Israel’s political prisoner becomes an adminstrative detainee.

Read this entry from Facebook on Mohammed Othman, how he is a politcal prisoner of Israel because of his peaceful efforts to encourage divestment, sanctions and boycott against Israel to pressure it to ease oppression of Gaza.  Before I paste in what was written about him, I’d like to point out that yes, I know there are political prisoners in Iran and in other parts of the world.  Why don’t I write about them and give them equal face time instead of being a “one trick pony?”  The reason I harp on Israel and the US is because, our media does not do it’s job in reporting on this sort of thing.  Anyone heard of Mohammed Othman from the US press?  Anyone heard of political prisoners in Iran from the US press?  Need I say any more?

I also write of Israel’s political prisoners rather than Iran’s political prisoners because, the US supports Israel massively with economic, military and moral support.  We do this while ignoring Israel’s massive human rights violations and murders.  Now for the news on Othman:

[Ramallah, 24 November 2009] On 23 November 2009, after 61 days 
of detention for the purpose of interrogation by Israeli Security 
Agency officers, human rights defender Mohammad Othman received 
his first administrative detention order. The administrative 
detention order is set for a three month period, during which 
time Mohammad will be held without charge or trial. The judicial 
review of the order is scheduled to take place on 25 November 
at the Military Court of Administrative Detainees in Ofer 
Military Base, near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

IMG_0119 (2)The administrative detention order against 
Mohammad comes just one day after a hearing on 22 November 
2009 at the Military Court of Appeals ended Mohammad’s 
interrogation period. In the Appeals Court hearing, the 
judge decided to release Mohammad because no measurable 
progress had been made during the two months he had been 
held in interrogation, no external evidence had been 
brought to the attention of the court and the military 
prosecution had been unable to formulate substantiated 
allegations or charges against him. The Appeals Court 
judge thus accepted Addameer’s appeal against the seventh 
extension of Mohammad’s detention, which had taken place 
five days earlier. At the same time, the judge ordered 
Mohammad’s release on 10,000 NIS bail (about $2,500 USD) 
and with the conditions that he not travel outside the 
occupied Palestinian territory, and that he regularly 
reports to the Israeli police. However, the military 
judge also gave the military prosecutor 24 hours to issue 
an administrative detention order against Mohammad, and 
remanded Mohammad to detention during this period. At 
6:30 p.m. on 23 November 2009, Addameer confirmed with 
the Israeli Security Agency that an administrative 
detention order had been issued against Mohammad, and 
that he would not be released.

Mohammad Othman, a long-time human rights defender and 
activist with the “Grassroots Stop the Wall Campaign”, 
was arrested at the Allenby Bridge Crossing between 
Jordan and the West Bank. On the day of his arrest, 
22 September 2009, Mohammad was on his way back to 
Ramallah from an advocacy tour in Norway where he 
had been engaged in a number of speaking events.

Addameer is alarmed by reports from Mohammad that 
he was repeatedly threatened with administrative 
detention during his two-month long interrogation 
period. Addameer believes that with these repeated 
threats, the Israeli interrogation police aimed to 
coerce Mohammad into giving a false confession to 
crimes he did not commit. Most recently, on 19 
November, after Mohammad was transferred back to 
Kishon detention center from Ohalei Keidar prison 
in Beersheba where he had been held in a so-called 
“collaborators’ cell”, he was told by one of the 
Israeli interrogators that his detention would not 
be extended again and that he would be placed under 
administrative detention if he failed to confess. 
Addameer therefore contends that Mohammad’s arrest 
and administrative detention are completely arbitrary 
and are a prime example of Israel’s use of 
administrative detention as a substitute for 
prosecution, rather than as a preventative measure 
allowed by international humanitarian law for “imperative 
reasons of security” or “if the security of the Detaining 
Power makes it absolutely necessary” (Fourth Geneva 
Convention, Articles 42 and 78).

Further, Addameer reiterates the position that 
Mohammad’s arrest constitutes a violation of a 
number of international human rights instruments, 
in particular the International Covenant on Civil 
and Political Rights and the UN Declaration on Human 
Rights Defenders. Considering that, sixty days after 
Mohammad’s arrest Israeli authorities have been unable 
to cite any legitimate suspicions or allegations to 
justify his detention, and that the Court of Appeals 
judge directed that Mohammad should be released, 
Addameer believes that Mohammad is being detained 
administratively as a punishment for his human 
rights activism. In addition, there is reason to 
believe that the Israeli military authorities use 
Mohammad’s continuous detention as an example to 
deter other activists, including those active against 
the occupation and the Annexation Wall in particular, 
from continuing their human rights work.

BACKGROUND ON ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION
Administrative detention is a procedure that allows 
the Israeli military to hold detainees indefinitely 
on secret evidence without charging them or allowing 
them to stand trial. In the occupied Palestinian West 
Bank, the Israeli army is authorized to issue 
administrative detention orders against Palestinian 
civilians on the basis of Military Order 1591. This 
order empowers military commanders to detain an 
individual for up to six months renewable periods if 
they have “reasonable grounds to presume that the 
security of the area or public security require the 
detention.” On or just before the expiry date, the 
detention order is frequently renewed. This process 
can be continued indefinitely.

There is no explicit limit to the maximum amount of 
time an individual may be administratively detained, 
leaving room for indefinite legal detention. The 
grounds on which someone can be detained under 
Military Order 1591 are also unclear, leaving it 
up to the military commanders to decide what 
constitutes “public security” and “security of the 
area”. Detainees subject to administrative detention 
orders are rarely informed of the reasons for their 
detention; neither are their lawyers. At the judicial 
review of a detention order, which is held in a closed 
hearing before a military judge, the judge can uphold, 
cancel or shorten the order. In most cases, however, 
administrative detention orders are confirmed for the 
same periods as those requested by the military 
commander. Although the detainee can appeal the 
decision at the judicial review, in practice, the 
vast majority of appeals are rejected.

For more information about administrative detention 
and Addameer’s Campaign to Stop Administrative 
Detention please visit our website: 
http://www.facebook.com/l/89755;www.addameer.info. 
For more information about Mohammad’s arrest, please 
refer to previous statements and updates on the case 
issued by Addameer and “Stop the Wall”, or directly contact:
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
Tel: +972 (0)2 296 0446 / (0)2 297 0136
Email: info@addameer.ps
Website: http://www.facebook.com/l/89755;www.addameer.info

 

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