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Abna al-Balad activists on hungerstrike

fwd by Gush Shalom | 01.04.2004 22:05

Abna al-Balad activists - on hungerstrike after 54 days in Shabak wing -
need support from the outside to improve their imprisonment conditions.

[detained without charge; prevented from meeting with their attorneys for
21 days; subjected to "intensive interrogation" including
sleep deprivation, painful handcuffing to a chair, and other forms of
"moderate physical pressure" etc. etc.]

fax numbers of authorities to whom you can send a protest in the end.

Call for Urgent Action
1 April 2004

Abna al-Balad Political Activists, Mohammed Kannaneh and Majed Kannaneh,
Detained for 54 Days under Inhuman Conditions in Shabak Wing of Israeli
Police Detention Center - District Court Refused to Grant an Immediate
Remedy - Detainees on Hunger Strike

Mr. Mohammed Kannaneh, aged 38, the General Secretary of Abna al-Balad
(an extra-parliamentary political movement) and Mr. Majed Kannaneh, aged
33, both Arab citizens of Israel from Arrabeh in the Galilee - have been
detained under cruel, inhuman, and degrading conditions in GSS cell
blocks for 54 days. They were arrested on 7 February 2004. They were
detained without charge; prevented from meeting with their attorneys for
21 days; and subjected to intensive interrogation by the GSS, which
included sleep deprivation, painful handcuffing to a chair, and other
illegal methods of investigation. They were indicted on 4 March 2004 for
alleged security offenses.
Since they were indicted, they have been held at the GSS cell block of
the Kishon Detention Center in crowded holding cells (3m x 3m for 6
people), without windows, for 24 hours a day. They are denied their
rights as protected by law to: leave the cell for any daily exercise;
receive any visits from family members; send or receive letters; contact
their family or their attorneys by telephone; receive or to hold any
books and newspapers; possess a radio, pens and paper; receive basic
hygienic supplies such as toothbrushes and toothpaste; have a daily
shower; and sleep on a bed. They are forced to sleep on mattresses on the
floor of their holding cell using dirty blankets supplied by the
Detention Center. Toilet facilities are inside of the cell without any
separation, providing no privacy to users or to the others held in the
cell. After the Detention Center ignored previous court judgments
ordering it to implement the minimum rights and conditions as provided by
law, Mr. Mohammed Kannaneh and Mr. Majed Kannaneh, in protest, began a
hunger strike four days ago on 28 March 2004.

Yesterday, on 31 March 2004, the Haifa District Court denied motions
filed on behalf of the two political detainees against the warden of the
Kishon Detention Center (also known as "Jalameh"), the Israeli police,
and the General Security Service (Shabak) requesting an immediate
transfer to another Prison Service facility as well as the improvement of
detention conditions in the Shabak cell block to meet domestic law as
well as international standards for the treatment of prisoners. The
District Court ruled that: "The respondent[s] announced that they intend
to transfer the petitioners to a Prison Service wing or to other prison
facility. The case was scheduled for an internal review immediately after
the Court vacation for Passover. Under these circumstances, there are no
grounds to hold an urgent hearing in the matter ... As provided in the
decision given yesterday [sic], if and until 13 April 2004 the
petitioners will not be transferred, then the petition will be scheduled
for a hearing." These motions were filed as part of a petition submitted
by Adalah Attorney Orna Kohn on 28 March 2004.
In the petition, Adalah argued that since their arrest, the detainees
have been denied the minimum conditions and rights granted to them by
Israeli domestic law, pursuant to Article 9 of the Criminal Procedure
(Enforcement Powers - Arrest) Law - 1996 (Conditions of Detention) and as
specified in numerous provisions of the accompanying 1997 regulations to
this law regarding the minimum conditions of holding in detention and the
rights of detainees. Adalah further argued that the detention conditions
in the GSS cell block are cruel, inhumane, and degrading and breach the
detainees' constitutional rights to dignity, freedom, privacy, and family
life, as protected by the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty - 1992.
These detention conditions further violate international standards,
namely Article 16 of the Convention against Torture, which prohibits acts
of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, as well as the
Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
In response to the motions, on 29 March 2004, the State Attorney for the
Haifa District, representing the position of the Detention Center, the
Israeli police and the GSS, claimed that: "The respondents agree that at
this stage, after the submission of the indictment... they should be held
in a wing under the authority of the Prison Service (and accordingly to
receive the rights that they are entitled to by law). According to the
response of the Prison Service, it was because of a mistake that their
names were not transferred to the Prison Service in order to arrange for
them to be absorbed in the usual manner. Once this mistake was known,
the relevant bodies are acting in order to transfer the petitioners as
soon as possible, as requested in the petition. Because of all of the
above, the petition is not relevant anymore, and the Honorable Court is
asked to reject it." Attached to the State Attorney's response were
several letters and documents including:

(1) A letter of the Legal Advisor of the Prison Service to the State
Attorney, which stated that: "The Prison Service is allocating places for
the absorption of graduates of the GSS interrogation, according to the
number of free prison places available... The names of the two
petitioners were not given to the Prisoners Department until now. After
we will receive a request from the security bodies (and we were told that
this will be done tomorrow), then, the Prison Service will act to absorb
the two petitioners as soon as possible."

(2) A letter from the Deputy Warden of the Kishon Detention Center to the
State Attorney, which stated that: "From the check that I conducted, it
was found that the detainees are held in the security wing, which is
present in the Detention Center and run by the GSS as an autonomous
framework. The status of the detainees... entitles the detainees to a
transfer to a Prison Service facility and makes it a duty of the Prison
Service to "snatch" them to its holding and keep them under its custody.
As of today, the rights entitled to prisoners are not fulfilled towards
the detainees... The detainees are of great danger to themselves and to
others, and are considered violent, and that is why it is impossible to
allow the use of razors or toothbrushes. As well, it is impossible in
this place to supply exercise in the open air, family visits, etc. For
the above circumstances, my only option is to ask the Honorable Court to
force the Prison Service to "snatch" and absorb the detainees to its
custody...The security wing is placed in a separate building from the
building of the police Detention Center, and is not subordinate to the
Detention Center, but only receives different services from it."

(3) A memo written by the State Attorney describing a conversation with
the Legal Advisor of the GSS, which stated that: "Respondent 3 [GSS] has
no objection to the transfer of the petitioners, as requested in their
petition, to a "regular" wing in the Detention Center... It shall be
noted that in accordance with the common regulations, items such as
toothbrushes are not supplied to the detainees in their cells but only
soon before bathing and this because of security reasons, so they will
not transfer the item, such as a toothbrush, into a dangerous weapon. It
should be noted though that as a result of the request of petitioner 1 to
the interrogator "Yanay", he was supplied with cigarettes and a
toothbrush. It is true that the toothbrush was broken from its base,
without the handle, for the security reasons mentioned above."

It must be emphasized that the Haifa District Court refused to issue a
temporary transfer order or to schedule an urgent hearing, although (1)
the State Attorney admitted to some of the facts as presented in the
petition and did not deny the rest; (2) none of the respondents committed
to specific date for the transfer of the detainees; and (3) none of the
respondents committed to changing any of the detainees' conditions of
detention in the GSS cell block. As a result, Mr. Mohammed Kannaneh and
Mr. Majed Kannaneh, remain in the GSS cell block under the same cruel,
inhuman, and degrading conditions, possibly for the next two weeks, with
no immediate legal remedy.

Personal information:

Mr. Mohammed Kannaneh, Israeli ID No. 059403329, Date of birth: 8 May
1965, Hometown: Arrabeh village in the Galilee in the north of Israel,
Date of detention: 7 February 2004, Date of indictment, 4 March 2004

Mr. Majed Kannaneh, Israel ID No. 028214393, Date of birth: 5 February
1971, Hometown: Arrabeh village in the Galilee in the north of Israel,
Date of detention: 7 February 2004, Date of indictment, 4 March 2004

Appeals to be sent to:

Minister of Justice, Tommy Lapid, Fax: +972-2-675-3764
Minister of Internal Security, Tzachi Hanegbi, Fax: +972-2-581-1832
Attorney General, Menachem Mazuz, Fax: +972-2-627-4481
State Attorney for the Haifa District, Shunit Segal, Advocate, Fax: +972-
Deputy Warden of the Kishon Detention Center, Oded Sa'ar, Fax: +972-4-903-

Contact information for Adalah:

Adalah Attorney Orna Kohn, Mobile: +972-53-206653

Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
PO Box 510, Shafa'amr 20200, Israel
Tel: +972-4-950-1610 / Fax: +972-4-950-1610

fwd by Gush Shalom


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  1. Really ? — Ishmael