Thursday, October 27, 2011

Group: Israel resumes isolation of PFLP leader

Israeli prison guards stand at the entrance to Ketziot prison in southern Israel,
ahead of a prisoner swap on Oct. 18. (Reuters/Yehuda Lachiani/Maariv)

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- The Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association said Thursday that an Israeli court in Beersheva decided to extend the isolation of Popular Front secretary-general Ahmad Saadat for a year.

The association added that the court ruled on secret documents that were presented by the Shin Beit which were released on August 8. Thus, the decision to extend his detention was made before the prisoners strike.

The association also said that Saadat was present in the court without his lawyers.

The court decision is the opposite of what the prison administration had reportedly promised the prisoners. They were to end isolation and other policies following the hunger strike, according to the association.

Saadat was recently taken to hospital in Ramle prison as his health deteriorated after the hunger strike. Saadat’s family has not been allowed to visit him since March 2009, according to the prisoners rights group.

The Israeli prison administration has not fulfilled its commitment to stop holding Palestinian prisoners in solitary confinement, the ministry of prisoner affairs in Ramallah said Wednesday.

Around 20 detainees are still in isolation despite Israel's pledge to end the practice following a 3-week mass hunger strike in jails across Israel to protest the policy, the ministry said in a statement.

Prisoners suspended the strike on Oct. 17 after they said Israel had announced it would meet the strikers' key demand.

Israel promised that detainees would be released from isolation immediately after 477 prisoners were released in a swap deal to free captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on Oct. 18, minister of detainees affairs Issa Qaraqe said, announcing the agreement.

Some prisoners who remain in solitary confinement have been in isolation cells for many years, including Hassan Salama, Ahmad al-Mughrabi, Abdullah al-Barghouthi and Saadat, the ministry noted.

The UN special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez told a UN General Assembly panel last week that all governments should ban solitary confinement except in extreme circumstances.

"Segregation, isolation, separation, cellular, lockdown, Supermax, the hole ... whatever the name, solitary confinement should be banned by states as a punishment or extortion technique," he said.

He also said indefinite and prolonged solitary confinement in excess of 15 days should be ended, citing studies that have established that lasting mental damage is caused after a few days of isolation.

"Considering the severe mental pain or suffering solitary confinement may cause, it can amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment when used as a punishment, during pre-trial detention, indefinitely or for a prolonged period, for persons with mental disabilities or juveniles," he said.


Israeli Court Renews Solitary Confinement Of Saadat For Additional Year

Friday October 28, 2011 04:07 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
The Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Ad-Dameer, stated that the Israeli District Court in Be’er Shiva ordered a one year extension of the solitary confinement of the detained Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmad Saadat.
Ahmad Saadat - Image Al Manar
Ahmad Saadat - Image Al Manar
The court stated that “it based its ruling on secret files provided by the Israeli Shabak on August, 8, 2011”.

The imprisoned PFLP secretary-general was sent to court without his lawyer, who never received a notice regarding this court session.

The Ad-Dameer stated that by sentencing Saadat to solitary confinement for an additional year, the court violated vows by the Israeli Prison Administration to end its solitary confinement policies, and to implement the demands of the detainees to receive treatment that abides by the International law. The vows came after that detainees conducted hunger-strike for 22 days.

The Ad-Dameer added that this ruling violates the International Law and all Human Rights treaties, especially international agreements concerning prisoners of war, and added that after 22 days of hunger-strike, Saadat was moved to the Al Ramla Prison hospital, after a sharp deterioration in his health condition.

The PFLP Secretary-General has been in solitary confinement also since March 16, 2009, not allowed any visitations and denied of his right to even write or receive letters from his family. Every isolation order issued against him since then was based on “secret information” to which not even his lawyer was allowed to have access to.

On December 28, 2008, an Israeli court sentenced Saadat, who is also an elected Palestinian Legislator, to thirty years, despite the fact that it dropped charges alleging that he planned the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi, who was killed in Al Hayat Hotel on 17 October 2001.

Saadat became the PFLP secretary-general in October 2001 after the Israeli army assassinated the former secretary-general, Abu Ali Mustafa, when two Israeli Army Apache helicopters fired missiles at his office in Ramallah, in the central West Bank, on August 27, 2001.