Name: Hassan Yasser Hassan Karajah
Date of Birth: 5 December 1984
Date of Arrest: 23 January 2013
Place of Detention: Jalameh Interrogation Center
Occupation: Youth Coordinator at Stop the Wall Grassroots Organization
On 22 January 2013 at 2:30 AM, the Karajah family woke up to the sound of the front door of their home being broken down, and then, to their shock, Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) surrounding them in their home. About twenty soldiers raided the house and woke up all the family members, including young Baghdad, eight years old, who was woken despite her mother begging the soldiers to leave her alone.
The soldiers separated the family by gender into two rooms as they searched and ransacked the entire house including clothes, furniture and books. They photographed documents, letters, family photos and awards. The raid continued for three hours while the family was held in two rooms. The IOF confiscated three computers, cell phones, paperwork and family photos during the raid, but all of the damage is unclear at this moment due to the level of destruction in the home.
During the raid, female IOF soldiers attempted to strip search Hassan’s mother and sister (Sumoud), and eventually conducted a partial strip search of them after their refusal. An intelligence officer and several IOF soldiers attacked Sumoud with threats and curses. It should be mentioned that Sumoud is a recently released prisoner who was freed in the prisoner exchange of 2011, after serving two years of a twenty year sentence.
The soldiers interrogated the males, asked for identification, personal information and phone numbers. Hassan was interrogated outside of the home, then arrested, shackled and blindfolded and driven away in military jeeps. The IOF did not inform the family of the reason behind the arrest nor where he was to be taken. He is now being held in Jalameh Interrogation Center near Jenin.
Hassan has been working for the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (Stop The Wall) for two years as the Youth Programs Coordinator and is considered a human rights defender. He previously worked as a youth coordinator for the Partnership for Development Project, an umbrella for three Palestinian civil society organizations: Tamer Institution, Ma’an Development Center and Bissan Center for Research and Development.
Hassan was also a youth ambassador for the Arab Thought Forum and represented Palestinian youth in the many Arab League Conferences in Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkey, Sweden and Austria, where he presented about Palestinian youth, their abilities and needs.
Hassan is also a member of the Handala Cultural Center in Saffa, a social and cultural center that benefits Saffa’s residents since the beginning of the early 1990s. He is also a coordinator and an activist in the Arab Thought Forum, specifically in “Tijwal Safar” a project that conducts tours for Palestinian youth in the vulnerable areas that are at threat of being confiscated for settlements. The project aims to educate Palestinian youth about Palestinian land and history Hassan is also active in conducting youth trainings that aim to raise awareness and educate the youth about mass campaigns and organizing society and local press to activate the role of youth in journalism.
He is also active in many national and humanitarian issues, especially in the prisoners and Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movements. In 2011, Hassan led a campaign that was initiated by the youth movement that called for Palestinian unity.
Hassan suffers from an infection and sprained back as a result of an accident, and requires treatment and continuous medical supervision. On the night of his arrest, the IOF refused to allow him to take his medicine.
Hassan was engaged a month ago to Ms. Sundous Mahsiri and planned to have their wedding this summer. Their hopes were crushed by the IOF on the night of his arrest.
Hassans arrest wasn’t the first in the Karajah family. His sister Sumoud was arrested on 25 November 2009, and sentenced to twenty years. She is one of the female prisoners that was released in the prisoners exchange deal on 18 October 2011, after serving two years in prison. Hassan’s brother Muntasser was arrested on 18 September 2012 and sentenced to ten months and a 2000 shekel fine. He is still in prison in Ofer.
For both Muntasser and Sumoud, the family visits were banned for “security reasons” during the entire duration of their arrest, except for one visit for their mother who was allowed to visit Muntasser once.
"Human rights defenders" are formally defined as persons who work peacefully for any or all of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Hassan clearly falls within the category, in that his activities are peaceful in nature and aimed at the promotion of human rights.