Israelis Resume Use of
Torture - Israeli High Court Petitioned
Today, 11 June 2001,
Mr. al-Ahmar, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel
(PCATI) and the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group
(PHRMG) petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice
demanding the immediate cessation of the torture of Mr.
al-Ahmar and the provision of proper medical care denied to
him until today.
Yesterday, June 10,
Mr. Al-Ahmar met with his attorney Allegra Pacheco and
reported that he had been shackled in tight handcuffs to a
slanting chair for the entire day in a contored position,
known as "Shabah", outlawed by the Israeli Supreme
Court on 9 September 1999. This position is extremely
painful and puts enormous pressure on the internal organs
and lower back, precisely in the areas Mr. Al-Ahmar is
suffering from medical problems. He wrote in his affidavit
that the Shabah position "caused terrible tightening in
my back muscles and I felt that my stomach was being ripped
out from my body." Mr. Al-Ahmar showed his attorney the
red marks on his wrists from the tight handcuffs and during
the visit, he vomited on the floor. This was the third time
he had vomited that day.
On Thursday 7 June and
Friday 8 June, Mr. Al-Ahmar reported to his attorney that
his physical condition was deteriorating and that he had not
being given adequate medical care. By June 8, having been
held "under interrogation" for 17 days, he had in
effect been interrogated only three times, the first time
for hardly 15 minutes. The rest of the time, he was kept in
a small, rancid, damp and windowless cell in complete
isolation. The damp and cold, air-conditioned air, made his
back pains even more acute. Over the weekend, rats and a
snake infested his cell.
Despite his difficult
condition, Mr. Al-Ahmar threatens to undertake a hunger
strike to protest his continued illegal and unfounded
detention. The GSS justifies Mr. Al-Ahmar's detention by
"secret evidence" to which neither Mr. Al-Ahmar
nor his lawyer have access, therefore preventing them from
presenting any sort of defense. PHRMG and PCATI believe
strongly that Mr. Al-Ahmar's detention, torture and
interrogation is intended to cause him further physical harm
and to harass him for his work in human rights, especially
his activism against torture. This is also why Mr.
Al-Ahmar has been adopted as a prisoner of conscience by
The next hearing on
his detention may occur on Monday 18 June 2001, although the
authorities have yet to inform his attorneys of the date.
Mr. Abed Rahman
al-Ahmar is a well-known Palestinian human rights activist,
working as a field researcher with the Palestinian Human
Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG). Mr. Al-Ahmar was arrested
and beaten by Israeli security forces on 24.5.2001 and has
since been held in detention, first at Gush Etzion military
detention center, and since Wednesday 30.5.2001 at the
Russian Compound detention center in Jerusalem.
30.5.2001, Mr. al-Ahmar's detention was extended by 20 days,
without the presence or the knowledge of Attorney Yossi
Schwartz, who represented Mr. al-Ahmar and already visited
him on 27.5.2001. Attorney Schwartz filed an appeal against
this extension on Monday, 4.6.2001, but the appeal was
rejected the following day (5.6.2001) by the Military Court
of Appeals in Beit El, West Bank.
Mr. al-Ahmar was
imprisoned several times in the past. He was tortured
repeatedly by the GSS while detained at the Russian
Compound, and as a result still suffers from a hiatal hernia
and severe back problems.
We deeply thank all
individuals and organizations who have so far expressed
their concern about Mr. Al-Ahmar's detention. Such a
letter-writing campaign is crucial to secure his release,
stop the torture and pressure the Israeli authorites to
provide adequate medical treatment. International pressure
and attention helps. We have already received copies of more
than one hundred letters of protest from all over the world.
We urge you to continue writing letters every few days. We
will update you continuously.
You will find attached
a sample of such a letter of protest, as well as a list
of contact addresses and fax numbers. Letters can also be
sent to the Israeli representatives in your country.
For further details
PCATI - Hannah
Friedman: Tel. 02-5630073, 056-556442
PHRMG - Mireille Widmer: Tel. 02-5823372
Kindly send copies of
emails, faxes, or other correspondence regarding Mr.
al-Ahmar's detention to:
Fax 02-566 5477
ALL THE COPIES OF
YOUR LETTERS WILL BE KEPT AND GIVEN TO MR. AL-AHMAR AFTER