[Pnews] Joint Complaint to the UN on the Ongoing Israeli Military Detention of 3 Palestinian Women from Birzeit University

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Oct 7 18:17:39 EDT 2020

and Addameer Submit a Joint Complaint to the UN WGAD on the Ongoing Israeli
Military Detention of Three Palestinian Female Birzeit University Students
October 7, 2020

Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (*LPHR*) and Addameer Prisoner Support
and Human Rights Association (*Addameer*) have submitted a complaint
 to the United Nations Working Group for Arbitrary Detention concerning the
Israeli military authorities ongoing unlawful arbitrary detention of three
young female Palestinian Birzeit University students from the occupied West
Bank: *Ms Layan Kayed, Ms Elyaa Abu Hijla and Ms Ruba Asi, aged 23, 21 and
20 respectively. *They have been in continuous military detention since 8
June, 1 July and 9 July 2020, and are awaiting trial after being charged
with participation and affiliation with a democratic student political
group at Birzeit University.

*Criminalising female Palestinian university students under repressive
Israeli military law that grossly infringes basic human rights*

Layan, Elyaa and Ruba were arrested and detained within one month,
indicating a disturbing pattern of specifically targeting female students
from Birzeit University. Each of the three university students have no
prior engagement with the law. They have been given identical criminal
charges for: i) affiliation with an illegal group; ii) being present during
an illegal gathering; and iii) allegations of stone throwing. Excessive and
punitive military law orders have been used to underpin these charges.

The first two charges have been unjustly applied to the peaceful exercise
of basic and fundamental human rights: participating in a democratic
university student group.  From the beginning of the military occupation in
June 1967 through to July 2019, Israel's Defence Ministry has classified
411 organisations as “hostile,” “unlawful” or “terrorist” associations
under the Defence (Emergency) Regulations (1945).[1]Members of designated
organisations can be criminally charged for their membership in or
affiliation with the group. Among the organisations so classified are all
major Palestinian political parties, including the ruling Fatah party.
University student groups have also been so designated.

This is the repressive context for the unjust imposition of criminal
charges against Layan, Elyaa and Ruba for affiliating with a legitimate
university student group and for being present at one of its meetings. They
are being criminalised and held in prolonged pre-trial detention for
peaceful exercise of their basic rights to freedom of assembly, association
and expression.

The charge of stone-throwing, which carries a maximum ten-year sentence,
appearsto be based on third person confessions obtained under the coercion
of military interrogation, rendering such evidence inherently unreliable
and arguably inadmissible.

We ask that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention examines Layan,
Elyaa and Ruba's cases from a gendered perspective and/or possibly engages
with the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls. We
also provide a list of discrete human rights and due process issues raised
by these cases for the UN body to investigate. They include:

·     the use of terrifying night-time arrest raids on the family home;

·     conditions of detention which appears to amount to degrading
treatment in breach of the prohibition on cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment under international human rights law, and their
compatibility with the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women
Prisoners and Noncustodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules);

·     interrogations without the essential safeguard of having the presence
of a lawyer;

·     charges which may be based on third person confessions obtained under
duress of military interrogation and alleged breach of the prohibition on
torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under
international human rights law;

·     no bail hearings so that students are kept in continuous pre-trial
detentionfor months following charge and awaiting trial;

·     consequential adverse impact on tertiary education and career paths
for detained students;

·     substantial risk of psychological harm as young people being unjustly
detained for a prolonged period and subjected to criminal prosecution; and

·     grave inherent risk of being held in the close confines of detention
within the context of an unprecedented global pandemic.

*Context of intensifying systemic targeting of Palestinian university
students by Israel's military, including apparent emerging pattern of
targeting female students*

The arrest, military detention and criminal charges against Layan, Elyaa
and Ruba fall within an intensifying pattern since August 2019 of the
Israeli military authorities detention of Palestinian university students
for peaceful exercise of their basic human rights of freedom of assembly,
association and expression (please see here a public statement
Birzeit University).

Israel's military authorities are acting in a manner which appears
purposefully designed to intimidate other Palestinian university students
from exercising their fundamental civil and political rights for fear of
receiving similar wholly punitive treatment.

Our complaint to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention follows only a
few months after we submitted a complaint
21 May 2020) to the same body regarding the near six-month military
administrative detention of another young female Palestinian student from
Birzeit University, Ms Shatha Hasan. Shatha was detained on secret evidence
without charge or trial after being arrested from her home in the middle of
the night on 12 December 2019. Like Elyaa, Ruba and Layan, Shatha had not
had any previous engagement with Israeli military custody.

LPHR and Addameer are alarmed at the indication of a pattern of systematic
targeting of female Palestinian university students. We are closely
monitoring this extremely troubling trend.

*What we ask for*

LPHR and Addameer have requested that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary
Detention intervene through urgent contact with the Government of Israel
and urge that Ms Layan Kayed, Ms Elyaa Abu Hijla and Ms Ruba Asiare: i)
immediately released from detention on bail; ii) their charges based on
association with a university student group be immediately annulled given
they involve a breach of international human rights law; and iii)
immediately annul charges relating to stone-throwing if they are based on
confession evidence from third persons obtained under the duress of
military interrogations as such evidence is intrinsically unreliable.

We also request that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentionpublicly
calls on Israeli military authorities to: i) cease arresting, detaining,
and/or charging Palestinian university students for their peaceful exercise
of their rights to free assembly, association and expression; ii) cease use
of the Defence (Emergency) Regulations (1945); and iii) end the use of
military courts to try civilians.

LPHR and Addameer will continue to closely monitor and work on protecting
Palestinians university students from ongoing illegitimate targeting,
harassment, humiliation and punishment which appears to be widespread,
systematic and in clear violation of basic international human rights law

*About Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR)*

LPHR <http://lphr.org.uk/> is a lawyer-based legal charity in the United
Kingdom that works on legal projects aimed at protecting and promoting
Palestinian human rights.

*About Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer)*

Addameer <http://www.addameer.org/> is a Palestinian non-governmental,
civil institution that works to support Palestinian political prisoners
held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons.
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