Update 31 (13 January 2010, 6.30 pm)

January 13, 2010

great news:

BOTH JAMAL AND MOHAMMAD HAVE BEEN RELEASED!!!

Jamal was released yesterday and Mohammad just half an hour ago – at 6 pm. They are currently busy giving interviews and reuniting with friends and family.

Here two articles on Jamal’s release:

WARONWANT

PALESTINE MONITOR


Update 30 (9 January 2010)

January 9, 2010

On 6 January 2010,  military judge Rafael Yamini ordered Mohammad’s detention order to be shortened until 12 January 2010. The judge cited security concerns as justification for Mohammad’s continued administrative detention stating that Mohammad still poses a danger to the security of the area and the public,  but, contradictorily, reduced the detention order by 10 days. In the justification of his decision to reduce the length of Mohammad’s administrative detention, the military judge stated that there has been no serious development in the investigation into Mohammad’s case and therefore his prolonged detention could not be justified. This is in direct contravention to international law, which stipulates that administrative detention is permissible only if “the security of the state … make it absolutely necessary” and only in accordance with “regular procedure”. Administrative detention should never be used as a substitute for criminal prosecution where there is insufficient evidence to obtain a conviction.  Lastly, the judge did not impose any restrictions on the military prosecutors regarding any need for additional evidence to renew this order upon its expiration. Mohammad’s administrative detention order could be once again renewed.


Update 29 (8 Jan. 2010): Press Release Amnesty International

January 8, 2010

Amnesty International: ‘Israeli detention of Palestinian activists must end’

8 January 2010

The Israeli authorities must immediately release, or bring before a fair trial, three Palestinian human rights activists detained in Israel following their protests against the construction of the West Bank fence/wall, Amnesty International said on Friday.

In a letter sent to Ehud Barak, Israeli Defence and Deputy Prime Minister on Thursday, Amnesty International expressed concern that Jamal Juma’, Abdallah Abu Rahma and Mohammed Othman were prisoners of conscience, held for legitimately voicing their opposition to the fence/wall…READ MORE

You can join Amnesty’s call on Israel to release Jamal, Abdallah and Mohammad. Go here

 


30 dec. 09: statement by Palestinian human rights org’s: ‘Stop The Wall campaign targeted’

January 4, 2010

 Stop the Wall Campaign Targeted: Israel Continues to Violate the Rights of Human Rights Defenders and Peaceful Activists.

Addameer * Al-Haq * Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights*
Al Dameer Association for Human Rights * BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
DCI – Palestine Section * ENSAN Center * Jerusalem Legal Aid Center * Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling

Ramallah, 30 December 2009 

 Israel has for too long been allowed to violate the rights of human rights defenders and activists. As an occupying power and State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Israel is obliged to respect the rights of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) as guaranteed under the ICCPR. Palestinian human rights defenders must be guaranteed their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and their right to liberty and security of person.Since September 2009, Israel has intensified a repression campaign against Palestinian human rights defenders, activists and demonstrators protesting against the Annexation Wall. As part of their repression campaign, which coincided with the release of the Goldstone Report, the Israeli forces have re-launched daily dawn raids in villages affected by the Wall, arresting youths and children, for the purpose of extracting confessions about prominent community leaders advocating against the Wall, and continued to intimidate activists by destroying their private property and threatening them with detention. Finally, Israel has directly targeted the Grassroots “Stop the Wall” Campaign by arresting and intimidating its leaders….read more 

  


Sixty Days after his Arrest, Human Rights Defender Mohammad Othman Receives his First Administrative Detention Order

November 24, 2009

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

Email: info@addameer.ps

Website: www.addameer.info


The National board of the Socialist Youth League demands that the Israeli occupying power releases Mohammad Othman and all Palestinian political prisoners.

October 6, 2009

Release Mohammad Othman!

The National board of the Socialist Youth League demands that the Israeli occupying power releases Mohammad Othman and all Palestinian political prisoners.

Mohammad Othman has dedicated the last 10 years of his life for the human rights of the Palestinian people. His village, Jayyous, on the occupied West Bank, has lost the majority of it´s land after the construction of the Apartheid Wall and the settler colonies. (….)
Tuesday Sep 22 he was arrested by Occupation forces at the border crossing between Jordan and the Occupied West Bank, after a visit to Norway. An illegal military court prolonged his detention by 10 days on Sep 29 based on “secret information.” No serious charges has been given and both Mohammad´s case and previous experiences with Israeli “justice” suggests that the arrest is a result of his political work.

The Socialist Youth League salutes Mohammad Othman and all Palestinian freedom fighters, inside and outside the Occupation jails. No peace without justice! We demand:

- the unconditional release of Mohammad Othman
– that Norweian authorities put pressure on Israel to release Mohammad and to garuantee that he will not be subjected to torture while in custody

We call on friends of Palestine, in Norway and abroad, to intensify the work for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel as a response to the Occupation´s increasing repression of Human Rights defenders and peaceful resistance.

Norwegian version:
http://www.su.no/Artikler/4722.html

Jewish Voice for Peace: Has President Obama heard about Mohammad Othman?

October 2, 2009

Jewish Voice for Peace has launched an online campaign to pressure President Obama to pressure Israel to free Mohammad. Here is the text of the email:

I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked whether there is an Arab counterpart to Jewish Voice for Peace. The implicit false assumptions behind the question are clear: Palestinians are violent; Jews seek peace but there is no one peaceful on the other side of the equation.

Even President Obama, in his Cairo speech, exhorted the Palestinians to seek a resolution to the violent Israeli/Palestinian conflict through the use of nonviolence—without dedicating a word to Israel’s attack on the civilians of Gaza.

I used to get frustrated when asked the question, because I know that that its framework is false. I no longer get frustrated—now I use it as an opportunity to share what I know about so many Palestinian organizations and individuals that carry out acts, both small and large, of peaceful resistance against the occupation. People like Mohammad Othman.

My list is too big to contemplate, and the acts are nothing short of heroic. In reference to the weekly demonstrations in Bil’in against the theft of that village’s land to build the wall and to expand settlements, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “Just as a simple man named Gandhi led the successful nonviolent struggle in India and simple people such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King led the struggle for civil rights in the United States, simple people here in Bilin are leading a nonviolent struggle that will bring them their freedom.”

Bil’in is not unique, of course. Neither is the crushing response from Israel.

Palestinians who travel abroad to advocate their cause are at risk too. They may be unjustly detained by Israel when they come back home. This is what happened to Mohammad Othman. He was arrested September 22 by Israeli soldiers on the Allenby Bridge Crossing, the border from Jordan to Palestine. He was returning from a trip to Norway, where he was advocating for Palestinian human rights. He is now sitting in jail.


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