[Pnews] Addameer: Israeli Military Harassing Rights Group Staff

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Oct 28 10:51:32 EDT 2013




    HRW on harassment of Addameer: Israel: Military Harassing Rights
    Group Staff
    <http://samidoun.ca/2013/10/hrw-on-harassment-of-addameer-israel-military-harassing-rights-group-staff/>

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 
<http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/10/27/israel-military-harassing-rights-group-staff> 
on October 27, 2013:/

(Jerusalem) – Israel 
<http://www.hrw.org/middle-eastn-africa/israel-palestine>’s military 
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 
<http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/10/26/israel-end-arbitrary-restrictions-rights-group-officials> against 
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 
international law.

Israeli forces raided 
<http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/12/12/israel-stop-raids-west-bank-rights-groups> Addameer’s 
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 
Watch said.

The Israeli military arrested 
<http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/10/26/israel-end-arbitrary-restrictions-rights-group-officials> a 
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 
passengers.

“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 
then-fiancée.

“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 
engagement.

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 
against Ghaith.

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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