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Israel and the Occupied Territories: Torture / fear of torture: Ziyadah Qawasmah

, N° d'index: MDE 15/006/1995

Ziyadah Qawasmah, a student aged 19, has been in detention for 122 days. His lawyer reports that he has been hooded, deprived of sleep for up to six days a week and shackled in painful positions throughout this time. He is still under interrogation by the GSS in Ramallah Prison, where he remains at risk of torture and ill treatment. Ziyadah Qawasmah was not allowed to meet his lawyer until about 25 days after his arrest in November 1994; he still does not have access to his family. His detention has been extented nine times. He reportedly told his lawyer that his interrogators have told him that he would not be allowed leave interrogation without confessing to alleged activities in connection with Hamas. AI is calling for an investigation of the reports of torture and ill-treatment.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: MDE 15/06/95
Distr: UA/SC
UA 67/95 Torture / Fear of torture 16 March 1995
ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES Ziyadah Qawasmah, aged 19, student
Ziyadah Qawasmah has been in detention for 122 days. According to his lawyer,
he has been hooded, deprived of sleep for up to six days a week, and shackled
in painful positions for prolonged periods throughout this time. He is still
under interrogation by the General Security Service (GSS) in Ramallah Prison,
where he remains at risk of torture and ill-treatment.
Ziyadah Qawasmah, a student in his final year of high school in Hebron, was
not allowed to meet his lawyer until about 25 days after his arrest on 13 November
1994, and he still does not have access to his family. He has now received
a total of nine orders extending his detention - most recently on 8 March,
for 12 days. He reportedly told his lawyer that his interrogators told him
that he would not be allowed to leave interrogation without confessing to his
alleged activities in connection with the Islamist movement Hamas.
The United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and Article 7 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which Israel has ratified,
forbid unconditionally the use of any form of torture or ill-treatment. No
justification may be used to derogate from a State Party's obligations under
these treaties.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Since 1987, interrogations by the GSS have been regulated by secret guidelines,
established by a Commission of Inquiry into GSS interrogation methods, headed
by Justice Moshe Landau. These guidelines allow the use of "moderate physical
pressure".
In October 1994, after a suicide-bombing claimed by Hamas which caused the
death of 22 people, the Israeli Ministerial Committee which oversees the
operations of the GSS apparently authorized the use of "increased physical
pressure" for a three-month period. This three-month period was renewed on
23 January 1995 after other suicide bombings at Beit Lid near Netanya killed
20 soldiers and one civilian.
Since the guidelines are secret, the meaning of "increased physical pressure"
is not known. Responses to earlier Urgent Actions have stated that there has
been "no deviation from the principles" set out in the guidelines of the Landau
Commission. However, Amnesty International has long had serious concerns about
interrogation practices by the GSS, believing that either the guidelines permit
the use of torture or ill-treatment, or that interrogators have been extensively
violating those guidelines with impunity. Since 1987, Palestinian detainees
have systematically reported that they have suffered hooding, prolonged sleep
deprivation, shackling in painful positions, (sitting on very small chairs
or standing tied to the wall), confinement in closet-sized cells and beating.
This torture or ill-treatment is generally used in order to make detainees
provide information or confess. After a confession a defendant may be sentenced
in a military court without the production of further substantive evidence.
In letters to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin since the authorization of "increased
physical pressure", Amnesty International has asked what methods involving
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physical or psychological pressure are now permitted to members of the Israeli
security and other services in their interrogation of detainees. The
organization has not yet received any reply.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in English, French, Hebrew or in your own language:
- calling for a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the reported
torture and ill-treatment of Ziyadah Qawasmah;
- seeking assurances that he is being treated humanely in accordance with
international standards, and that he is now being granted access to his family;
- reminding the authorities that, as a state party of the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other
Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Israel has an obligation
to ensure that no one under Israeli jurisdiction is subjected to torture or
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and that no justification
may be used to derogate from these obligations;
- expressing concern at reports that the Ministerial Committee overseeing the
GSS has authorized the use of "increased physical pressure" against suspects.
Ask for clarification of the Landau Commission guidelines and of the methods
interrogators are permitted to use, including details of the "increased physical
pressure" referred to.
APPEALS TO
1. Mr Yitzhak Rabin
Prime Minister and Minister of Defence
Office of the Prime Minister
3 Kaplan Street
Jerusalem 91919
State of Israel
Telegrams: Prime Minister Rabin, Jerusalem, Israel
Telexes: 25279 mpres il
Faxes: +972-2-664838 or +972-3-6917915
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
2. Mr David Liba'i
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
29 Salah al-Din Street
Jerusalem 91029
State of Israel
Faxes: +972-2-285438
Telegrams: Justice Minister, Jerusalem, Israel
Salutation: Dear Minister
3. Mr Moshe Shahal
Minister of Police
Ministry of Police
PO Box 18182
3 Sheikh Jarrah
Kiryat Hamemshala
Jerusalem 91181
State of Israel
Faxes: +972-2-826769
Telegrams: Police Minister, Jerusalem, Israel
Salutation: Dear Minister
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4. Mr Shimon Peres
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Hakirya
Romema
Jerusalem 91999
State of Israel
Telexes: 25223
Faxes: +972-2-303367
Telegrams: Minister Peres, Jerusalem, Israel
Salutation: Dear Minister
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Judge Michael Ben-Yair
Attorney-General
PO Box 1087
Jerusalem
State of Israel
Faxes: +972-2-869-473
and to diplomatic representatives of Israel accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 2 May 1995.

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