Al-Haq is pleased to announce that, for the first time in six years, Israel will not prevent Shawan Jabarin from leaving the West Bank. Mr. Jabarin’s travel ban, which has been in place since he became General Director of Al-Haq in 2006, has been temporarily lifted and he will travel to Geneva to meet with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Mr. Frank La Rue, early next week. The ban will be reinstated once he returns to the West Bank on Thursday 1 March.
An agreement was reached at the Israeli High Court of Justice earlier today which allows the exception to the existing travel ban on certain conditions, namely that Mr. Jabarin will travel to the United Nations offices only to meet with Mr. La Rue. As part of the agreement, Mr. Jabarin will sign a guarantee to uphold the travel conditions, on penalty of 5,000 NIS should he fail to do so. The agreement was proposed by the State Prosecutor after Michael Sfard, Mr. Jabarin’s attorney, brought a petition to the Israeli High Court seeking to overturn the arbitrary travel ban imposed by the Israeli occupying authorities.
Upon hearing news of the agreement, Mr. Jabarin stated, “I am delighted that for the first time in six years I can travel beyond the West Bank, even if it is only for five short days. I would like to sincerely thank my attorneys, Michael and Emily, and all of the civil society organisations, diplomatic representatives and United Nations offices who have supported my case. However, it is not yet over, so I hope that they will stick with me for a little longer. This is a first small crack in the dam and demonstrates that when united and resilient in our commitment to human rights we will prevail.”
Once again, part of the hearing was held in a closed session as secret evidence was presented to the judges, while Mr. Jabarin’s defence attorney was prevented to be privy of the alleged evidence against his client.
While the conditions offered by the Prosecutor were accepted by attorney Sfard, the latter requested that the Court remain seized of Mr. Jabarin’s case, as the principle issues of the travel ban must be clarified, given their disputable legality in relation to Israel’s obligations under human rights law.
Mr. Jabarin’s case received wide support from international and Israeli human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Adalah, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, B'Tselem, Gisha, Physicians for Human Rights Israel, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Rabbis for Human Rights and Yesh Din. A number of representatives of the local diplomatic community have also tirelessly assisted in Mr. Jabarin’s case.
Al-Haq and Mr. Jabarin are thankful for the presence during today’s court hearing of several diplomatic representatives, including from France, Ireland, Malta, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland as well as representatives of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and of the European Union.
In light of the proposed deal, Mr. Jabarin will be able to travel to Geneva between 27 February and 1 March 2012 to meet Mr. La Rue.
For further information:
Neill Ó Cíoráin
(+972) 02 2954646