Suleiman Abu Ghosh

Age:
16 years
Address:
Qalandia Refugee Camp
Marital Status:
Single
Date of Arrest:
13.01.2019
Prison:
Ofer Detention Center, Prison, and Military Court (&& Beit El Settlement Compound)
District:
Jerusalem
Last Update:
20.02.2019

Arrest

The Israeli occupation forces invaded Suleiman Abu Ghosh’s house, located in Qalandia Refugee Camp, on Sunday 13 January 2019 at 2 am. Since Suleiman was not present at the time of the raid, the Israeli occupation forces informed Suleiman’s family that he is has to turn himself in. Furthermore, Suleiman’s family was threatened with arrest and demolition of their house and his younger brother, who is 11 years-old, was interrogated on the spot. During the time of the raid, the family received a phone call from an officer of the Israeli occupation forces who notified them that the armed forces would not leave the house until Suleiman was handed over for arrest. After several hours of attempts to arrest Suleiman by threatening his family and calling his phone, which was turned off, the Israeli armed forces finally withdrew from the household. However, the armed forces told Suleiman’s family that he must be turned in to the armed forces that are available on Qalandia military checkpoint once he returns home or when his whereabouts are known. After a while, Suleiman came back home and was told about what had happened. Then, he went to Qalandia checkpoint to surrender himself. Yet, after about five hours of being detained, he was interrogated by the Israeli occupation forces that were present on Qalandia military checkpoint and then he was released. After half an hour, an officer of the Israeli occupation forces called Suleiman’s family to inform them that his release was a mistake and that he should surrender himself at Ofer prison. At 12:30 pm, Suleiman admitted himself in front of Ofer prison.

Interrogation

The Israeli soldiers detained Suleiman in a room at Ofer prison where he was subjected to a thorough inspection. Then he was taken to a military jeep where he was blindfolded with a piece of cloth and his hands were tied forward with plastic restraints. He was then transferred by a military jeep to another room where he was inspected again. After his medical examination, Suleiman was given “Shabaas” prison clothes and then transferred to the minor’s section in Ofer prison. Suleiman remained in the minor’s section for a period of two days before he was taken to be interrogated. The main focus of Suleiman’s interrogation concerned his publications and pictures posted on his Facebook page. Suleiman was also interrogated regarding his brother’s death in 2016 and the reasons as to why his brother had carried out a stabbing attack. The interrogation lasted for an hour and then Suleiman was returned to the minor section in Ofer prison.

The Legal Status

After about a week of Suleiman’s arrest, a list of charges was filed against him in which it included incitement on social media, specifically Facebook, alleging that his posts conveyed support for a “hostile organization.” In addition, the military prosecution claimed that Suliman was impacting the public opinion in his area in a manner that would affect the public’s safety and order. Due to his online posts, he was also accused of supporting the actions and objectives of a “hostile organization.” His publications were perceived as praise regarding the martyrs and symbols of Hamas, which is classified by the occupation forces as an “illegal” organization. The list included the number of comments and likes that were made on the posts. The occupation policy continues to violate the Palestinians’ rights to freedom of opinion and expression where they are continuously prosecuted because of their posts that express their opinions and beliefs. Therefore, the occupation forces are in direct violation of legitimate and protected rights under international conventions and agreements. The military prosecution requested the extension of Suleiman’s detention until his court proceedings are enforced. However, the military judged decided to release Suleiman on bail of 4000 NIS and appointed him to a court date, 6 February 2019. Unfortunately, the prosecution requested that Suleiman’s detention be extended for 72 hours to issue an administrative detention order against him. The military judge claimed that after he reviewed the material, he was convinced that there is a possibility of issuing an administrative detention order against Suleiman. He then, decided to reduce the period requested by the prosecution to 48 hours instead. Suleiman’s arrest was extended to 23 January 2019 in order to be issued with administrative detention.

Administrative Detention…a Secret File that Follows Children

Suleiman, a 16-year-old child was issued an administrative detention order on 22 January 2019 for 4 months that can be renewed indefinitely. During the confirmation session, the military judge claimed that he was convinced that there cannot be any details disclosed about the intelligence information that he acquires for security reasons in the region. He also said that Suleiman’s file must remain confidential and confirmed that he reached the conclusion that the issuance of administrative detention orders are for security reasons. He also asserted that the intelligence information in his possession are “qualitative” and indicate that there would be a threat to safety and security in the area if Suliman was released. Even though it was argued that Suleiman is a child without any indications of a “security past,” and without any organizational affiliation, the judge strongly confirmed Suleiman’s administrative detention without reducing the period whatsoever. Furthermore, the judge stated that Suleiman was arrested because of his communication with individuals who pose “a threat to the security’s area and the safety’s public.” The military judge also argued that the classified information that he acquires confirms that administrative detention is the only way to prohibit and prevent the “danger” that would arise from the detainee if he was released. As a result, the judge confirmed Suliman’s administrative detention for 4 months. Although Suliman’s issuance of administrative detention was confirmed, the occupation authorities are still in trial for Suleiman’s charge of “incitement” which was issued to him alongside administrative detention. Suleiman had a court hearing on 6 February 2019, but it was postponed to 6 March 2019 to continue his trial regarding the alleged charge of “incitement.”

The Child…Under the Hammer of Revenge

The detainment of the child Suleiman Abu Ghosh is part of a systematic policy that the occupation forces practices to violate and suppress the basic human rights and freedoms of Palestinians. Suleiman’s case proves that the occupation authorities claimed that he carried out “incitement” through his posts on his Facebook page while acquiring the intention of arresting him and keeping him inside the prison. This is portrayed through the prosecution’s request of keeping Suleiman in jail for the possibility of issuing an administrative detention order after the military judge decided to release him on bail. The Israeli occupation forces uses the policy of administrative detention as a tool of repression and revenge against Palestinian prisoners, especially in the case of Suleiman since he is a brother of a martyr, who the occupation forces claims was involved in a stabbing attack in 2016. The occupation authorities not only executed Suleiman's brother and demolished his house, but arrested Suleiman arbitrarily on the anniversary of his brother’s death. The military court’s decision of releasing Suleiman on bail conveys that the court was not convinced that he posed a serious threat or that he committed a long-term offense. Yet, an administrative detention order was still issued against him to keep him in detention. This indicates that the decision of the occupation’s intelligence is stronger than the court’s decision. The misuse of power was highlighted when the judged claimed that the information regarding Suleiman’s case is confidential in which his lawyers are not allowed access to the files, and thus, not able to respond to the allegations. The essence of fair trial principles are undermined. The issuance of an administrative detention order against Suleiman is just a part of the occupation policy of the arbitrary issuance of administrative detention orders against Palestinians. This is contrary of international law since detention cannot be the general rule, especially for those who are awaiting trial. International conventions guarantee it, specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states that: “… the detention of persons awaiting trial shall not be the general rule, but their release may be subject to safeguards to ensure that they are present at trial…” Once the occupation authorities issued an administrative detention order against Suleiman, it proved that they use administrative detention as a mean of revenge against the prisoners, arbitrarily and illegally. Also, the occupation forces circumvent the decisions of the military courts by keeping the detainee in detention even if the court decides to release him/her.

Family… and Collective Punishment

Suleiman’s family is composed of four brothers and three sisters where they reside in Qalandia Refugee Camp, north of occupied Jerusalem. The family lost a member, a son and an older brother, three years ago, when Hussein Abu Ghosh was killed on 25 January 2016 by the Israeli occupation forces. The reason of his assignation was an alleged stabbing attack in the settlement of Beit Horon that is placed on the village of Beit Awr al-Fawqa. Since then, the family has been subject to various types of restrictions and collective punishment by the occupation. For instance, the body of Hussein Abu Ghosh was detained for four days before the occupation forces returned his body back to his family. The Israeli armed forces also demolished the family’s house two months after the assassination of their son. An order was issued prohibiting the restoration of the house. There has been a continuation of collective punishment mechanisms imposed by the occupation authorities against the family of Abu Ghosh. As revenge from the family, the Israeli armed forces arrested their second child, Suleiman, on the anniversary of Hussein’s death.