Thursday, June 2, 2011

Family urges Amnesty Int'l to press Israel to release seriously-ill detainee

PIC [ 31/05/2011 - 10:10 PM ]
From Khalid Amayreh in Dura, Israeli-occupied West

The family and relatives of a Palestinian political detainee, who is seriously ill, are urging Amnesty International and other human rights organizations to press the Israeli government to release him "before it is too late."

Yasser Mahmoud Rajoub, 53 and  father of four daughters, was arrested by the Israeli occupation army on January 10, 2011 on seemingly frivolous and abstract charges stating that he posed a security threat to the state of Israel .

Such vague and nebulous charges are usually leveled against Palestinian individuals Israel wants to keep behind bars but lacks any real evidence that would indict them before a true court of law.

Rajoub, who is  brother  to  former Palestinian Authority strongman Jibril Rajoub, is suffering  from lung  cancer. According to a recent medical report, his overall medical condition was progressively deteriorating.

He reportedly lost a  lot of weight recently but the Israeli  prison authorities have so  far refused to allow him access to quality medical care. His administrative detention was recently extended for another six months for unexplained reasons.

In addition to carcinoma,  Rajoub is also suffering from diabetes and high blood  pressure.

According  to  treating  physicians, Rajoub  would die if no adequate medical  care was made available for him sooner than later.

Earlier this week, Rajoub's four  daughters, Ibtihal, Ala'a, Ayaat and Hanin, appealed to  " all kind-hearted men and women around the world to help save our father from the claws of death."

"Our father never hurt any person, never violated any law, or  committed any crime. He is being detained purely for his conscientious objections to the Israeli  occupation. His continued incarceration is an affront to justice, civility and human dignity. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

"In  all  countries, people are treated as innocent  until proven guilty. Here in Israel, a country that claims to be civilized and democratic,  people  are treated as guilty even if they are proven innocent.

"We therefore call on all  conscientious people around the world to intervene rather immediately to save our father from this cruelty and looming  death."

Yasser Rajoub was one of more than 400 Palestinian Islamic activists deported to southern Lebanon by the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin more than 21 years ago.

All in all, the former nurse spent more than 14 years in Israeli prisons and detention camps for his alleged political activism.

However, he was never convicted of any actual felony or crime warranting a lengthy prison sentence.

Rajoub's other twin brother Nayef, a former PA minister of Waqf and religious affairs, is also being held in administrative detention in an Israeli jail "for opposing the policies of the Israeli occupation regimes."

He, too, spent more than 10 years in Israeli jails for his purely political activism against the occupation.

An Israeli prison official said Rajoub was being treated as an "administrative detainee," meaning that his detention was first and foremost politically motivated.

The spokesman admitted that whatever objectionable activities Rajoub that may have led to his open-ended imprisonment, were completely peaceful.

However, the spokesman argued defensively that "we are not living in Sweden or Switzerland."

When this writer retorted that human rights were universal, the spokesman said rather laconically "I am not authorized to elaborate more."

In most administrative detention cases, which are in the hundreds, defense lawyers are barred from accessing whatever evidence justifying a prolonged  incarceration.

In most cases, administrative detainees are made to languish in jails and detention centers for long periods extending up to 10 years without charge or trial.

Human rights groups operating in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Israel's own B'tselem group, contend that the real rationale behind administrative detention is to torment and persecute a given Palestinian activist or suspected activist for his convictions and usually peaceful activities.