Date of birth: 01/03/1991
Date of arrest: 15/12/2008
Age at arrest: 17
Place of residence: Nablus, Balata refugee camp
Place of detention: Ketziot prison (Negev)
Charge: no charge - administrative detention
Number of renewals: one
File number: 3189/08
Postal address: Ketziot Prison, P.O. Box 13, 841020, Israel
ARREST AND ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION
Rami was arrested by the Israeli soldiers from his home on 15 December 2008. At 2:30 am, the family was woken up by a loud banging at the door. Nearly 15 soldiers stormed into the house and started searching the entire building ordering all of the residents, including children, to wait on the side of the street.
Then, they proceeded to a violent search of Rami’s apartment breaking doors, chairs and other pieces of furniture, throwing clothes and personal belongings on the floor. The entire search lasted around one and a half hour. From the moment the army entered the house, Rami, specifically, was told to leave the house, and stand by one of the military jeeps. Then he was blindfolded and shackled. The soldiers also placed tape over his mouth and threw him on the ground in front of his family. Despite Rami’s father constant requests, the soldiers refused to remove the tape. Only when the commander of the area arrived, did the soldiers agree to remove the tape. Then, he started interrogating Rami about his personal and social background as well as about his family and neighbors. Although Rami’s mother was in shock and clearly needed medical treatment, the soldiers prevented the family from calling an ambulance. After the Israeli army had left, she was rushed to the hospital and given tranquilizers.
As for Rami, he was taken in a military jeep to Huwarra provisional detention centre. During the transfer he was repeatedly beaten with a rifle on his body, including his head. Even though he started bleeding from the head, the soldiers continued beating him and only after a while did they take him for medical treatment inside the provisional detention centre. Eight days after Rami’s arrest, his family was informed that he was placed under administrative detention, without charge or trial. Indeed, a six month administrative detention order was issued against Rami. The prosecution argued that Rami was active in a political group, however it did not disclose the nature or the type of his activities. In addition, no serious interrogation was conducted aiming at answering these questions and prior to the issuance of the administrative detention order. On 28 December 2008, he was brought before the Administrative Detainees Court in Ofer Military base for a judicial review of the order, where military judge Michael Ben David, decided to reduce the order to a four-month period - until 15 April 2009. At the same time, he confirmed the prosecution’s allegations while failing to provide more information on the type of the activities Rami was allegedly involved prior to his arrest. He also stated that Rami could not be interrogated as no information can be disclosed to him, however there is no sufficient information either to issue a list of charges. Thus, military judge stated that the “secret evidence” is sufficient to prove the risk stemming from his activities and justify his detention. The judge however, decided to reduce the order from the initial 6 months requested by the prosecution to 4 months taking into consideration’s Rami’s young age.
Rami’s lawyer appealed the judge’s decision, but on 27 January 2009, the appeal hearing confirmed the order. On 15 April however, Rami was not released. Instead, a second administrative detention order was issued against him for a period of 4 months until 14 August 2009. The order was subsequently confirmed at the judicial review which took place on 22 April 2009. On 24 May, Addameer’s appeal against the extension of the order was rejected now setting Rami’s possible - but by no means certain release – for 14 August 2009.
Rami was arrested once before, at the age of 16. In November 2007 he was held in Huwwara provisional detention centre, outside of Nablus, for a period of eight days during which he was interrogated.
Rami’s Detention conditions in Keziot Prison (Negev)
Rami spent the first two months of his detention in Ofer prison in the central West Bank. Later he was transferred to Ketziot prison, where he is currently being held.
Located in the heart of the Negev desert near the southern Israel-Egyptian border, Keziot prison is one of the largest prisons in Israel, accommodating around 2,595 prisoners as of December 2008 including a large number of the 550 Palestinian administrative detainees held in Israeli prisons. The prison was originally an Israeli military camp and is declared a ‘closed military zone’.
Keziot prison is overcrowded and prisoners are forced to live in unhygienic conditions. It is surrounded by barbed wire fence and split into corridors that are monitored by control towers and heavily armed guards. Although the prison has sufficient ventilation and natural light (being outside), prisoners live in extreme conditions nonetheless. Like Megiddo and Ofer, prisoners in Keziot live in threadbare tents that do not provide adequate protection against the desert’s extreme weather in the winter or summer. In addition, the tents are poorly maintained and suffer tears, which leads to water entering the living quarters when it rains. The camp is divided into 3 sections (A-B-C), which are then divided into 10 further sections except Section C, which is divided into 6. Each section contains 6 tents holding 20 prisoners each.
At the moment of arrest, Rami was in twelfth grade and studying for Tawjihi, the final high school matriculation examination. He has now applied for the permission to take his exam in prison. He is a member of Jaffa Cultural Club in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus where he is involved in a number of cultural and social activities and projects. He intended to apply for university education abroad and hoped to study law. From the moment of Rami’s arrest, his family was able to see him only twice - once when he was still detained in Ofer prison, outside of the West Bank city of Ramallah and once following his transfer to Ketziot. Only his parents and youger siblings – Ahmad and Razan, both aged under 16 – are allowed to visit him. His sisters – Maram and Alaa, both university students – have so far been continuously denied the permit to entry Israel and as such visit Rami in prison.
Here is how you can help Rami Shelbayeh:
Send Rami letters of support to his postal address in prison
Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that Rami be released immediately and that his administrative detention not be renewed.
Write to your own elected representatives urging them to pressure Israel to release Rami and to put an end to such an unjust, arbitrary and cruel system of incarceration without trial.