URGENT APPEAL: Torture in Palestine

Einde O'Callaghan einde.ocallaghan at SPAMplanet-interkom.de
Thu May 31 15:59:09 MDT 2001


     The Palestinian Human Rights  Monitoring Group (PHRMG)

P.O. Box 19918
East Jerusalem  91198
Tel. +972-2-582  3372
Fax. +972-2-582  3385
admin at phrmg.org

and

The Public Committee Against Torture  in Israel (PCATI)
P.O. Box 4634
Jerusalem  91064
Tel. +972-2-563  0073
Fax +972-2-566  5477
pcati at netvision.net.il


   Jerusalem, 31 May 2001

URGENT ACTION  APPEAL
Palestinian human rights activist  interrogated
by the Israeli General Security Services  (GSS)

The Palestinian Human Rights  Monitoring Group (PHRMG) and the Public
Committee Against Torture in Israel  (PCATI) are very concerned by the
arrest and interrogation of PHRMG field  researcher, Abed Rahman
al-Ahmar,
33 years old, from the Deheisheh refugee camp  near Bethlehem.

Abed al-Ahmar was arrested on  Thursday 24 May 2001 in the evening, when
he
was caught without a permit in  Jerusalem, on his way back to Bethlehem.
He
was placed in a military detention  center in Gush Etzion and Attorney
Yossi
Schwartz was permitted to visit him on  Sunday 27 May 2001. Abed
al-Ahmar
looked in good condition.

However, on Wednesday 30 May  2001, he was transferred to the Russian
Compound detention center (Moscobiyya)  in Jerusalem for interrogation
by
the Israeli General Security Services (GSS).  His detention was extended
for
20 days.

This morning, Thursday 31 May  2001 at 10:30, Attorney Yossi Schwartz
attempted to visit Abed al-Ahmar but was  told that he was being
interrogated and therefore could not receive any visitor.  At 12:30,
Attorney Yossi Schwartz again presented himself at the Russian  Compound
and
was this time able to see Mr. al-Ahmar. Mr. Al-Ahmar looked very  ill,
and
reported that the prison doctor did not provide him with the medication
he
needs. Attorney Schwartz asked a policeman why al-Ahmar had not been
given
his medication and was told that the medication was given to him.
Attorney
Schwartz told the policeman:  You are a liar! , and was immediately
placed
under  arrest for insulting a public officer. Al-Ahmar was taken away,
and
could  not finish the meeting with his attorney.

Attorney Yossi Schwartz then  complained against the policeman and was
released.

Abed al-Ahmar has been previously  imprisoned several times. He was most
recently released in May 1998 after two  and a half years in
administrative
detention. He was tortured repeatedly, and as  a result still suffers
from a
hiatal hernia and severe back problems. In 2000 he  sued the GSS for
damages, and the case is still pending. He is also in need of  medical
treatment that he could only receive in an Israeli hospital, but he has
been denied entry to Israel, even for humanitarian reasons. Now, Abed
al-Ahmar  finds himself once again in the hands of the GSS and PCATI and
PHRMG are most  concerned that he might be subjected to torture. We urge
the
prison authorities  to provide him with the medical treatment and
medication
that he requires.

The PHRMG values in Mr. al-Ahmar  a field researcher committed to the
ideals
of peace, human rights and  non-violence. He recently gave an interview
on
Israeli television with Gideon  Levy where he expressed his belief in
peaceful coexistence between Jews and  Palestinians on the basis of full
equality and an end to ethnic/nationally-based  discrimination. We are
concerned that the Israeli GSS is harassing him and  trying to prevent
him
from pursuing a career in human rights.

Furthermore, after the arrest on 23 April 2001 of Mr. Adnan  al-Hajar, a
human rights lawyer with al-Mezan Center in Gaza, and the arrest on  28
April 2001 of Mr. Hashem Abu Hassan, field researcher with B'Tselem, the
transfer for interrogation of Mr. Abed al-Ahmar seems to point to a
pattern
of  harassment of Palestinian human rights activists by the Israeli
authorities.

For further information, please contact:

PCATI,    Hannah Friedman, 02-563 0073  or 056 556 442
               Guy  Tatsa, 058 356 030 or 03-529 0572
PHRMG, Mireille Widmer, 02-582  3372

Please send letters of protest to:

Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein
Fax. +972-2-627  4481

Minister of Justice Meir Shitrit
Fax. +972-2-675  3718
sar at justice.gov.il

Minister of Internal Affairs Uzi Landau
Fax. +972-2-581  1832

Chairman of the Knesset State Comptroller's Committee
MK  Amnon Rubinstein
Fax. +972-2-675 3111

with copy to the PHRMG, admin at phrmg.org and PCATI,
pcati at netvision.net.il,
fax 02-566  5477






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