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Israel’s detention of Palestinian human rights defenders condemned

December 5, 2017 at 11:54 am

Israeli security forces take positions outside the Israeli-run Ofer prison, in the West Bank city, 5 December 2017 [Shadi Hatem/Apaimages]

Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer has condemned Israel’s detention of three human rights defenders, in a statement issued following dawn raids yesterday.

Israeli forces arrested Khaled Zabarqah from Al-Lydd, Eyad Messk, who is the head of the legal unit at the Commission of Detainees and ex-Detainees Affairs, and Feras Al-Sabbah, the director of Al-Meethaq for Human Rights organisation in Jerusalem, in the raids yesterday.

All three are “lawyers involved with the defence of Palestinian prisoners”.

After being detained, “the three human rights defenders were taken from their homes to an interrogation centre in Petah Tikva, and are awaiting a detention extension hearing.”

“The detention extension hearings are a policy used by the Israeli forces to either start or extend the period of interrogation, or to buy time for the military prosecutor to file charges against Palestinians,” Addameer notes.

According to the organisation, “Israeli forces routinely target human rights defenders as part of a recently intensifying campaign against dissent”, citing the detention of Abdallah Abu Rahma from Beli’n, near Ramallah, on 20 November.

Read: Israel issues 40 administrative detention in 10 days

Abdallah is the coordinator of the Public Committee Against the Wall and the Settlements” in his village. He faces a hearing tomorrow but has not been given a list of charges.

Citing the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, Addameer condemned Israeli measures taken against such individuals, who “organise and participate in protests and demonstrations against the Separation Wall and settlements”, exercising their “right to resist an occupying force”.

“Human rights defenders face ongoing forms of indiscriminate and arbitrary punishment long after they have been released. Requests from them and their families for permits from the Israeli authorities are consistently denied, they face targeted persecution and intimidation, detention and questioning at checkpoints, defamation, and, in some cases, re-arrest,” Addameer said.

“As the occupation attempts to silence voices of resistance, and to pacify an occupied population, Addameer calls on the immediate release of the three lawyers from the interrogation centre, also on the occupying forces to cease its attack on human rights defenders.”