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Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories: Palestinian facing indefinite detention

, Index number: MDE 15/024/2011

Palestinian academic and writer Ahmad Qatamesh is being held as an administrative detainee, which allows the Israeli authorities to detain him indefinitely without charge and denies him any real opportunity to challenge the detention order.

UA: 127/11 Index: MDE 15/024/2011 Israel Date: 06 May 2011
URGENT ACTION
PALESTINIAN FACING INDEFINITE DETENTION
Palestinian academic and writer Ahmad Qatamesh is being held as an administrative detainee,
which allows the Israeli authorities to detain him indefinitely without charge and denies him any
real opportunity to challenge the detention order.
Ahmad Qatamesh was arrested by Israeli security forces at 2am on 21 April from his brother’s home in Ramallah in
the occupied West Bank. He was taken to Ofer detention centre in the West Bank, where he was questioned for
around 10 minutes by the Israel Security Agency (ISA). At a hearing on 28 April, a military judge agreed to extend
his detention for another six days for further questioning, although none followed in this period. At another hearing
on 2 May, the ISA made a request to extend his detention for a second time in order, according to his wife, to
question him about his association with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Ahmad Qatamesh
denied being active in the PFLP and the military judge refused the request.
A military court official told Ahmad Qatamesh’s lawyer that he would be released at 5pm on 3 May, and a prison
officer gave him the same message. However, at 8.30pm on 3 May, Ahmad Qatamesh was handed an administrative
detention order signed by the West Bank military commander of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The order appeared
to have been produced for another detainee, since Ahmad Qatamesh’s name was written over correction fluid. The
order was for an extension of administrative detention even though this is Ahmad Qatamesh’s first administrative
detention order since the 1990s. The order also stated that he was an activist in Hamas, an organization with very
different political views to those of the PFLP.
A military judge should review an administrative detention order within eight days and can cancel or reduce the
order, though the usual practice is for the judge to confirm it. Amnesty International is concerned that Ahmad
Qatamesh is being detained for the peaceful expression of his political views and therefore a prisoner of conscience.
Ahmad Qatamesh was arrested by the IDF in 1992 and reportedly tortured. He documented his experiences in a
publication called “I shall not wear your tarboosh [fez]”. Over a year later he was placed under administrative
detention after a judge had ordered his release on bail. After repeated administrative detention orders, he was
eventually released on 15 April 1998.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Hebrew or your own language, within the next seven days
Expressing concern that Ahmad Qatamesh is being detained for the peaceful expression of his political views and
noting that, if this is the case, Amnesty International would consider him to be a prisoner of conscience and call for
his immediate and unconditional release;
Calling on the Israeli authorities, in any case, to release Ahmad Qatamesh unless he is to be promptly charged
with a recognizable criminal offence and brought to trial in full conformity with international fair trial standards;
Calling on the Israeli authorities to end the use of administrative detention.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 13 MAY 2011 TO:
Commander of the IDF West Bank
Major-General Avi Mizrahi
GOC Central Command
Military Post 01149
Battalion 877
Israel Defense Forces, Israel
Fax: +972 2 530 5741 / 530 5724
Salutation: Major-General Avi Mizrahi
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of
Defence
Ehud Barak
Ministry of Defence
37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
Fax: +972 3 691 6940 / 696 2757
Salutation: Dear Minister
Attorney General
Yehuda Weinstein
Ministry of Justice
29 Salah al-Din Street
Jerusalem 91010
Israel
Fax: +972 2 628 5438 / 627 4481
Salutation: Dear Attorney-General
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.
Date: 06 May 2011
URGENT ACTION
PALESTINIAN FACING INDEFINITE DETENTION
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
During the 1990s, Amnesty International campaigned against Ahmad Qatamesh’s administrative detention. After he was released
in 1998, he studied political science and has since lectured in the humanities department at al-Quds University in Jerusalem.
Following his detention in April 2011, his wife Suha Barghouti, a board member of local human rights NGO Addameer, called his
arrest “an attempt to silence his critical voice”.
Administrative detention is an Israeli procedure under which Palestinian detainees from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip
are held without charge or trial for periods of up to six months which are renewable indefinitely. No criminal charges are filed
against administrative detainees, and there is no intention of bringing them to trial. Detainees are held on the basis of “secret
evidence” which the Israeli military authorities claim cannot be revealed for security reasons. The “secret evidence” on which the
military authorities base their decision to issue an administrative detention order is not made available to the detainee or his/her
lawyer and the detainee cannot challenge the reasons for his/her detention.
The Israeli authorities have used administrative detention against thousands of Palestinians over several decades, but the number
of administrative detainees has decreased over the last three years. In March 2011, 217 Palestinians were being held as
administrative detainees, according to Israel Prison Service statistics.
The PFLP is a left-wing Palestinian political party which also has an armed wing. While Ahmad Qatamesh was a political and
intellectual supporter of the PFLP in the 1990s, he says he has not been involved with them for 13 years. To Amnesty
International’s knowledge, he has never been involved with PFLP-affiliated armed groups or advocated violence.
UA: 127/11 Index: MDE 15/024/2011 Issue Date: 06 May 2011

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