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Name: Samer Tarek Ahmad Mohammad Issawi
Date of Birth: 16 December 1979
Date of Arrest: 7 July 2012
Legal Status: Awaiting Trial
Marital Status: Single
“I will not wait for another 'Shalit’ to gain my freedom within a deal that is not respected by the Occupation, I will attain my freedom from hunger striking”
- Samer Issawi from Moskobiyya detention center
UPDATE 28 May 2013 – Samer ended his hunger strike after a deal was brokered with the IPS on 23 April 2013 for his release to his home in Jerusalem, scheduled for 23 December 2013. Samer refused several deportation attempts during his intermittent hunger strike, which lasted for more than eight months.
ARREST AND INTERROGATION
Samer Issawi was released in the historic prisoners exchange deal on the 18 October 2011 along with 1,027 other prisoners. He was initially arrested in April 2004 and sentenced to thirty years, of which he served ten before his release. After his release in 2011, Samer continued to be subjected to the Occupation’s arbitrary arrest practices. According to his sister Shireen: “The occupation forces used to detain him several times each month, and sometimes they held him for more than 10 hours in police stations and interrogation centers.”
Samer Issawi was the first Jerusalem ID card holder to be re-arrested after his release in the prisoner exchange deal. Seven ex-prisoners have been re-arrested after their release in the prisoner exchange, and several of them are being subjected to Military Order 1651, Article 186, in which a special military committee can rule that they complete their previous sentence based on a “secret file” that is not available to their lawyer or the ex-prisoner. This is a clear violation of international human rights and humanitarian law standards, as well as a violation of the prisoner exchange deal.
Samer was re-arrested on 7 July 2012 at the “Jaba” checkpoint northwest of Jerusalem. He was transferred to Moscobiya Detention Center and was detained there for 28 days, where he was subjected to strenuous interrogation for up to 22 hours a day as well as psychological torture such as sleep deprivation. Samer was denied his right to see a lawyer for 23 days as a tactic to pressure him during his interrogation and to isolate him.
CHARGES AND LEGAL STATUS
Samer currently has cases in both the Jerusalem Magistrate Court and the Military Court. In the Jerusalem Magistrate Court, he is being accused of
violating the terms of his conditional release by entering West Bank areas.
Samer also is being charged within a military committee formed under Military Order 1651 Article 186 (commonly referred to as the “Shalit Committee), which is detaining Samer based on secret information that is not accessible to him or his lawyer, and is requesting that he complete his previous sentence. Samer was previously sentenced to thirty years, of which he served ten, making his current potential sentencing twenty years.
On 21 February 2013, the Magistrate Court in Jerusalem ruled that Samer be sentenced to eight months beginning from the date of his arrest on 7 July 2012. However, it is important to clarify that this sentence in the Magistrate Court is in addition to the possible sentencing under Article 186 in the Military Court, in which he will continue the remainder of his previous sentence.
Samer announced a hunger strike on 1 August 2012 in protest of his re-arrest and re-trial based on secret information, disabling him from being able to defend himself. Samer has been on both partial and complete hunger strikes since 1 August 2012, and is demanding his immediate release. Samer maintains that the hunger strike is the only weapon he has to gain his freedom.
Samer is from Issawiya, Jerusalem. He has six brothers and two sisters, and is the brother of the martyr Fadi Issawi, who was murdered by the Israeli Occupying Forces in 1994 during the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre. Samer is also the brother of Medhat Issawi, who has spent 19 years in detention, and Shireen Issawi, who was detained for the duration of 2010.
BETWEEN RELEASES AND ARRESTS
According to Samer’s family he is a very optimistic person and a lover of life. During his short freedom, he had established a grant for an economic project and was hoping to get married and start a family. However, the Occupation denied Samer from reaching these goals when they arrested him less
than a year after his release.
Here is how you can help Samer Issawi:
*Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that Samer Issawi be released immediately.
- Brigadier General Danny Efroni
Military Judge Advocate General
6 David Elazar Street
Harkiya, Tel Aviv
Fax: +972 3 608 0366; +972 3 569 4526
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon
OC Central Command Nehemia Base, Central Command
Neveh Yaacov, Jerusalam
Fax: +972 2 530 5741
- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak
Ministry of Defense
37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
Fax: +972 3 691 6940 / 696 2757
- Col. Eli Bar On
Legal Advisor of Judea and Samaria PO Box 5
Beth El 90631
Fax: +972 2 9977326
*Write to your own elected representatives urging them to pressure Israel to release S and to put an end to such an unjust, arbitrary and cruel system of incarceration without trial.