[Pnews] Addameer: Israeli Military Harassing Rights Group Staff
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Oct 28 10:51:32 EDT 2013
HRW on harassment of Addameer: Israel: Military Harassing Rights
by samidoun <http://samidoun.ca/?author=1>
/The following statement, on Israel's harassment of Addameer Prisoner
Support and Human Rights Association <http://addameer.org>, was issued
by Human Rights Watch
on October 27, 2013:/
(Jerusalem) – Israel
should stop harassing members of Addameer, a rights group that provides
legal services and advocates for the rights of Palestinians in
detention. The Israeli military has imposed severe restrictions and
penalties on Addameer’s staff, either without even alleging any violent
activity, or without due process.
Most recently, on October 21, 2013, the military prosecutor ordered a
four-month administrative detention for an accountant working with the
group. Israeli authorities had arrested the accountant, Samer al-Arbin,
in September and held him in investigative detention for more than three
weeks without charge before ordering his administrative detention.
Administrative detention allows the authorities to hold him without
charging him or revealing any evidence against him.
“The Israeli military’s apparent persecution of a prisoners’ rights
group, especially without allowing the individuals to defend themselves,
is a prime example of the injustices the group seeks to counter,”
saidJoe Stork <http://www.hrw.org/bios/joe-stork>, deputy Middle East
director. “The military should stop harassing Addameer’s employees on
the basis of vague or secret evidence.”
In September, the military arrested and charged a defense lawyer working
with the group, Anas Barghouthi, with membership in a banned political
organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP),
mainly on the basis of evidence about his role organizing nonviolent
demonstrations more than one year ago. Based on the charge sheet, he was
not accused of any violent activity. He denies the charges. The military
also renewed a travel ban
Addameer’s chairman, Abdulatif Ghaith, preventing him from traveling
from his home in East Jerusalem to his office in the West Bank, on the
basis that he presents a “security risk,” but has not presented any
evidence to support that claim.
Addameer provides legal aid to detainees held by Israeli authorities as
well as by the Palestinian Authority, conducts research and advocacy on
prisoners’ rights issues, and trains prisoners and lawyers on applicable
Israeli forces raided
offices in December 2012 and seized equipment and documents, including
the files of lawyers representing prisoners. Since the military has
failed to provide any justification for the raid or the seizure of the
equipment and documents, it should immediately return the material and
compensate Addameer and the other organizations affected, Human Rights
The Israeli military arrested
fieldworker with the group, Ayman Nasser, in October 2012, accusing him
of participating in demonstrations by the PFLP but not of any violent
activity. He was convicted of membership in the group and is serving a
13-month prison term. He was denied access to a lawyer and alleged that
he was questioned for up to 20 hours at a time, with his hands shackled
painfully behind his back, during a prolonged, 39-day interrogation.
Israeli forces arrested Barghouthi, 30, the defense lawyer, on September
15, while he was driving toward the “Container” checkpoint between the
West Bank cities of Bethlehem and Ramallah. His mother, who was also in
the car, told Human Rights Watch that soldiers approached the vehicle as
it neared the checkpoint, handcuffed Barghouthi, removed him from the
car, and took the car keys and the identification documents of the other
“The soldiers were running toward the car saying, ‘That’s him!’ in
Hebrew,” she said. “There was a six-year-old girl traveling with us.
They took Anas out, but kept the rest of us in the car for
two-and-a-half hours until they let us go.”
The Israeli military prosecutor charged Barghouthi on September 17 with
“membership” and “holding a post or position” in an “unlawful
association” under articles 85(a)(1) and (2) of the 1945 Defense
(Emergency) Regulations, as incorporated into Israeli military law.
According to the charge sheet, in May and August 2012, Barghouthi asked
another man to “bring kaffiyehs [men’s headdresses] and t-shirts from
the Workers’ Union,” which the military considers to be part of the
PFLP, to a demonstration in Ramallah; wrote and prepared slogans and
posters for the demonstration; contributed money for these activities;
and met and discussed such PFLP activities. The alleged activities
involved a nonviolent demonstration inside a Palestinian population
center, which did not approach Israeli settlers or security forces.
At a hearing at the Israeli Ofer military court on October 22, a
military judge agreed to release Barghouthi on 12,000 shekels (US
$3,400) bail during trial proceedings against him because the evidence
against him consisted of statements from other detainees about alleged
activities that occurred more than a year ago, and did not prove his
identity or that he is a security threat. The prosecution did not appeal
the release order.
Barghouthi has no prior convictions. Officials from Israel’s security
service, the Shin Bet, questioned Barghouthi twice in 2009, but each
time released him the same day, his mother said. In one instance, he was
questioned after officials at the Israeli-controlled Allenby border
crossing between the West Bank and Jordan barred him from traveling into
Jordan. He had planned to travel on to Qatar, where he was to visit his
“The Israelis wouldn’t let her travel to the West Bank because she
didn’t have a residency permit, and he couldn’t travel to her,”
Barghouthi’s mother said. Barghouthi and his fiancée broke off the
Israeli forces arrested Addameer’s accountant, al-Arbin, 36, a resident
of Ramallah, on September 23 and held him in “interrogative detention”
at the Moscobiyeh or Russian Compound detention facility in Jerusalem.
Israeli military law allows for interrogators to question a suspect for
up to 90 days without charge.
On October 21, an Israeli military court issued an “administrative
detention” order against al-Arbin. Under military laws, administrative
detainees are not charged or informed of the reason for their detention,
and they are rarely allowed to see or challenge any evidence against
them. Israel’s position is that such secrecy is necessary to protect the
security of Palestinian informants who provide the information that is
the basis of the detention.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has rejected that
justification, and held in 1994, for instance, that “Individual liberty
cannot be sacrificed for the [Israeli] Government's inability either to
collect evidence or to present it in an appropriate form.”In 2010, UN
Committee on Human Rights, which monitors state compliance with the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, concluded that
Israel’s practice of administrative detention “infringes detainees’
rights to a fair trial” and called on Israel to inform detainees
“immediately” of the charges against them, “provide them with
information to prepare their defense,” among other significant reforms.
Israeli forces first arrested al-Arbin in January 2003, and a military
court sentenced him to 40 months in prison for membership in the PFLP. A
military appeals court reduced the sentence to 30 months, an Addameer
spokesperson told Human Rights Watch. Two months before the end of his
sentence, a military court ordered al-Arbin to be held in
“administrative detention” for an additional four months.
Military courts renewed al-Arbin’s administrative detention twice, for a
total of 10 months, before his release in 2006. Israeli forces arrested
al-Arbin again in March 2007 and held him in administrative detention
until August 2008.
The military renewed the travel ban against Addameer chairman Ghaith on
September 11, keeping him from traveling from his home in East
Jerusalem, which Israel considers to be part of its territory, to the
rest of the West Bank, where Addameer’s office is located. The ban
expires in March 2014. The military first imposed the ban on72-year-old
Ghaith in 2011, saying it was necessary to maintain security and public
order in the West Bank.
Israel’s Interior Ministry also banned Ghaith from traveling abroad for
six months in 2012 and 2013 on the basis that he constituted a threat to
“state security.” That ban was not renewed. Neither the military nor the
Interior Ministry has published any evidence to support their claims
Israel is obliged to respect the right to freedom of association,
including in the occupied Palestinian territory. Under international
law, governments should generally not criminalize merely supporting or
participating in nonviolent political activities.
The PFLP, a left-wing political faction that forms part of the Palestine
Liberation Organization, has advocated “armed struggle” for the
“liberation of Palestine.” Its armed wing claimed responsibility for
attacks that killed Israeli civilians, most recently in 2004. In 2001
the PFLP claimed responsibility for killing the Israeli tourism
minister, in reprisal for Israeli forces’ killing of the PFLP leader.
“The Israeli authorities should let Addameer’s employees get on with
their human rights work, not turn them into victims of arbitrary abuses
themselves,” Stork said.
*samidoun <http://samidoun.ca/?author=1>* | October 27, 2013 at 7:00 pm
| URL: http://wp.me/p2cx3f-Qe
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