Two Palestinian prisoners being held in administrative detention (without charges or trial), are nearing death after 63 days of a hunger strike protesting Israel’s practice of arresting and holding prisoners without charging them with a crime. Neither they nor their lawyers are permitted to see the charges or evidence against them, so they cannot answer the charges and defend themselves.
Bilal Diab was arrested on 17 August 2011, when Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) came to his home in the village of Kufr Ra’i, near Jenin, at 12:30 am. The family and a large group of friends and neighbors were sitting in the front yard, spending time together late into the night for Ramadan, when approximately 40 masked men, wearing civilian clothes, surrounded the house and entered the yard by climbing the walls of the neighbors’ houses. Bilal, along with four others, were sitting on the roof. After about 10 minutes, Israeli military jeeps arrived, accompanied by an intelligence officer.
The IOF began to throw sound bombs and shoot teargas into the yard, and then forced everyone to stand against the wall. Some of Bilal’s family members and friends were taken to a nearby store, where they were held until the arrest process was over. The rest of the group was kept in the front yard. Bilal’s brother, Issam, was thrown violently to the ground. His hands were shackled behind his back and then two soldiers stepped on his head.
Bilal and four of his friends were questioned for about 15 minutes. His four friends were then released, but Bilal was shackled, blindfolded and thrown to the ground. He was then dragged across the ground for 250 meters until reaching the military jeep. Bilal was taken to Megiddo prison, and then transferred to Salem Detention Center for interrogation.
ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION AND HUNGER STRIKE
Bilal was issued an administrative detention order for 6 months on 25 August 2011. As with all other administrative detainees, Bilal’s detention is based on secret information collected by Israeli authorities and available to the military judge but not to Bilal or his lawyer. This practice violates international humanitarian law, which permits some limited use of administrative detention in emergency situations, but requires that the authorities follow basic rules for detention, including a fair hearing at which the detainee can challenge the reasons for his or her detention. These minimum rules of due process have been clearly violated in Bilal’s case, leaving him without any legitimate means to defend himself. Read more….
Thaer Halahleh was arrested on 26 June 2010 when Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) raided his home in Kharas village, near Hebron. Approximately 50 Israeli soldiers arrived to Thaer’s house at 12:30 am. They knocked on the door, but before giving the family enough time to open it, they broke down the door and went inside. The soldiers then made all the women and children step outside the house and searched the house with two dogs. After about 40 minutes, the IOF told Thaer’s father that they had an order to arrest his son. When his father asked for the reason, the officer only told him that Thaer was a “threat to the public”. This vague phrase is frequently used by the Israeli security service when putting a Palestinian in administrative detention. Thaer was subsequently transferred to Etzion detention center.
Thaer has been consistently targeted for arrest and administrative detention by Israeli authorities. He has been arrested eight times and spent six and a half years in administrative detention total. He was first held in administrative detention in 2000. After many other arrests, he was arrested again in 2008 and spent one year in administrative detention, only to be re-arrested the following year and placed back in administrative detention.
Thaer and his wife, Shireen, have a one-year-old daughter, who was born while he was in prison. His wife was seven months pregnant when he was arrested. His daughter, Lamar, has only seen her father in visits to prison, and has been forced to get to know him through photographs.
Thaer’s mother, wife and daughter are the only family members who have previously had permission to visit him. His father and five brothers have never received permission. Since the beginning of his hunger strike, he has received one visit from his mother, wife and daughter and was then subsequently denied all family visits.
Thaer’s father and brothers have all also been arrested. His brother Shaher was arrested in 2002 and is currently in Rimon prison, serving a 17-year sentence. Read more….
Here is how you can help Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh:
Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh be released immediately and that their administrative detentions not be renewed.
Email Brigadier General Danny Efroni Military Judge Advocate General 6 David Elazar Street Harkiya, Tel Aviv Fax: +972 3 608 0366; +972 3 569 4526