detention order ending 12 September 2010 has been renewed for another six months, making it Hana’s third consecutive administration order. The latest order is due to expire on 11 March 2011. Hana has been held in detention since her arrest on 14 September 2009. On 20 October 2010, Addameer submitted an individual complaint to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Hana Yahya Shalabi, who was arrested by the Israeli army on 14 September 2009, and since then held under administrative detention orders. Click here to read Hana’s urgent appeal.
- Loai Ashqar was released on 29 August after nearly 28 months of continuous administrative detention despite the paralysis of his left leg which he sustained at the hands of his interrogators during his previous arrest in 2005. Click here to read background information related to Loai’s administrative detention.
- Moatasem Muzher’s administrative detention period, due to end on 26 September 2010 was renewed for a further three months, making it this third three month detention order. The order is now set to expire on 26 December. The 17 year old has been detained since his been arrest on 20 March 2010.
- Muntaha Al Taweel was issued her third consecutive three month administrative detention order. The order was issued initially for a four month period, but was then reduced by a month. The order is due to expire on 5 November 2010.
- 37 year-old Reda Khaled, an employee at the distribution department of UNRWA from Ein Beit Al-Ma’ refugee camp in Nablus, had his administrative detention renewed for a fourth time, ending on 18 October 2010. Reda has been held without trial or charge since 19 December 2008
- Nabih Awad, aged 37, received another four month administrative detention order which is set to expire on 5 December. Nabih who works at the Association of Palestinian Local Authorities has been held in administrative detention since 10 December 2009.
- Loai Al Ahmar,aged 33, was released on 23 July after 21 months in administrative detention.
- After nearly 18 months, Raja Al-Ghoul, aged 40, was released from administrative detention on 9 September, six days before the planned expiration of her fourth order. Click here to read background information on Raja’s detention.
- On 30 August, Addameer submitted a complaint to the Working Group on Arbitrary detention on behalf of Emad Al-Ashhab, aged 17, against his administrative detention which was imposed on him on 21 February 2010.
Currently, there are 264 Palestinian children under the age of 18 in Israeli detention, including 32 under the age of 16. At least 280 children have been arrested thus far in 2010, including 62 between 30 June and 30 September 2010.
Two boys subjected to electroshocks by Israeli interrogators
- Yahya Abdelhafez 'Udwan, aged 15, and Abdelhamid Abdellatif Said Abu Hanieyh, aged 16, both from the village of Azzoun in the Qalqilya governorate, were subjected to electroshocks by Israeli interrogators following their arrest on 5 August 2010. Both were walking near the Annexation Wall in their village when Israeli military jeeps surrounded them. They were blindfolded, handcuffed, beaten on their backs and kicked on the legs during their transfer to a police station in Ariel settlement. Upon arrival, they were interrogated separately by two different interrogators who accused them of throwing stones. When Yahya denied, one of the interrogators slapped him on the face around ten times and then hit his head against the wall, but the boy was still maintaining his version of events. Then, one of the interrogators placed two electric wires on Yahya’s arms and legs and applied electroshocks at least four times. Eventually, Yahya confessed to throwing stones at cars. The same happened to Abdelhamid who was also subjected to electroshocks when he refused to confess to throwing stones. Abdelhamid reports, “I felt great pain. I confessed to throwing stones at cars. Even though I said that I can’t remember the date, the interrogator included the information that he wanted. I said that the stone hit the door of the car, but he included that it hit one of the settlers in the eye and lip”.
- 12 year old Abu Quedair who was detained on 27 September for throwing stones at Israeli forces in Hebron will remain at Ofer detention centre until legal procedures are complete following a ruling by a military court on 13 October which reversed a ruling from the previous week which granted his release. Abu Quedair was detained days after 13-year-old Akram Da'an was arrested from his school in the Old City of Hebron by Israeli forces and tried for throwing stones at troops.
- The trial of Mohammad Halabiyeh, 16 arrested on 6 February 2010 by the Israeli Border Police, in his hometown of Abu Dis is currently underway. During the arrest operation, Mohammad broke his left leg, just above the ankle. Nonetheless, the soldiers beat him all over his body and intentionally kicked his injured leg. Torture and ill-treatment continued for five consecutive days following his arrest and reached its peak at the Hadassah hospital, where the Israeli soldiers pushed syringes into the boy’s hand and leg multiple times, covered his mouth with adhesive tape, punched Mohammad in the face, hit him in the abdomen with a stick and deprived him of sleep in an attempt to deter the boy from reporting the ill-treatment to the Israeli police. Mohammad’s case was reviewed by the court on 6 September 2010, but no decisions were taken. The boy remains in Ofer prison in a section with adult prisoners. On 1 September 2010, Addameer submitted an individual complaint to the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment on Mohammad Halabiyeh’s behalf.
- On 25 August 2010, Addameer filed a complaint to the Israeli Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General calling for a thorough and impartial criminal investigation into the conduct of the interrogators who tortured and abused Ahmed Isleem, a Palestinian high school student from Azzoun village in Qalqilya, aged 17. The boy was kept by the Israeli authorities in Jalameh interrogation center for close to forty consecutive days during which he was beaten on his entire body, including his head; intimidated and subjected to verbal abuse; threatened with rape and death; deprived from sleep through physically and mentally exhausting interrogation sessions at times reaching 12 hours; and exposed to collaborators’ violence. So far, the Israeli authorities have only acknowledged receipt of the complaint, but have not responded to it yet. On 6 October 2010, Addameer submitted an individual complaint to the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment on Ahmed’s behalf.
PROTECTION OF FEMALE PRISONERS
As of 30 September 2010, there are 37 Palestinian women in Israeli detention in Hasharon and Damon prisons inside Israel. Six women have been arrested by Israeli authorities since 30 June 2010. Of these women, two have been released, two have been charged, and two have been placed under administrative detention.
- Mona Sha’ar was arrested in Majdal Shams in the occupied Golan Heights, on 26 July on suspicion of espionage. Her husband Majd and son Fada were also arrested and subsequently charged with “contacting a foreign agent”. Mona was released after four days of interrogation.
- Fatheyya Sweis was released without conditions on 1 August 2010 after 14 days in Israeli custody. She is a Palestinian with Jordanian citizenship.
- Linan Abu Gholmeh, aged 30 and her sister Taghreed Abu Gholmeh, aged 27, both originally from the village of Beit Furik near Nablus, were arrested on 15 July together with six other relatives, some of whom are their cousins. Subsequently, Linan was given a six month administrative detention order and transferred to Hasharon prison. Her sister Taghreed was charged with membership in the PFLP, an organization considered illegal according to Israeli military orders, solely on the basis of facilitating a university graduation ceremony a few years ago. She is currently awaiting trial in Damon prison. In protest of the prison authorities’ decision to keep her in a different facility than her sister, Linan went on a six day hunger strike in the beginning of September. Although such requests have been honored in the past, the Israeli Prison Service continues to ignore the two sisters’ wish to be held in the same prison. Three other members of their extended family, Laith Abu Gholmeh, Hani Hanani and Mas’ab Mulaytat were also charged with membership in an “illegal organization” and political activities.
- Kifah Qatash, 37, a mother of two and third year Sociology student at Al-Quds Open University, was arrested on 1 August. She is subject to a four month administrative detention order which is set to expire on 5 December 2010.
- Rawan Thawabteh from Beit Fajjar, near Bethlehem was released on 25 August following a short interrogation period.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AND ANNEXATION WALL-RELATED ARRESTS
At present, there are at least 21 documented cases of Palestinian human rights defenders held in Israeli custody from the occupied West Bank villages protesting against the unlawful construction of the Wall and the annexation of their land for settlement expansion. There are currently three human rights defenders imprisoned from the village of Bil’in, including two members of the Popular Committee, at least seven from the village of Ni’lin, including three members of the Popular Committee – Ibraheem Ameera, Hassan Mousa and Zaydoon Srour -, two detainees originally from the village of Nabi Saleh and a total of twelve imprisonedyouth from the village of Jayyous.
Head of Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall Sentenced to One Year of Prison
On 11 October 2010, Head of the Bil’in Popular Committee in Bil’in, Abdallah Abu Rahmah, 39, was sentenced by the Israeli military court to one year in prison along with a further six months suspended for three years and a 5,000 NIS (1,350 USD) fine after being convicted for incitement and organising demonstrations against the Annexation Wall in the village of Bil'in. Abdallah has already served 10 months of his sentence on remand and the military judge said during the sentencing hearing, that the military's delay in implementing a High Court decision re-routing the Wall was a mitigating factor. The prosecution could appeal the sentence but the suspended sentence will effectively prevent Abdallah from taking part in protests for three years. The conviction was sharply criticised last August by the EU foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton.
The Israeli Authorities continue to hold Adeeb Abu Rahmah upon completion of his sentence
The Israeli authorities refuse to release Adeeb Abu Rahmah, who is a taxi driver and a member of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in, despite that at the moment of sentencing he had already served his entire sentence in full. On 30 June 2010, Adeeb was sentenced to twelve months in prison, in addition to a twelve month suspended sentence and a fine of 6,000 NIS (1,620 NIS). The legal proceedings concluded nearly eleven months following Adeeb’s arrest in Bi’lin on 10 July 2009. All motions to release him on bail have been denied because of objections by the prosecution. Adeeb is currently remanded in custody until the Military Court of Appeal reaches a decision, following the prosecution’s request for a harsher sentence.
Adeeb’s arrest marked the first instance of detention of a member of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bil’in since raids into Bil’in intensified at the beginning of 2009 in an attempt to weaken the popular movement. Adeeb was convicted of charges related to incitement as defined by Israeli military order 101; disturbance of public order, and entering a closed military area. Adeeb’s conviction was based on the coerced confession of four minors who were arrested in a late night raid during an arrest campaign in Bil’in between 23 June and 7 July 2009.
A demonstrator shot at with live ammunition in Bil’in
On 24 September Ashraf Al-Khatib, a Bil`in resident aged 31, was shot with 0.22” caliber live bullet while he was protesting against the Wall at the weekly Friday demonstration. The bullet hit him in the lower leg. No warning shots were heard beforehand. Unable to stand, he was hurriedly carried by Palestinian and international demonstrators towards the village as he bled heavily from his calf. When Al-Khatib first fell, all of the soldiers ran forwards in an attempt to arrest him, but the demonstrators were able to successfully load him into a car before the soldiers caught them. As the car drove away the soldiers retreated, and the demonstrators walked back to the village: the demonstration lasting around one hour in total. Upon Al-Khatib’s arrival at hospital, it was found the 0.22” caliber round had smashed the bone in his leg.
Dr. Omar Saeed Released upon Completion of a Seven Month Sentence
Dr. Omar Saeed, 50, a Palestinian pharmacologist and political activist from Kufr Kina village in northern 1948 territory, was released from prison on 13 September 2010 upon completion of two thirds of his sentence. On 8 July 2010, Dr. Saeed was sentenced to seven months in prison by the Magistrate Court in Nazareth after the defense entered a plea agreement with the prosecution. He was subsequently convicted on the charge of “working for an illegal organization”. In exchange, the prosecution dropped the more serious charges of “establishing contact with a foreign agent” and “delivery of information for the benefit of the enemy”, which are both offenses punishable by a maximum sentence of fifteen years. Dr. Saeed’s legal defense team contends that the charges were inflated by the prosecution as a way of justifying the sixteen day ban on lawyers’ visits and other arbitrary measures which were imposed in his case. Dr. Saeed’s case is illustrative of the persisting problems related to the broad formulation of security charges in the case of Palestinian political and human rights activists living in the 1948 territories. Under the legal clause pertaining to contact with enemy agents, any meeting, phone conversation or contact over the internet with an Arab citizen living in an enemy state as considered by Israel can be criminalized.
Dr. Saeed was first arrested on 24 April 2010 in a case which appeared to be linked to the arrest and detention of Ameer Makhoul, General Director of Ittijah, the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations.
Update on Human Rights Defender Ameer Makhoul’s Trial
General Director of Ittijah, the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations continues to be detained in Gilboa prison in southern Israel under the charges of providing assistance to the enemy in a time of war, conspiracy to assist an enemy, aggravated espionage, and contact with a foreign agent. However, according to the Campaign to Free Ameer Makhoul, at a court hearing which took place on 16 September 2010 at Haifa District Court, the prosecutors admitted that no evidence of espionage was found in Mr. Makhoul’s mobile phones and computers which were confiscated by the police from his office and home. Prosecutors also admitted that no such evidence was found in the thirty thousand wiretapped telephone conversations.
In a separate hearing, on 14 September, the Nazareth District Court ruled to uphold Mr. Makhoul’s right to direct and confidential access to legal counsel following complaints from his lawyers that their meetings had been wire-tapped by prison authorities, in violation of Israeli law.
Israeli Military Authorities Issue New Criminal Code: Military Order # 1651
On 1 May 2010, Military order 1651 (2009) came into effect, codifying a number of previously issued orders into what is now called the Criminal Code. The new Criminal Code forms a consolidated version of many orders issued since 1967 and related to the arrest, detention and prosecution of an individual. Accordingly, it replaced a total of 20 military orders issued between 1967 and 2005, including military order 378 which established the creation of Israeli military courts in occupied territory, provides the basis for arrest and detention by the Israeli army, and defines charges under military law. It also replaced military order 132 on “judging juvenile delinquents” which sets the age of majority for Palestinians at 16 and divides Palestinian children into three different categories – those under 12 are considered children, those between 12 and 14 are considered “youth” and those between 14 and 16 are defined as “young adults”. Importantly, article 285 of military order 1651 has replaced Military Order No. 1591 which had formed the basis for administrative detention orders. Until 1 May 2010, administrative detention orders had continued to be issued on the basis of this order but as of May 1 2010 administration detention orders are now issued on the basis of Military Order No. 1651 (2009). This article empowers military commanders to detain an individual for up to six month renewable periods if they have “reasonable grounds to presume that the security of the area or public security require the detention.” On or just before the expiry date, the detention order is frequently renewed. This process can be continued indefinitely.
UNITED NATIONS NEWS
Justice & Accountability: Goldstone Report Update
Following the first anniversary of Goldstone report on 25 September 2010, the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council issued two separate resolutions on the Gaza Conflict and the on-going blockade. In a resolution on follow-up to the report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission, which was dispatched to investigate violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law resulting from the Israeli attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance on 31 May, the Council denounced Israel’s non-compliance, endorsed the conclusions contained in the report of the Mission, and called upon all concerned parties to ensure their immediate implementation. The report also determined that Israeli and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip failed to undertake credible investigations into their forces actions during the Gaza assault. The Council also recommended that the General Assembly consider the report of the Mission. The resolution was passed by a vote of 30 in favour, 1 against and 15 abstentions. The United States (US) was the only country to vote against the resolution.
The Council then issued a draft resolution backed by the Palestinian Authority, which renews the mandate of the Committee of Independent Experts for a further six months, despite the fact that the final report recommended to refer the issue to the International Criminal Court if both parties failed to undertake credible investigations on their own. The Human Rights Council had (as noted above) just days before found that both sides had failed in this regard. Accordingly, a Tribunal should be established, however that option, which may be the only route through which to access the ICC as Turkey is not party to the Rome Statute, has now been rendered null and void by the draft resolution.
Addameer, in conjunction with a number of Palestinian NGO’s issued joint submissions to the Human Rights Council at its 15th session in September Calling for immediate recourse to international justice mechanisms for victims of the Gaza conflict and the urgent adoption of concrete measures to end the illegal closure of the Gaza Strip.
The UN Human Rights Committee Reviews Israel’s Compliance with the ICCPR, 13-14 July 2010
The concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee released on 13/14 July upon considering Israel’s Third Periodic Report on the state’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) reiterated Israel’s status as an Occupying Power over the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan Heights. The Committee further stated that this position does not preclude the applicability of the ICCPR; “the applicability of the regime of international humanitarian law does not preclude accountability of States parties under article 2, paragraph 1, of the Covenant for the actions of their authorities or agents outside their own territories, including in occupied territories”. Thereby the Committee affirmed that, “All decision makers, be they military and civilian officials, should be investigated and where relevant prosecuted and sanctioned”.
The Committee further criticized Israel’s use of administrative detention, particularly for children and Israel’s failure to incorporate the prohibition of the crime of torture in its legislation, and allegations of torture against Palestinian detainees, as well as Israel’s justification for torture under “defence of necessity cases.” Moreover, as per the committee’s recommendations, the Detention of Unlawful Combatants Law relating to the detention without trial or charge of Gazan prisoners should be repealed.
Of particular importance, the Committee also expressed its concern about the decision of Israel’s Supreme Court to uphold a ban on family visits for Gazan prisoners and recommended that the right of “security detainees” to maintain contact with their families should be maintained. It specifically stated that, “the State party should reinstate the family visit programme supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross for prisoners from the Gaza Strip”..
EUROPEAN UNION NEWS
On 12 October 2010, a spokesperson from the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued a statement expressing concern at the Israeli military court’s decision to sentence Abdallah Abu Rahma, Coordinator of the Bil’in Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, to 12 months in prison. In its statement, the U.K. Foreign Office confirmed Abdallah’s legitimate human rights work and contended that his detention “is intended to prevent him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to non violent protest against the annexation of Palestinian land to Israel”. The British embassy in Tel Aviv has raised their concerns with the Israeli government.
On 24 August 2010, Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission
issued a statement
expressing concern at Abdallah Abu Rahma’s
conviction on charges of incitement and organizing and attending demonstrations against the Wall. In particular, she defended the right of Abdallah Abu Rahma and other Palestinians to exercise “their legitimate right to protest against the separation of the barrier in a non-violent manner”. Of importance, Ms. Ashton reiterated the European Union’s position on Israel’s construction of the Wall on Palestinian land as illegal.
EU-Israel informal working group on Human Rights met on 2 September 2010 in Brussels. It was the fifth such meeting and focused on the treatment of minorities, the international human rights system and the role of civil society organizations in democracies.
Upcoming EU events
On 25 October 2010, the Sub-Committee on Human Rights at the European Parliament will hold a public hearing on “Conditions in Israeli, Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese prisons”.
Addameer EU Speaking Tour
Between 15 September and 5 October Addameer General Director Adv. Sahar Francis visited four European Union countries, including Holland, Belgium, Germany and Poland, as part of a speaking tour to raise awareness on the failures of the Israeli military court system and systematic violations against Palestinian prisoners’ rights. In particular, Adv. Francis raised Israel’s extensive use of administrative detention as a substitute for prosecution and the heightened levels of criminalization of human rights defenders participating in peaceful demonstrations against the Annexation Wall and Israel’s policies of house demolitions in East Jerusalem. She spoke at length about the EU responsibility in upholding Palestinian human rights and the need to demand accountability and justice for victims.
In lobbying meetings with the Dutch, German and Polish Ministries of Foreign Affairs, as well as meetings with representatives of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, Ms. Francis stressed the urgent need for the European Union to adopt a local strategy for the implementation of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Ms. Francis also met with a number of human rights organizations, and solidarity groups to discuss advocacy and campaign strategies advocating the rights of Palestinian prisoners.
|Click here to watch a video of Sahar Francis’ public talk, which took place at Taz Café in Berlin on 29 September 2010.
“Palestinian Political Prisoners in the Context of the Middle East Peace Process”
Upcoming Events – Addameer Speaking Tour in Canada
26 October – 5 November
Addameer is undertaking a speaking tour across Canada between 26 October and 5 November 2010. The tour will focus on the criminalization of human rights defenders working defending Palestinian human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel. Some of the public events include:
- Wednesday, 27 October 2010 at 7:00 pm, University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, Flavelle House, 78 Queen’s Park, Solarium, “From Palestine to Canada: Defending the Rights of Human RightsDefenders”, Ala Jaradat, Addameer Association and Barbara Jackman, Jackman &Associates
- Wednesday, 27 October 2010 at 12:30 p.m., Founders College, Founders Senior Common Room, York University, Toronto, “Failures of Israel’s Military Court System: Criminalization of HumanRights Defenders”
- Tuesday, 2 November 2010 at 7:00 p.m., University of Ottawa, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies, “Israel’s Political Prisoners”
For more information about the objectives of the tour and the program itself, please contact Addameer directly at email@example.com