Update 28 (22 December 2009):
quick update on Mohammad. His administrative detention order expired today, however, the judge decided to extend the order till 22 January 2010. The judicial review of this new administrative detention order will be held on December 28 at Ofer prison.
Addameer will bring out a detailed statement in the next coming days.
Update 27 (16 December 2009): Addameer appeal yesterday rejected
Unfortunately, Addameer’s appeal against Mohammad’s administrative detention order was rejected on 15 December. During the appeal, which was heard before the Military Court of Appeals of Administrative Detainees Mohammad’s counsel, Addameer attorney Mahmoud Hassan argued that Mohammad was arrested because of his human rights activities and his involvement with the “Stop the Wall Campaign”. He also reminded that during sixty days of his interrogation no external evidence was brought to the attention of the court and the military prosecution was unable to formulate substantiated allegations or charges against him. Most importantly, he also stated that on 22 November 2009, the Military Court of Appeals decided to release Mohammad as no progress had been made during the two months of interrogation. The judge of the Military Court of Appeals of Administrative Detainees rejected Adv Mahmoud Hassan’s arguments and stated that based on the ‘secret information’, there is no space to now take into consideration the decision of the Military Court of Appeals to release Mohammad. He then upheld Mohammad’s administrative detention order until 22 December 2009.
Update 26 (6 December 2009)
The appeal against the administrative detention order is scheduled for 15 december 2009. The administrative detention order, however, should expire on 22 December 2009. Under the lead of the swedish, european countries are also pushing (requesting) Israel for Mohammad’s immediate release. Let’s all hope Mohammad will be released soon!
please see the following link: proposed action for Mohammad by Jewish Voice for Peace: http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/publish/article_1237.shtml
Keep writing Israeli representatives and your own representatives!!!
Update 25 (4 December 2009): HRW press release: Israel: End Arbitrary Detention of Rights Activist
December 4, 2009
“The only reasonable conclusion is that Othman is being punished for his peaceful advocacy…The authorities interrogated him for months, then ordered him held some more, but they won’t say why they are holding him and haven’t accused him of any crime.”
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director
(Jerusalem) – The Israeli military appeals court should end the administrative detention of Mohammed Othman, a West Bank rights activist, and order his release, Human Rights Watch said today.
Israeli authorities have detained Othman without charge for more than two months on what appear to be politically motivated grounds. On the basis of secret evidence that Othman and his lawyers were not allowed to see, a military court confirmed a military order that consigned Othman to three months administrative detention without charging him with any crime. Othman has no criminal record and, to the knowledge of Human Rights Watch, has never advocated or participated in violence. His detention period, which may be renewed, ends on December 22.
“The only reasonable conclusion is that Othman is being punished for his peaceful advocacy,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities interrogated him for months, then ordered him held some more, but they won’t say why they are holding him and haven’t accused him of any crime.”
Israeli authorities detained Othman, an activist with the “Stop the Wall” campaign, a nonviolent protest movement, on September 22, 2009, as he returned to the West Bank from a trip to Norway, where he spoke about the separation barrier that Israel has constructed in the occupied territory. The barrier was ostensibly built to protect against suicide bombers, but it is not being built along the 1967 border. Instead, 87 percent of the barrier’s route lies inside the West Bank, unlawfully separating residents from their lands, restricting their movement, and effectively annexing occupied lands to unlawful Israeli settlements.
On November 23, after Othman had been detained for 61 days “for the purpose of interrogation,” Colonel Ron Weisel, an Israeli military commander of the West Bank, ordered him held for three months of administrative detention on the grounds that he was a threat to the “security of the area.” The military court of administrative detainees, located in the Israeli military base of Ofer, near Ramallah in the West Bank, upheld the order on November 25 and counted the time that Othman had already been detained toward his detention.
Othman’s administrative detention order came one day after a military court ordered his release. Othman was originally detained under Israeli military orders authorizing “interrogative detention.” According to his lawyers at Addameer, a Palestinian prisoners’ rights organization, on November 22 the Military Court of Appeals ordered Othman’s release on bail on the grounds that no progress had been made in his interrogation, no other evidence against him had been produced, and no charges had been laid against him. However, the court also remanded Othman to detention for 24 hours and allowed the military prosecutor to issue an administrative detention order during that time. Weisel issued Othman’s administrative detention the next day.
Israeli authorities have violated Othman’s rights in detention. Mahmoud Hassan, a lawyer at Addameer who represents Othman, told Human Rights Watch that on November 2 Israeli authorities transferred Othman from the West Bank to a prison in Be’er Sheva, Israel, without informing his family or his lawyers, and barred his lawyers from seeing him for 15 days. “We learned about it only two days later from staff at the Ofer jail, where we tried to visit him,” Hassan said. Othman was not allowed to attend two subsequent hearings on his case, Hassan said, during which time Othman was threatened with administrative detention. Israeli military orders authorize barring outside access to detainees “for the purposes of the interrogation.”
International standards governing the treatment of all persons detained require prompt notification of a detainee’s family, both after the person is detained and after a transfer to another place of detention. In addition, all detainees have the right to be visited by legal counsel, and any restriction on that right can only be in “exceptional circumstances, set out in law.”
The administrative detention order saying that Othman “is a risk to the security of the area,” cites military order 1591 from 2007. Under that order, the military commander of the West Bank may detain an individual for up to six months and renew the detention indefinitely. A military judge must review the commander’s detention order, but the judge does so in a closed hearing, without witnesses, based on secret information that the detainee and his attorney cannot see. The defendant may appeal the military judge’s decision to the military court of appeal for administrative detainees, which is also located in the Ofer military base.
According to Jamal Juma’a, a coordinator for the “Stop the Wall” campaign, an Israeli soldier had detained Othman at a checkpoint during the summer and threatened him because of his advocacy against the wall. Juma’a said that before joining the “Stop the Wall” campaign, Othman worked with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), a World Council of Churches program to accompany Palestinian non-violent activists.
As of November 9, Israel held more than 322 Palestinians in administrative detention, 132 of them for more than a year, according to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. According to the most recent available official statistics on the cases that actually go to trial in Israeli military courts, obtained by Yesh Din, another Israeli human rights organization, in 2006 Israeli military courts found defendants not guilty in only 23 (or 0.29 percent) of 9,123 trials.
Although international human rights law permits some limited use of administrative detention in emergency situations, the authorities are required to follow basic rules for detention, including a fair hearing at which the detainee can challenge the reasons for his or her detention. As the occupying power in the West Bank, Israel is also bound by the rules governing occupation, which require it to use administrative detention only for imperative reasons of security.
Update 24 (27 November)
The judge of the judicial review hearing has upheld the administrative detention order but has decided that the two months Mohammad had already been imprisoned for interrogation have to be taken into account. This means that the administrative detention order expires on December 22/23.
The military court has therefore upheld the administrative detention after the appeals court had accepted Addameer’s appeal on November 25 and ruled Mohammad’s release on the grounds that 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 administrative detention order has been issued after two months of interrogation in which Mohammad has been threatened and pressured into confessions. On November 19 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. The administrative detention order seems to be a punitive measure for Mohammad’s failure to give in to the pressure exerted upon him rather than a decision based on legal evidence, or as Addameer contends, “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). International human rights organizations and the United Nations have repeatedly condemned Israel’s recourse to military justice systems which do not meet international standards of due process.
According to Addameer standard procedure, the lawyer will most likely appeal against the judicial review hearing. However, the lawyer still has to be consulted to make a decision in the particular case of Mohammad.
We will update you on this decision asap.
As the case currently stands, Mohammad has still one month of imprisonment to endure and might be released on December 22/23.
However, administrative detention orders are often renewed on expiry or shortly before expiry. There is a risk that a new administrative detention order might be issued at the end of his current sentence.
It is crucial that we continue to raise his case challenging the arbitrary nature of Mohammad’s arrest and the administrative detention order against him, upheld by the judicial review hearing.
Thank you all for your support.
Update 23 (24 November, 12 pm)
Sixty Days after his Arrest, Human Rights Defender Mohammad Othman Receives his First Administrative Detention Order
[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.
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: 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
Update 22 (24 November, 12 pm)
Addameer has learned that the court has agreed to three months of administrative detention for Mohammad, starting from yesterday.
Update 21 (23 November, 7 pm)
The military court has accepted a request by the prosecution for administrative detention for Mohammad. We still don’t know how many months of administrative detention have been requested. According to normal procedure, within eight days, a review hearing will be held on the case.
Putting pressure now is crucial! Tomorrow morning Stop the Wall and Addameer will give a full update and campaigning and lobbying suggestions.
Update 20 (22 November, 7 pm)
On Sunday 22 November 2009, a court hearing at the Military Court of Appeals accepted Addameer’s appeal against the extension of Mohammad Othman’s detention on 17 November and decided to end Mohammad’s interrogation period based on the lack of progress made during the two month long interrogation, as 60 days after Mohammad’s arrest, Israeli authorities have still been unable to cite any legitimate suspicions or allegations to justify his detention.
The judge of the Military Court of Appeals decided to release Mohammad on 10,000 NIS bail with conditions that Mohammad would not leave the West Bank “for a while” and would appear before the Israeli police when summoned. The judge then asked the military prosecutor whether he intended to detain Mohammad administratively. The prosecutor requested 72 hours to explore the possibility with the Israeli Security Agency to issue an administrative detention order against Mohammad. The Military judge of Appeals however, agreed to a 24 hour period, ending on Monday 23 November at 18:00 pm after which Mohammad will be released if an administrative detention order is not issued.
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 and held since then for interrogation. 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. It has been 60 days since the moment of his arrest.
Update 19 (20 November, 3 pm)
On Sunday, the ban on lawyers visits for Mohammad has been lifted and the lawyer is now allowed to see him again.
On Monday, 16 November, a court hearing at Kishon (Jalameh) interrogation center extended Mohammad Othman’s detention period for another eight days. It has almost 60 days now since Mohammad was arrested. To date, no charges have been laid and the court continuously contends that Mohammad’s detention is necessary for further interrogation.
On Tuesday 17 November, Addameer filed an appeal to challenge the court’s decision to extend Mohammad’s detention. Considering that, 57 days after Mohammad’s arrest, Israeli authorities have still been unable to cite any legitimate suspicions or allegations to justify his detention, Addameer and Stop the Wall believe that Mohammad’s arrest was arbitrary and therefore illegal under applicable international law, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
In terms of lobbying, we (including YOU!) are working now to ensure that:
a) diplomatic missions to attend the appeal hearing
b) especially European states could consider following the example of the UK and raise the issue at ministerial level.
c) a special push to the US diplomatic mission to join the EU position
d) a special push for the Norwegians to get up to the level of the UK position (raising the issue at ministerial level and attending the hearing)
FREE MOHAMMAD NOW!
Update 18 (12 November, 3 pm)
From Addameer: here is an update as to what happened during at both the HCJ in Jerusalem and at the Military Court of Appeals in Ofer.
The Israeli High Court in Jerusalem refused Addameer’s appealregarding the ban barring Mohammad Othman from access to his attorney.As for the appeal hearing at the Military Court of Appeal in Ofer, the judge was of the opinion that the present extension of Mohammad’s detention should be the last one. The military prosecution however,rejected the judge’s proposal. We are currently awaiting the decision of the Military Court of Appeals. We should be informed of the decision either later today or on Sunday.
Update 17 (11 November, 7 pm)
Two appeal hearings are scheduled for Mohammad. The first appeal to be heard at the High Court regards the ban on visits from his lawyers (tomorrow at 9.30 am), the second appeal held at Ofar military court has been filed by Addameer attorneys against the extension of the interrogation period until November 18 (tomorrow at 1.30 – 2 pm still not confirmed).
It is confirmed that Mohammad is NOT allowed to attend these hearings.
Update 16 (09 November, 10 pm)
Joint Addameer and “Stop the Wall” Update on the Arrest of Human Rights Defender and Activist Mohammad Othman
[Ramallah, 9 November 2009] On Sunday 8 November 2009, a court hearing at Ofer Military Court extended Mohammad Othman’s detention period for another 10 days. It has been 49 days since 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 and held for interrogation. 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.
Barring Mohammad from Access to his Attorney
On 1 November 2009, military court prosecutors requested that Mohammad be barred from meeting with his lawyers until his next court hearing, which was scheduled for 8 November 2009. Before this request, Mohammad’s lawyers visited regularly and constituted his only contact with the outside world, except for occasional visits by ICRC delegates. The court hearing deciding on the prosecution’s request took place at Salem Military Court the following day, 2 November 2009, without Mohammad or his lawyer present. Addameer, which is representing Mohammad before the military courts, was neither informed of the prosecution’s request nor of the court’s subsequent decision to implement the ban on lawyers’ visits.
The ban was only discovered on 4 November 2009, when Addameer attorney Samer Sam’an was forbidden from visiting Mohammad upon Sam’an’s arrival to Kishon detention center for a regular visit aiming at monitoring Mohammad’s health and detention conditions. That same day, Adv. Sam’an also learned that Mohammad had been transferred to Ohalei Keidar prison, located in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba.
On 5 November 2009, Addameer filed an appeal to challenge the court’s decision barring Mohammad from access to his lawyers. At the appeal hearing held on 8 November, the Military Court of Appeals judge stated that Addameer must appeal the ban directly to the Israeli High Court as the Appeals Court lacked jurisdiction over such matters. Although Addameer recognizes that the judge’s recommendation is the usual procedure under Israeli military orders, as Mohammad Othman’s attorney, Mahmoud Hassan, argued before the Appeals Court, orders barring a detainee from access to his lawyer are typically issued as an administrative measure at the very early stages of an individual’s detention, and typically not later than after the first week. Moreover, in Addameer’s experience, there has never been a case where a ban on lawyers’ visits was implemented by a court’s decision, 46 days into the interrogation. Addameer is thus tremendously alarmed, and fears that the ban on lawyers’ visits is yet another step to isolate Mohammad and coerce him into giving a false confession about crimes he has not committed after the interrogation police’s strategy of threats, intimidation, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, physical and mental exhaustion has failed. There is reason to believe that Mohammad Othman’s transfer to Ohalei Keidar prison in Beersheba was intended to exert further pressure on him by placing him in so-called “collaborators’ cells”. Torture and ill-treatment in such cells is widespread and known to occur in some sections of Ohalei Keidar, where detainees are often beaten, punched, threatened and exposed to psychological pressure if they refuse to talk to other prisoners, who are detained in the same cells and who are typically collaborating with Israeli military authorities.
Addameer is also alarmed that, at the appeal hearing, the judge of the Military Court of Appeals decided that Mohammad’s hearing regarding the extension of his detention would take place in his absence for “the sake of the interrogation”. Because Mohammad is now barred from access to lawyers’ visits, and Addameer attorneys have not seen him since 1 November, yesterday’s court hearing was the only opportunity for both Addameer and Mohammad’s family to ensure that he is in good health. However, as Mohammad was not brought to the hearing, Addameer remains extremely concerned about his health including his physical and mental well-being, especially given the high likelihood that he is being exposed to ill-treatment in Ohalei Keidar.
Extension of Detention Hearing
A few hours after the appeal hearing on 8 November 2009, another court hearing took place to decide on Mohammad’s extension of detention period. This was the sixth hearing regarding the extension of Mohammad’s detention since his arrest on 22 September 2009. Again, as in previous hearings, no charges were laid against Mohammad and no external evidence was brought to the court’s attention. As in previous hearings, the military court again justified its decision to extend Mohammad’s detention period stating that it was needed for further interrogation. At the same time, the military judge also extended Mohammad’s ban on access to lawyers’ visits until 15 November 2009, contending that such a ban was necessary for the sake of the interrogation.
During the hearing, Mohammad’s attorney Mahmoud Hassan argued yet again that the arrest of individuals based on reasonable suspicions is admissible only in the beginning of an individual’s detention. However, as Adv. Hassan argued, after 49 days of detention allegedly for the purpose of interrogation, such suspicions must be substantiated and supplemented by external evidence if any fair trial standards are to be upheld. Information on Mohammad’s interrogation gathered before his transfer to Ohalei Keidar casts serious doubt as to whether his ongoing detention is based on valid reasoning or the pursuit of credible evidence. For example, while held at Kishon detention center, Mohammad was subjected to long interrogation sessions where he was kept in the same position for long hours, yet the Israeli interrogators continued to ask few, if any, questions at all. In another example, on 27 October 2009, Mohammad was interrogated for more than nine hours in two separate sessions. The first session took place from 8:10 a.m. until 9:20 a.m., whereas the second started at 9:45 a.m. and did not end until 5:45 p.m. Despite the marathon, nine hour interrogation session, the Israeli interrogators wrote only a two page report.
Addameer and Stop the Wall’s Position
Considering that, 49 days after Mohammad’s arrest, Israeli authorities have still been unable to cite any legitimate suspicions or allegations to justify his detention, both Addameer and Stop the Wall contend that Mohammad’s arrest was arbitrary and therefore illegal under applicable international law, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. Addameer and Stop the Wall also reaffirm their previously stated position that Mohammad was arrested because of his high-profile advocacy work, both locally and internationally, as a human rights defender voicing opposition to Israel’s ongoing human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory, including those resulting from the continuing, illegal construction of the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank.
The protection of human rights defenders is not only a moral obligation, but has been recognized by the United Nations as a social, individual and collective right and responsibility. Addameer and Stop the Wall thus urge foreign government officials, including members of foreign representative offices to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and foreign Consulates in East Jerusalem, as well as representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament, human rights organizations and United Nations bodies to:
- Raise Mohammad Othman’s case in their official meetings with Israeli officials;
- Demand clarifications regarding the reason for Mohammad’s arrest and extended detention in official letters addressed to Israeli authorities;
- Demand Mohammad’s immediate release and pressure Israel to put an end to its policy of arbitrary detention.
In addition, Addameer and Stop the Wall urge the International Committee of the Red Cross to increase their visits and request to see Mohammad more frequently to grant him special protection, especially as he remains barred from access to lawyers’ visits.
For more information about Mohammad’s arrest, please refer 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 / 297 0136
Stop the Wall Campaign
Update 15 (08 November 2009, 7 pm)
Today, the appeal against the decision to deny Mohammad contact with his lawyer was rejected. Mohammad is still not allowed to speak or see his lawyer. The lawyer was not even allowed into the court today, as well as Mohammad’s family members were denied entry into the court room.
Also, his detention is extended with another 10 days.
Update 14 (07 November 2009, 7 pm)
After the rejection of the last appeal, Mohammad was transferred to the Bir Sa’ba (Be’er Sheva) prison. Also, since then, the lawyer has denied visits with Mohammad. The laywer appealed against this decision, and the ruling on this appeal will be tomorrow. Also, the hearing on Mohammad’s fate (extension or out) has also been moved to tomorrow.
We will inform you tomorrow about the judge’s rulings.
Update 13 (01 November 2009, 5 pm)
As expected, the appeal against the extension of Mohammad’s detention which was filed by the Addameer lawyer last wednesday, was denied by the judge today. Mohammad remains in jail and we’re waiting for the next hearing next week.
The office of Proinsias DeRossa, President of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the Palestinian
Legislative Council (DPLC) has informed one of our Facebook group members that he will be tabling specific questions on Mohammad’s case to the European Council Presidency and to the European Commission. Keep the pressure on – please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Every voice can make a difference!
Please keep writing to your political representatives/ israeli embassies…etc…etc…to keep the story of Mohammad alive!
Update 12 (27 October 2009, 5 pm)
Yesterday, it was suddenly decided that the court hearing would be held today (Tuesday 27-10-09) instead of Thursday. The judge decided that yet again, Mohammad’s detention will be extended with another 13 days. The lawyer will appeal against this decision again.
Update 11 (22 October 2009, 5 pm)
Today, the judge denied the appeal for Mohammad’s immediate release. Next court day: 29 October 2009.
Update 10 (20 October 2009, 4 pm)
At the court hearing yesterday, the judge has extended Mohammad’s detention for another 11 days. Again, the Israeli interrogation police failed once again to provide any evidence justifying Mohammad’s arrest, but contended that an extension of his detention period was necessary for further interrogation. The military judge rejected the interrogators’ initial request to extend Mohammad’s detention period to 23 additional days, arguing that the period was too long, but agreed to a 11 day extension period, based on “secret information”, which was made available to him by representatives from the Israeli Security Agency (ISA). Military Judge Eliahu Nimni argued that the extension is required in order to end the interrogation and clarify suspicions against Mohammad. At the same time, he maintained that releasing Mohammad would constitute a security threat, despite the fact that no concrete suspicions of any alleged offences were made, thus siding with the interrogation police. Addameer appealed the court’s decision and the appeal hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, 22 October at 9.30 am at Salem Court (Ofer prison, near Ramallah).
On 14 October, Addameer attorney Mahmoud Hassan stated before the Judge of the Military Appeals Court in an appeals hearing that Mohammad has been ill-treated. Since then, the interrogation police have abandoned their tactics of intimidation and threats, and instead have adopted a strategy of physical and mental exhaustion by leaving Mohammad alone, sitting in the interrogation room in the same position for several hours at a time, with his hands tied behind his back. Every few hours, the interrogators question him on issues relating to his human rights activism and activities as a volunteer with the “Stop the Wall Campaign”. They also ask questions about other staff members of the campaign, which only reinforces Addameer’s and Stop the Wall’s belief that Mohammad is detained for his activities as a human rights defender.
For more information on the case and on the condition Mohammad is in, please go to http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/2096.shtml for a more detailed update.
It is very important that all of us keep sending letters to either your own political representatives AND the Israeli authorities!
Mohammad also has a personal message for all the supporters around the world, expressing his deep gratitude to all of you. He says he is doing okay, but his lawyer said that the long hours of interrogation are talking their toll on Mohammad. Mohammad is asking you to step up the campaign for his release and that of other anti apartheid activists.
The global BDS marathon last friday and saturday was very succesful: it saw around 20 activties held on four continents of the globe, a testimony to the international solidarity that Mohammad’s case has received and a world increasingly less willing to stand by in silence whilst Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights continue.
Update 9 (19 October 2009, 12.30 pm)
At the court hearing this morning, the judge has extended Mohammad’s detention for another 11 days. The lawyer will appeal against the decision.
Mohammad also has a personal message for all the supporters around the world, expressing his deep gratitude to all of you. He says he is doing okay, but his lawyer said that the long hours of interrogation are talking their toll on Mohammad. Mohammad is asking you to step up the campaign for his release and that of other anti apartheid activists.
The global BDS marathon last friday and saturday saw around 20 activties held on four continents of the globe, a testimony to the international solidarity that Mohammad’s case has received and a world increasingly less willing to stand by in silence whilst Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights continue.
Update 8 (14 October 2009, 5 pm)
Today, at around 4.30, the judge decided that the Court will not grant the lawyer’s appeal and Mohammad still has to stay in jail for the 12 days that was initially ruled by the Court last thursday.
His court date will therefore be on Monday, 19 October, 2009.
please keep checking the Stop The Wall website (stopthewall.org) for the calendar of all BDS activities this weekend.
Seventh Update (12 October 2009, 4 pm)
On Thursday, October 8, at the second hearing in Salem military court, the prosecution had still not been able to provide any charges against Mohammad. The judge prolonged Mohammad’s detention for a further 12 days. Addameer attorneys appealed this decision and the judge rescheduled the date for the hearing for this wednesday, 14 October 2009. The hearing is due to take place at the Military Court of Appeals in Ofer.
According to Addameer attorneys who represent Mohammad, he is still held in solitary confinement and is being interrogated daily about his trips to Europe and contacts with European organizations. Mohammad has been repeatedly cursed at during long interrogation sessions, which at times lasted from 8:00 am until midnight. However, in neither of these sessions were suspicions against Mohammad made clear to him and he still ignores the reason for his arrest. During one of these sessions, an Israeli interrogator threatened to hurt Mohammad’s sister. “Stop the Wall Campaign” contends that psychological pressure is an often used Israeli technique to coerce a detainee into confessions.
Sixth ACTION Update (10 October 2009, 3.15 pm)
The Stop the Wall Campaign launches the first BDS Marathon
“If you want to arrest the BDS movement, you have to catch us all!”
FREE MOHAMMAD, FREE THE ANTI-WALL ACTIVISTS!
join the BDS Marathon on 16-17 October 2009!
What’s the BDS Marathon? – Two days of non-stop BDS activities around the globe!
Save your time slot now!
Participation is simple:
1) Organize an event activity during Friday and Saturday 16/17 October 2009 and let us know at: email@example.com
2) Stop the Wall will publish a time table with all planned activities.
3) We will put you in touch with the activists mobilizing before and after you. If your activity and access to internet/phone allows, you will be able to directly take over from the previous activity and hand over to the next action.
You may organize activities such as protests, leaflets handouts, street actions, speaking events, video screenings, book readings, powerpoint presentations, radio/TV programs, internet actions, a twitter campaign, a fax blitz…Be creative!
For activist material to make your event a success, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Israeli arrests of Palestinian human rights activists aim at stopping grassroots activism and the global call for Israeli accountability in front of international courts and through boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) campaigns. We therefore call on all people all over the world to let Israel know: “If you want to arrest the BDS movement, you have to catch us all!”
18 days have passed since Mohammed Othman was arrested in reprisal for his ongoing advocacy against the Wall and occupation. Since then he has been held in solitary confinement and often undergoes up to 16 hours of continuous interrogation focusing on his international advocacy.
Mohammad was arrested on his trip back from Norway, where he spoke about Israeli human rights violations and welcomed Norwegian action to hold Israel accountable. Norway’s national Pension Fund recently divested from Elbit, the Israeli company which provides drones and other military technology for Occupation forces and security systems for the Wall and settlements. This was only one of many successes of the BDS movement among unions, parties, intellectuals, artists and governments.
Like Mohammad Srour, testifying in front of the Goldstone Commission about the repression of the Gaza solidarity protests along the Wall, Mohammad Othman has been arrested because of his international advocacy. Israel clearly fears the global calls to try its war criminals and the growing strength of the global BDS movement. It tries to repress a new generation of Palestinians that are not willing to live behind ghetto walls but instead are reaching out to the world and stand up against Israeli apartheid and occupation.
Mohammed is not the only activist in prison for struggling against the Wall, and dozens more from Bil’in, Jayyus and Ni’lin are currently locked in Israeli jails, some for months on end. These arrests are part of a clear Israeli strategy that aims to silence and crush individuals and communities. This must be stopped!
For more information about Mohammad Othman, see: http://freemohammadothman.wordpress.com/
For more information about the repression of the communities affected by the Wall see: http://stopthewall.org/activistresources/2019.shtml
Fifth Update (8 October 2009, 3 pm)
We have just received the bad news that Mohammad’s detention has been extended again with another 12 days. We will update you with more detailed information in a couple of hours, as well as suggested actions.
Mohammad is still kept in solitary confinement and is increasingly suffering from this condition. Addameer describes the conditions of Mohammad’s detention as following:
“Mohammad is currently held in solitary confinement, in a small cell, which measures only 2 square meters. The cell includes a mattress, and a Turkish bathroom (hole in the floor). The cell does not contain a window, which means that there is no natural sunlight or fresh air. Upon his transfer to Kishon (Jalameh) detention centre, he was searched and taken to a doctor for a medical examination, as he got sick in Huwwara provisional detention centre due to poor conditions there. He was given clothes and slippers, but was allowed to take clean underwear and socks from his own luggage. During the first days following his arrest however, Mohammad suffered from especially hard detention conditions in Huwwara provisional centre, where bathrooms are located outside of the cell. Detainees are only allowed to use them freely during short recreation breaks (35 minutes), only three times a day. When the detainee wishes to use the toilet outside of these hours, he or she must call out for a guard and wait until one agrees to take the prisoner out.”
NEW ACTION: Sign and send a message to President Obama through Jewish Voice for Peace. JVP has launched an online campaign to pressure President Obama to pressure Israel to free Mohammad.
Mohammad’s hearing has been held today. The military court has extended his detention for 10 days. For more see the post below: Joint Addameer and “Stop the Wall” Update on the Arrest of Human Rights Defender and Activist Mohammad Othman
An Adameer lawyer visited Mohammad and reported that he was interrogated today, but mainly about friends and family. There is still no idea as to what the charges are.
They told him they have ‘intelligence’ on him, but that is all. He is being held alone and has been in Jalameh interrogation center since Thursday.
Addameer says that here are two likely options for Mohammad: a) He will be released soon like Mohammed Srour see: http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/2027.shtml or b) he will have an administrative detention order of one to six months.
It is now really up to us and the pressure we can put on our governments and the Israeli authorities to determine whether Mohammad will be free on Tuesday or face months of administrative detention.
Mohammad was transferred to the Jalameh (Kishon) interrogation centre. Addamer’s (Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association) is checking to see where the court hearing is going to be held and whether it will be possible for the press to attend. the lawyer will be visiting Moh in an hour, not sure if she is allowed in to speak to Mohammad. we will keep you posted.