|Al-Awda New York, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition|
ALERT: FREE ABEER ABU KHDEIR
A friend of mine was imprisoned last week by Israeli Army. Abeer Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian mother of 4 young children from Jerusalem, has been held in a prison for over a week for undisclosed reasons. She has been denied of seeing her lawyers and family members since the day of her brutal arrest.
met Abeer during my internship in Jerusalem in 1999. Abeer, despite her hard life
under the Israeli military occupation, was always caring, warm, resilient, and
had the wit and sense of humor to bring laughter at the most
became one of more then 1500 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel in the mass arrest
campaign since the beginning of this Intifada - many of them children under the
age of 17. Human rights organizations have repeatedly
I urge you to write to Israeli government to demand the immediate release of Abeer and other unjustly held prisoners. Below is a press release by Women's Organization for Political Prisoners, followed by a sample letter and contact information. At the end of this message is a detailed report on her arrest if you are interested in knowing more.
Thank you so much for your help.
for Political Prisoners (WOFPP)
Urgent letter on behalf of Abeer Abu Khdeir
Abu Khdeir, 32 years-old, identity card nr. 023474315, from Shu'afat in the West
Bank, mother of four, was arrested by the Israeli Army in the night of February
21, 2001 together with her husband Naser, after six hours
From the day of her detention, February 21, until February 28 she has not been allowed to meet her lawyer. This order may be prolonged at will. We are concerned that during her incommunicado detention, she may be subjected to ill-treatment or torture. May we ask you to write urgent letters, faxes, E-mails on Abeer Abu Khdeir's behalf, to:
demanding to allow her immediate access to her lawyer, to safeguard her from all forms of ill-treatment and torture and to release her immediately and unconditionally from Israeli jail.
To Defense Minister Barak (or Minister of Justice):
am writing to demand the immediate release of Abeer Abu Khdeir (ID# 023474315),
a 32-year-old mother of 4 young children. Abeer was arrested by IDF on February
21, 2001, from her home in Shaufat along with her husband
The conduct of your government on Abeer and her family - house raids, injuring and traumatizing innocent family members, arbitrary arrests, prohibition to see lawyers and family members - are gross violation of human rights and grave breach of international law. Shamefully, over 1500 Palestinians have been imprisoned under similar treatment since the beginning of Intifada Al-Aqsa. Many of them have reportedly been tortured - a practice you supposedly banned in 1999.
I demand you to allow her immediate access to her lawyer, to safeguard her from all forms of ill-treatment and torture and to release her immediately and unconditionally from Israeli jail, in compliance with international human rights standards and rule of law.
Report on the Recent Arrests in Shu'fat, Jerusalem
On Wednesday 21 February, three Palestinian residents of Shu'fat, Jerusalem were arrested in their apartment by a large group of undercover Israeli agents, police and soldiers.
to eyewitnesses, residents of an apartment building in Shu'fat on the main Ramallah-Jerusalem
road noticed an unfamiliar dark blue car containing unknown men parked in front
of their building at approximately
one hour later, residents noticed that a white Ford with tinted windows, together
with a GMC truck, were parked on the main road opposite the building. Sometime
later, at approximately 2:30 PM, a resident noticed an armed man at the main door
of the building. Suspecting the presence of Israeli Special Forces in the area,
he called three other men from the building for help--Ma'Moun Moussa Abu Khedair,
Mohammed Othman Abu Khedair and Mohammed Rashid Abu Kheidar. The three approached
the armed man and asked him what he was doing. Approximately 40 Israeli Special
Forces personnel rushed to the scene, drew their guns and beat all three men,
approximately 4:30 PM, masked Israeli Special Forces agents forcefully entered
the building, which contains 8 flats and houses around 30 people--14 of them children
and three of them elderly residents. Israeli Special Forces
Special Forces agents subsequently entered the flats of Walid Abu Khedair, Nasser
Abu Khedair and Yusef Abu Khedair and arrested them, refusing to let them dress
or bring their clothes with them. The agents
According to further reports, the raid lasted from 4:30 PM to 9:45 PM The children in the flat were terrified and began crying. May Khedair requested that she be allowed to return to the building and retrieve her daughter. The agents refused and placed her with the group of apprehended men.
Rasmia abu Khedair, a 73 year old resident suffering from Osteoporosis, was forced to stand in the freezing cold and rain for more than an hour with the remaining residents of the building. After the first hour, the residents were then locked in a nearby house until the Israeli Authorities completed their search within the apartment complex. Israeli agents searched the apartment of Walid and Nasser using police dogs and mechanical equipment, also destroying personal property, emptying out their cupboards, refrigerator and washing machine and destroying their children's toys.
According to Nasser's sister, a sum of money in dollars was missing from the apartment. Following the search, Nasser, Walid and Abeer, Nasser's 32 year old wife, were arrested. Abeer is the mother of 4 children between the ages of 3 and 11. The three remain in custody at the time of writing at the Russian Compound (Mascobiya) Prison in Jerusalem, where they have been continuously subject to interrogation by the Israeli Authorities.
Abeer Abu Khdeir is the fifth Palestinian woman arrested since the beginning of the Intifada, bringing the number of Palestinian women detained in Israeli prisons to 8. She remains in custody at the Russian Compound, together with Amne Mouna arrested 1/19/2001, and Abeer Amer and Sana'a Amer arrested 2/20/2001. Only Shadia Jaffer was released due to lack of evidence against her after being detained for 8 days.
Prisoners' Support and Human Rights Association has been closely following the
cases of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons subjected to interrogation since
the beginning of 2001. Adv. Sahar Francis, Addameer's
Prisons Director of the detention center has repeatedly denied visitation rights
by legal representatives on the grounds that visits would damage the interrogation
process by publicly revealing its methods. In the past, detainees were prevented
from seeing their lawyers for a period of 2-8 days. Addameer has recently noted
that this period has been extended to 10-30 days by a series of prevention orders
issued by the court. Khaled Shibani, for example, was prevented from seeing his
lawyer 3 times consecutively over a period of 18 days. Khaled Yusef Hannani and
The Israeli General Security Services (GSS) has increased the practice of placing Palestinian prisoners in detention rooms with collaborators. The collaborators then attempt to extract information from detainees by claiming to be active in organizations outside the prison.
In addition, GSS agents continue to use the "shabeh" chair on the majority of detainees. In this interrogation method, the detainee's arms and legs are tied to a chair for more than 10 continuous hours before and during interrogation. Although the Israeli High Court banned the use of "shabeh", or position abuse, during interrogation in September 1999, the court permits interrogators to tie prisoners to normal sized chairs for periods exceeding 10 continuous hours during interrogation, claiming that this is necessary to protect the interrogators.
The number of children under the age of 18 arrested from the beginning of the Intifada has risen to approximately 250. 120 of these children remain in Megiddo and Telmond prisons, which are divided into 5 sections, only one of which is dedicated exclusively to the detention of political prisoners. The children have been placed in cells with those who have been detained for criminal offenses. The children have also suffered from other forms of abuse:
1) Child detainees have been beaten, scalded with hot water and cut with razors. Lou'ia Abu Nijma from Jerusalem suffered severe lacerations to his face as a result of such practices.
2) There have been reports of sexual abuse against children by criminal prisoners that the Israeli prison administration has not investigated.
3) Privileges such as telephone cards, cigarettes, shoes, and canteen purchases have been revoked.
4) Newspapers, magazines and athletic equipment have been barred.
5) Family visits have been denied since the beginning of the Intifada. Visits were permitted on 2 October 2000, for a period of four days and then banned again.
6) Appeals for a reduction in sentence after completion of two- thirds of the sentence, as is normally the case, have been systematically denied.
calls on the international community to protest the arbitrary detention of Palestinians
by the Israeli Authorities and the inhumane treatment detainees are being subjected
to. Addameer demands the immediate
Letters of protest should be directed towards the following:
Barak, Outgoing Prime Minister and Minister of Defense,
of Justice, Ministry of Justice,
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