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Palestinians in the West Bank Arrested and Ill-Treated in Detention

Saturday, 23 August 2014 09:35 - [11 -17 August] - Ref.: 99/2014
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Israeli-army-arrest-palestinianIn the past week Al-Haq has documented the arrest of 115 Palestinians, including four children, in the West Bank governorates of Jenin, Tulkarem, Tubas, Nablus, Qalqiliya, Salfit, Hebron, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

On 13 August, Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) carried out simultaneous house raids and arrests in several Palestinian neighbourhoods and villages in Jerusalem, including al-‘Essawiya, the Old City, al-Tur, al-Suwana, Silwan, Wadi al-Joz and Shu’fat. At least 62 Palestinians were arrested in these incidents and in some cases confrontations broke out between Palestinian youth and the IOF.

Yazan Maher ‘Ebed – al-‘Essawiya – Jerusalem

On 13 August 2014 at approximately 2:30 A.M Yazan, 18, was blindfolded, had his hands tied behind his back with plastic chains and was taken from his house by Israeli forces. He was put inside a car along with other Palestinians who had been arrested. The detainees were first taken to an Israeli military camp, situated to the east of al-‘Essawiya, where they were searched. Yazan’s arms and legs were tied to another detainee and both of them were put into a vehicle, which remained stationary for six hours in high temperatures with the windows shut. During that time, Yazan was not given food or water and was prohibited from using the toilet. The officers insulted him and the other detainees by cursing their mothers. The car finally began to move and they were taken to the Russian Compound in Jerusalem. There, Yazan was detached from the other detainee, his blindfold was removed and the plastic chains around his wrists were replaced with metal ones. Yazan recalls seeing approximately 100 Palestinian detainees in the yard at the Russian Compound.

After Yazan’s hands had been cuffed again, he was put inside a prisoners’ bus, along with 30 other detainees. It drove for about an hour and a half to al-Ramla prison. Throughout this time, Yazan was still not given water or food and his requests to use the toilet were refused. Half an hour after the bus had arrived at al-Ramla prison, it set off again for a further half an hour to a police station in Lod where the detainees were made to disembark from the bus and stand on a pavement. Approximately half an hour later, Israeli officers began taking the detainees one by one into tents pitched on the police station grounds. After forty minutes, Yazan was taken inside one of the tents, which was divided into three rooms. He was strip-searched and then taken with the rest of the detainees and seated on plastic chairs facing a wall. They all had their hands and feet tied behind their backs and were kept in that position for approximately seven hours, during which they were brought a sandwich each.

After seven hours had passed, Yazan was taken into another building where two Israeli officers interrogated him. He was accused of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces – an accusation that Yazan denied. The interrogation lasted for about an hour and a half and there was no lawyer present to represent Yazan. During this time, Yazen was allowed to use the toilet.

Afterwards, he was brought back to the yard where he was seated in the same position, with his hands and legs tied behind his back. The officers slapped the back of the detainees’ necks, including Yazan, who was slapped twice. At around 6:00 P.M. the interrogation sessions ended and the detainees were taken into offices where they were strip-searched again before being taken onto the bus.

After remaining stationary with the detainees on board for two hours, the bus began driving towards an Israeli court in Rishon Litzion. There, the detainees were all placed in a waiting room where they were untied and brought food. Yazan was in the waiting room for about four hours, after which he was brought before a judge where a lawyer represented him. His detention was extended until 15 August 2014. Following the court hearing, Yazan was brought back to the waiting room where he waited until approximately 2:00 A.M. During that time, Yazan could not sleep as the floor was hard, the room was crowded and the toilet smelt bad. He was then taken to an underground room where he was strip-searched and then brought back to the bus along with approximately 40 other detainees. They were then transferred back to the Russian Compound where they were strip-searched once again, after which Yazan was transferred to a cell occupied by 13 other detainees.

On 15 August, Yazan was interrogated and was once again accused of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, which he again denied. He was questioned about some young Palestinians who he denied knowing. At approximately 2:00 P.M., Yazan signed his release papers on the condition of house arrest for five days and a fine of 5,000 shekels (approximately 1,409 USD) should he leave the house during those five days. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 9848/2014)

Mu’ath Nasr Ghanem – Beit Lid – Tulkarem

On 18 July 2014, Israeli Intelligence officers at the Allenby Bridge arrested Mu’ath, 30, while he was on his way back to the West Bank following a job interview abroad, Mu’ath was held at the Israeli prison of al-Jalama and was given a court hearing for 21 July. During this hearing his detention was extended for 11 more days. On 22 July, Mu’ath was transferred to Ofar Prison near Ramallah. Mu’ath’s lawyer informed Nasr, Mu’ath’s father, that his son had been accused of being part of an enemy organisation, providing services for the organisation and meeting with hostile leaders abroad.

On 31 July, Mu’ath’s detention was extended for 15 further days. Following an appeal, this was reduced to ten days. During that time, Nasr could not visit his son. On 10 August, Mu’ath’s detention was extended for three more days. On the same day, his lawyer submitted a request to the judge that he be transferred to a medical and neurology clinic due to the state of his. On 12 August, another court hearing was held with Nasr and his lawyer present. The judge extended Mu’ath’s detention by six more days but the lawyer objected due to Mu’ath’s medical condition. As a result, the extension was reduced to three days and another hearing was scheduled for 14 August 2014. Following the 14 August court hearing, Mu’ath was transferred to Majido prison due to his deteriorating medical condition.

Mu’ath was released on 14 August on a 3,000-shekel (approximately 847 USD) bail and was immediately taken to the Arab Specialized Hospital in Nablus. By the time he arrived at the hospital, Mu’ath’s body was stiff and rigid. He immediately underwent medical examinations and treatment. Nasr states that he could see marks on his son’s legs and arms left over from metal chains and that he saw some cuts on his right wrist and right foot. He also learned from the doctors that Mu’ath is suffering from seizures and the inability to speak as a result of the medicine given to him while in detention. According to Nasr, his son was perfectly fine before he was detained but his medical and psychological condition deteriorated following his detention and interrogation. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 9847/2014)

Al-Haq calls upon Israel to cease its practice of arbitrarily arresting Palestinians and to strictly abide by its legal obligations under international law, including the right of all persons deprived of their liberty to be treated with humanity and respect for their dignity. In both of the above cases, Al-Haq condemns the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment that the Palestinian detainees suffered at the hands of the Israeli soldiers and police officers both during the arrest process and in custody. Under international humanitarian law (IHL), Israel has an obligation to ensure that Palestinian detainees are held within the frontiers of the occupied territory itself and are provided with the medical treatment required by their state of health.