CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS, INCLUDING THE QUESTIONS OF: TORTURE AND DETENTION
Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Report of the Special Rapporteur, Theo van Boven
Summary of information, including individual cases, transmitted to
Governments and replies received*
* The present document is being circulated in the languages of submission only as it greatly exceeds the page limitations currently imposed by the relevant General Assembly resolutions.
1. This addendum to the report of the Special Rapporteur contains, on a country-by-country basis, summaries of general allegations and individual cases, as well as of urgent appeals, and government replies. The Special Rapporteur would like to recall that in transmitting allegations and urgent appeals to Governments, he does not make any judgement concerning the merits of the cases, nor does he support the opinion and activities of the persons on behalf of whom he intervenes. The prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is a non-derogable right, and every human being is legally and morally entitled to protection. When the Special Rapporteur receives reliable information that gives grounds to fear that a person may be at risk of torture or other forms of ill-treatment, he may transmit an urgent appeal to the Government concerned. The urgent appeals sent by the Special Rapporteur have a humanitarian and preventive purpose, and do not require the exhaustion of domestic remedies. The letters sent to Governments contain summaries of individual cases of torture and, where applicable, include general references to the phenomenon of torture. In these letters, the Special Rapporteur requests the Government concerned to clarify the substance of the allegations and urges it to take steps to investigate them, prosecute and impose appropriate sanctions on any persons guilty of torture.
2. Observations by the Special Rapporteur have also been included where applicable. Such observations, which sometimes note the most recent findings of other supervisory bodies, in particular United Nations treaty bodies, are usually made when the information suggests that there may be a problem extending beyond the exceptional or isolated incident. The fact that there is no such observation in respect of a particular country merely reflects the state of information brought to the attention of the mandate, and does not necessarily mean that there is no substantial problem in that country.
3. During the period under review, i.e. from 15 December 2002 to 15 December 2003, the Special Rapporteur sent 154 letters to 76 countries. The Special Rapporteur also sent 71 letters reminding Governments of a number of cases that had been transmitted in previous years, and 369 urgent appeals to 80 Governments on behalf of individuals with regard to whom serious fears had been expressed that they might be subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment.
4. Owing to restrictions on the length of documents, the Special Rapporteur has been obliged to reduce considerably details of communications sent and received. As a result, requests from Governments to publish their replies in their totality could not be acceded to. Information concerning the follow-up by Governments to the country-visit recommendations of the Special Rapporteur is included in document E/CN.4/2004/56/Add.3.
SUMMARY OF CASES TRANSMITTED AND REPLIES RECEIVED
1. By letter dated 21 July 2003, sent jointly with the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, the Special Rapporteur advised the Government that he had received information concerning the situation of female prisoners in Neve Tirza prison in Ramle. A group of female prisoners was reportedly attacked when they refused to stand up for roll-call in the prison. It is reported that tear gas was sprayed into small and crowded cells and many of the women prisoners were injured. One prisoner, Arij Ataf Sbahi Shahabri, was reportedly thrown to the floor and beaten on the back to the extent that she could not walk properly afterwards. Another prisoner,
Kahara Elsa‘adi, also could not walk and she reportedly suffered a broken arm and a swollen neck. The conditions under which the women prisoners are being held are reportedly below the minimum standards. Specifically, the following were reported: sleeping on the floor, unjustified isolation in harsh conditions, extreme crowding, denial of family visits, preventing minors from exercising their right to study and take examinations, improper medical care, strip searches violating the dignity of the prisoners, food of poor quality, and lack of toilets in the prison yard. The Special Rapporteurs already intervened in connection with the conditions of detention in Neve Tirza prison by sending three joint urgent appeals dated 8 February 2002, to which the Government responded by letter dated 14 February 2002 (see E/CN.4/2003/68/Add.1, paras. 739-740), 26 September and 16 October 2001 (see E/CN.4/2002/76/Add.1, paras. 814 and 815).
2. By letter dated 24 July 2003, sent jointly with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, the Special Rapporteur advised the Government that he had received information concerning the detention of several individuals who are reportedly being held at the Russian Compound Detention Centre (RCDC) in Jerusalem.
3. Yasser Ali Abu Dia was reportedly arrested on 9 June 2003 and held in incommunicado detention until 3 July 2003. It is reported that after his arrest Mr. Abu Dia was held at a series of locations, firstly in the Etzion Camp for three days, from which he was transferred to the General Security Services (GSS) Interrogation Unit at the RCDC, then to the Shikma Detention Centre, Ashkelon, and then returned to the RCDC. It is alleged that during that period he did not have access to a lawyer as an Order Prohibiting Meeting with Counsel had been in place and that a petition to the High Court of Justice for its removal had been rejected on 22 June 2003. It is reported that Mr. Abu Dia stated in a sworn affidavit that during his period of detention, he was held in solitary confinement for eight days and during his interrogation he was tied to a chair for seven consecutive days between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. It is alleged that he received threats concerning the demolition of his house and the arrest of family members unless he confessed. It is reported that he is still being held in the RCDC.
4. Bassam Sharawi was reportedly arrested on 10 June 2003 and taken to the Etzion Camp before being transferred to the GSS Interrogation Unit in RCDC, where he is still reportedly being held. It is alleged that he was denied access to a lawyer until 23 June 2003 by an Order Prohibiting Meeting with Counsel and that an appeal to have it removed had been rejected by the High Court of Justice on 22 June 2003. It is reported that on 23 June 2003, he stated in a sworn affidavit that he was beaten and kicked during his arrest,which resulted in swelling on the left side of his chest and severe headaches and dizziness, and that he had been forced to eat dirt and was not permitted to wash his mouth until he reached the Etzion Camp 10 hours later. He also stated that during his detention he had been held in isolation for six days and that during his interrogation he had been tied to a chair for nine consecutive days, during four of which he was not permitted to sleep for than two hours.
5. Yunes Abu-Sneineh was reportedly arrested on 11 June 2003 and taken to the Etzion Camp and then transferred to the GSS Interrogation Unit at RCDC, where he is still being held. It is alleged that Mr. Abu-Sneineh was denied access to his lawyer until 29 June 2003 due to an Order Prohibiting Meeting with Counsel. It is
reported that a petition to remove the order was rejected by the High Court of Justice on 22 June 2003. It is also reported that Mr. Abu-Sneineh stated in a sworn affidavit on 29 June 2003 that during his detention he was held in solitary confinement for 10 days and that during his interrogation he had been tied to a chair for three consecutive days and not permitted to sleep for more than two hours per day. It is further alleged that during his interrogation he was given, upon his request, medication for rheumatism which caused dizziness, thirst and pain in the stomach, and as a result he was taken to the detention centre’s medical clinic.
6. By letter dated 17 September 2003, the Special Rapporteur advised the Government that he had received information concerning the following cases.
7. Ghassan Muhammad Sulayman Jarrar, aged 42, director of sales in a commercial company and a former administrative detainee, was reportedly arrested at his house in Ramallah at 11 a.m. on 4 April 2002. Twelve hours after his arrest, he was reportedly handcuffed, blindfolded and beaten with a club, in particular on the left leg. He was allegedly subjected to similar beatings several times while in detention. On one occasion, he was reportedly simultaneously strangled with an old sheet and kicked all over the body, in particular on the chest and the kidney area. As a result, he allegedly lost consciousness, but the soldiers allegedly kept hitting him. He is also believed to have been threatened with a loaded gun. It is reported that he was subsequently taken to Ofer military camp near Beitunia.
8. Hassan Twefik Ruagba, a 34-year-old resident of Rujabi village, near Nablus, was reportedly arrested by Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers at his home on 5 December 2002. The soldiers are alleged to have pointed a gun at his 7-year-old son, threatening him with death. It is reported that when he was arrested, he was blindfolded, handcuffed and beaten. He was reportedly taken to the Hawara military camp, where he is believed to have been kept in a cell for four days before being transferred to the GSS interrogation unit at the Petah Tikva Detention Centre, where he allegedly remained for two hours. It is reported that he was subsequently held for 90 days at an undisclosed place of detention. For the first 16 days of his detention, he was reportedly kept in a 2.5 m x 1 m cell. He is also alleged to have been interrogated for 20 hours a day for five consecutive days, during which he was reportedly not allowed to sleep and was made to sit on a diagonal chair with his hands and feet tightly bound. It is also alleged that he was subjected to beatings during interrogation sessions. As a result of the allegedly unsanitary conditions in the place of detention, he is said to have developed scabies and a skin infection. He was reportedly brought to the GSS interrogation unit at the Kishon Detention Centre on 5 March 2003. There, he was allegedly held in solitary confinement.
9. Bashar Marwan Fretah, from Nablus, was reportedly arrested on 22 February 2003 and taken to the GSS Interrogation Unit at the Skima Detention Centre in Ashkelon. It is alleged that on 27 March 2003, a military court ordered that his detention be prolonged for a further 15 days. His lawyer is believed to have been barred from visiting him until 9 April 2003. An Order Prohibiting Meeting with Counsel, valid until 31 March 2003, was reportedly issued against him. A request from the lawyer that this order be lifted was allegedly denied by the High Court of Justice. His incommunicado detention is said to have subsequently been extended until 7 April 2003. On 10 April 2003 this extension was allegedly extended for a further 15 days. He was reportedly held in a small, windowless cell with nine other detainees. They were all reportedly forced to sleep on mattresses on the floor and were required to eat their meals in the cell. It is also said that the toilets were close to the cell and that there was an unbearable smell coming from them. He is believed to have been denied a daily walk and not to have been allowed outdoors for at least two weeks. It is alleged that on 8 April 2003, he and other detainees went on a hunger strike to demand that their detention conditions be improved.
10. Mohammed Yusuf Ashak Burkan, a resident of Hebron, was reportedly arrested on 27 March 2003 and held at Etzion Detention Centre. He was later transferred to the GSS Interrogation Unit at RCDC. Following his arrest, he reportedly did not meet with counsel for 52 days, due to the issuing of several Orders Prohibiting Meeting with Counsel. It is reported that when he lawyer eventually met his lawyer on 18 May 2003, he gave the lawyer a sworn affidavit claiming that he had been beaten several times during his interrogation, that he was reportedly shackled to a chair by his hands and legs for three consecutive days and that he was only permitted to sleep for a few hours, still shackled. He also reported that several times he was forced to stand for over an hour with his hands and legs manacled. He allegedly continues to be detained at the RCDC.
11. Iman Shukri Abdul Rahman Jamjum, a student from Hebron, was reportedly arrested on 4 April 2003 and has reportedly been held at the GSS Interrogation Unit at the Shikma Detention Centre in Ashkelon, where he is believed to have been in isolation for 22 days, without access to legal counsel. On 7 April 2003, his detention was reportedly extended by 30 days. It is reported that he was not represented by legal council at the hearing. An Order Prohibiting Meeting with Counsel, valid through 14 April 2003, was reportedly issued on 9 April 2003, after his mother allegedly retained a lawyer. The Order is said to have been subsequently extended to 17 April. A petition to lift the Order was allegedly filed by his lawyer with the High Court of Justice, but it was rejected. The Order Prohibiting Meeting with Counsel is thought to have again been extended through 24 April 2003. He is believed to have been able to meet with his lawyer for the first time on 28 April 2003. In a sworn affidavit, he reportedly described the conditions of his detention. He is believed to share a windowless cell with nine other detainees; there are not enough mattresses for all of them, and the smell in the cell, where the detainees are forced to take their meals, is terrible. It is reported that he is not allowed a daily walk outdoors.
12. Dr. Fadel Abu Hain and 19 members of his family were reportedly arrested on 1 May 2003 in al-Shojaeya neighbourhood, Gaza. He is reported to have been interrogated for more than two weeks, during which he is believed to have been subjected to the so called Shabeh treatment, which consists of a combination of techniques over a prolonged period, entailing sensory isolation, sleep deprivation and infliction of pain.
13. Concerning Ramle prison, it is reported that prisoners started a hunger strike on 17 April 2003 to demand better detention conditions. It is alleged that prisoners are deprived of basic hygiene, including soap, shaving cream and toothpaste. It is also reported that food sent by their relatives is banned and that prisoners have only access to the food provided by the prison, which is believed to be of an appalling quality. Sick prisoners in Ramle are reportedly denied medical attention.
14. Concerning conditions of detention in the military police centre based in Gush Etzion, numerous detainees have reported that they were beaten, kicked, slapped, and confined in small, cold coffin-like cells (known as “fridges”), often while handcuffed with tight plastic handcuffs and blindfold.
15. The Special Rapporteur has been informed that approximately 2,500 Palestinians were arrested during a large-scale Israeli incursion into Palestinian residential areas between 27 February and early March 2002: Tulkarem, between 7 and 12 March 2002; Deheisheh, in Bethlehem, from 8 March 2002; Qalqiliya, from 10 March 2002; and al-Am'ari refugee camp, near Ramallah, from 12 March 2002. All male Palestinians between the ages of 15 and 45 were reportedly told to report, were questioned briefly and sorted into groups. Other men are believed to have been arrested during house-to-house searches. It is reported that hundreds were detained and taken to temporary holding stations located in military camps such as Adourayim temporary detention centre (also known as Majnuna), Shomron temporary detention centre (also known as Huwara), and Ofer temporary detention centre, or in Israeli settlements such as Kedumim, Gush Etzion, Beit El and Erez. It is alleged that the detainees were held in degrading conditions for several days before being released. Detainees were allegedly blindfolded, handcuffed tightly with plastic handcuffs, forced to squat, sit or kneel for prolonged periods, not permitted to go to the toilet and deprived of food and blankets for at least 24 hours, despite the cold temperatures at night. In particular, the Special Rapporteur has received information concerning the following cases.
16. Awni Sa‘id, from al-Am'ari refugee camp in Ramallah, was reportedly arrested on 12 March 2002 and transferred to Ofer military camp. It is alleged that he and his co-detainees were not given food during the first day of detention and that on the second that they were given an apple, a tomato, a small loaf of bread and a yogurt to share between up to 10 individuals.
17. Jamal ‘Issa was reportedly arrested on 8 March 2002 and released six days later without interrogation. It is reported that during the first 24 hours of his detention he was kept at the District Coordination Office (DCO) along with about 60 other Palestinian detainees. They are believed to have been kept blindfolded, and tightly and painfully handcuffed. The wrists of many detainees reportedly turned blue and many screamed with pain as they begged for them to be taken off.
18. Muhammad ‘Arafa, aged 23, was reportedly arrested on 8 March 2002 and taken to the DCO. He and other detainees were reportedly sprayed with water despite the cold weather. It is alleged that there was no toilet and that they were taken to the street to relieve themselves, still handcuffed. Detainees are also believed to have been denied food and water for 30 hours. Muhammad ‘Arafa was later reportedly transferred to Kedumim, where he is believed to have been kept for three days without being interrogated or charged, before eventually being released.
19. The Special Rapporteur was informed that during the so-called Operation Defensive Shield, which started on 29 March 2002, approximately 6,000 Palestinians from Ramallah and Jenin were arrested and kept in degrading conditions. About 2,000 of them are believed to have been held incommunicado. Detainees were reportedly forced to remain for hours or even days dressed only in their underclothes. Detainees are said to have been held in the detention camp of Ketziot (also known as Ansar III) in the Negev, Ofer, Megiddo other detention centres.
20. On 4 April 2002, during an Israeli incursion in Jenin, male Palestinians were reportedly ordered by loudspeakers to report to the IDF. Others are said to have been arrested later. According to the information received, detainees were ordered to strip to their underwear, had their hands bound behind their backs with plastic handcuffs, and were blindfolded for up to 10 hours. They were reportedly taken to Bir al-Sa‘adeh, where they are believed to have been exposed to the elements (it is alleged that the ground was muddy and the weather was cold), and forced to kneel or squat on the ground. They were reportedly not given any blankets or food, and a number of them are believed to have received little or no water. Detainees were allegedly later taken to Salem military camp where they are said to have been held in an exposed open area for up to three days. It is alleged that they were not provided with blankets and that they received only small amounts of water. Those who were kept for less than one day were allegedly not given food. It is reported that the detainees were again made to squat or kneel and ordered to keep their heads lowered. They were reportedly later taken to an interrogation point near Salem military camp. After being interrogated, they were taken back to Rumalleh village. In this connection, the Special Rapporteur has received information on the following individual cases.
21. Ahmar Muhammad ‘Abd al-Karim, aged 25, was reportedly arrested in Jenin refugee camp on 9 April 2003. He is believed to have been used as a human shield and to have been beaten with rifle butts all over his body, and in particular on the neck, and forced to sit with his head on his knees and his hands tied behind his back. He was reportedly taken to a place near Bir al-Sa‘adeh forest, near Jenin outpost, along with other detainees. Despite the cold weather, they were forced to stay in their underwear. According to the information received, when they asked for blankets, the detainees were beaten. They are believed to have been kept in this place for 10 hours, during which it is alleged that they were not given water. On the following days, he and other detainees were reportedly taken to Salem, where they were allegedly kept for 24 hours before being released.
22. Jamal Mustafa Khueil, a resident of Jenin refugee camp, was reportedly detained by the Israeli army on 11 April 2002 and held by the GSS at the Interrogation Unit of the Kishon detention centre (also known as Jalameh detention centre) near Haifa, until 22 April 2002. From this date, his relatives were denied any information about the place of his detention. On 24 April 2002 he was reportedly taken from the Centre by GSS investigators, allegedly without informing the Kishon detention centre where they were taking him. He was reportedly not returned to Kishon/Jalameh detention centre. A human rights organization is believed to have submitted a pre-petition to the Attorney General's office requesting information about his whereabouts. However, the Attorney General's office reportedly did not provide this information at the time, but stated that he was being investigated at a GSS facility and that investigators from the Kishon GSS Interrogation Unit were taking part in the investigation. According to the information received, on 2 May 2002, the Attorney General eventually said that Jamal Mustafa Khueil would be allowed to have access to his lawyer the following day. On 3 May 2002, he reportedly told his lawyer that had been beaten while blindfolded and handcuffed immediately after arrest. He is said to have been taken to a military court where his detention order was renewed around 30 April, and subsequently taken by the IDF, blindfolded, shackled and handcuffed, to an unknown place where he was held isolated in a dark room for seven to eight days, before being taken to Kishon/Jalameh detention centre.
23. Maher al-Naqib, a 25-year-old man living in ‘Askar refugee camp in Nablus who is believed to be paralyzed from the waist down as a result of two gunshot wounds he received in 1994, was reportedly arrested and severely beaten by IDF soldiers on 16 April 2002. According to the information received, the soldiers entered the house where Maher al-Naqib was staying with his four sisters, his father, mother, sister-in-law and 8-month-old niece. They were reportedly all told to stand and, as Maher al-Naqib was not able to do, he was allegedly taken to another room, lifted and punched and hit with rifles on the lower legs, hands, chest and back of the head. It is also alleged that he was flipped over onto the floor and kicked all over the body and on the head for five minutes. He is reported to have been subsequently handcuffed with a plastic tie and taken by truck to Huwara detention centre. It is reported that he was pushed off the truck and fell on his back, hitting his head on the ground. During his detention, it was reported that five times, soldiers flipped over his wheelchair and made other detainees pick him up. It is also reported that on one occasion, his shirt was removed and he was put outside. He was reportedly not given any food, water or blankets and remained outside for two days. During the four days he spent in detention, he was allegedly given food only once. He was reportedly released on 19 April 2002 after having been questioned.
24. Concerning Anan Nabih Labadeh (whose case was included in a joint urgent appeal sent with the Chairman-Rapporteur on the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on 18 March 2003), after a petition to the Israeli High Court he was reportedly allowed access to his lawyer on 23 March 2003. In a sworn affidavit he reportedly declared that he had been beaten and ill-treated at the Huwara military camp, near Nablus. He was allegedly left outside exposed to the rain without being allowed to go to the toilet. It is also reported that when he was moved into a cell prison guards removed his wheelchair, even though he is unable to move around without it. Guards reportedly did not give him any assistance with his personal care, and at the time of his statement he had not been allowed a change of clothes or a shower since being brought to Huwara military camp on 11 March 2003. In his statement he also reported on the conditions at the Huwara camp, where it is alleged that detainees are not given a change of clothing, there are no facilities for washing, the food is insufficient, and the cells have no ventilation and are small and crowded. He was reportedly later transferred to Ramle prison in central Israel.
25. ‘Abd al-Salam ‘Adwan is believed to have been held incommunicado for 34 days before he met his lawyer on 11 April 2003. His case was included in a joint urgent appeal sent by the Special Rapoprteur on torture and the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on 2 April 2002 (see E/CN.4/2003/68/Add.1, para. 742). During interrogations he was reportedly beaten, deprived of sleep and made to stand for long hours in a painful position known as shabeh (sitting on a small chair in a painful position). He is alleged to have initially complained of severe back pain and to have been unable to hear in one ear, apparently as a result of the beatings. He reportedly received medical care and his condition is said to have stabilized.
26. Marwan Barghouthi, Secretary-General of Fatah and member of the Palestinian Legislative Counsel, was reportedly arrested in Ramallah on 14 April 2002 and taken to the Moskobiyeh detention centre in Jerusalem. His case was included in a joint urgent appeal sent by the Special Rapporteur on torture, the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on 2 May 2002 (see E/CN.4/2003/68/Add.1, para. 743). His lawyer was reportedly allowed to see him on 18 April 2002 but then denied access until 15 May 2002. While in detention he was reportedly interrogated and deprived of sleep continuously for several days while subjected to shabeh. It is alleged that the chair had nails in the back which were just above the surface of the wood, increasing his discomfort. He is also said to have been threatened with death.
27. By letter dated 18 September 2003, sent jointly with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Special Rapporteur advised the Government that he had received information concerning the following cases.
28. Muhammad Ahmad ‘Amer and his brother, Husni Ahmad ‘Amer, were reportedly taken into custody by the IDF on 7 April 2002 in the Jurrat al-Dahab area. Husni Ahmad ‘Amer was reportedly subjected to severe beatings at the time of his arrest. It is alleged that he was repeatedly hit with a baton on his shoulder and buttocks for half an hour. Despite complaining of pain and requesting for water, it is believed that he was denied both medical assistance and water and was beaten again. The two brothers were subsequently taken to Bir Sa‘adeh camp, were it is reported that they were handcuffed with plastic ties, blindfolded and separated. Husni Ahmad ‘Amer reportedly continued to complain of pain and ask for water. Six hours later, they were allegedly taken in an armed personnel carrier to Salem detention centre, where they are alleged to have been interrogated. In Salem, the condition of Husni Ahmad ‘Amer reportedly became very serious and he was reportedly eventually taken away by an ambulance. Muhammad Ahmad ‘Amer was reportedly released on the following morning but was not given any information about the whereabouts of his brother. It is reported that his family, as well as local human rights organizations, repeatedly made inquiries about Husni Ahmad ‘Amer. They were allegedly told by the IDF that there was no record either of his detention or of his hospitalization. However, according to the information received, on 1 June 2002, the DCO informed his family that his body was being held at the Abu Kabir Centre for Forensic Medicine. On 6 June 2002, the Israeli High Court, acting on a petition from the family, reportedly prevented any further examination of the body. On 13 June 2002, Muhammad Ahmad 'Amer was allegedly called to Abu Kabir to identify the body. It is reported that the family has requested an independent forensic examination to determine the cause of death.
29. Walid Mohammad Issa Amr, a 34-year-old man from Doura, near Hebron, imprisoned since 12 December 2001, reportedly died in the Nafha desert prison in the Negev desert on 19 February 2003. It is reported that on 18 February 2003 he called his brother and told him of his worsening medical condition and that the prison administration was neglecting his requests for medical assistance.
30. By letter dated 8 October 2003, the Special Rapporteur reminded the Government of a number of cases transmitted in 1999, 2000 and 2002 for which no responses had been received.
31. On 30 January 2003, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders concerning the following cases.
32. ‘Abla Sa‘adat, a 47-year-old human rights defender, was reportedly arrested at the border crossing into Jordan on 21 January 2003, while she was on her way to Brazil for the World Social Forum as a delegate representing the Palestinian human rights organization Addameer. It is believed that she was then taken to the Beit El Military Detention Centre (near Ramallah), where she was put in an isolation cell without being questioned. All her personal belongings were allegedly taken from her. Iman Abu Farah, aged 24, and Fatma Zayed, aged 23, both fourth-year students at the Religious Studies College of al-Quds University in Abu Dis, Jerusalem, were reportedly arrested in their apartment in Um al-Sharayit (a suburb of Ramallah) on 20 January 2003 and also taken to Beit El. On the evening of 22 January 2003, ‘Abla Sa‘adat, Iman Abu Farah and Fatma Zayed were reportedly all served with four-month administrative detention orders. Fears were expressed concerning the well-being of these three Palestinian women, who are being detained without charge. It is reported that Beit El Military Detention Centre has no separate facilities for women detainees. Their isolation cells are reportedly small (2 m x 2.5 m) and unheated. It is alleged that female detainees have to share a toilet with male detainees and are allowed to use it only three times a day. The meals are said to be lacking in adequate nourishment. It is reported that they are prohibited from walking outside for fresh air and are not allowed a change of clothing. Abla Sa‘adat was reportedly not allowed to leave her cell until her lawyer visited her two days after her arrest. Her lawyer claims she had to beg to use the toilet even though she was suffering from diarrhoea. She reportedly also suffers from low blood pressure and a slipped disc, which causes her back pain. In protest at their detention conditions, the three detainees have reportedly been on hunger strike since 23 January 2003. They are said to be refusing to take both food and water and their health is deteriorating. The lawyer who visited the detainees on 26 January reported that Iman Abu Farah was experiencing extreme dizziness and ‘Abla Sa‘adat was suffering from severe back and neck pain and was complaining of numbness in her hands and legs. The lawyer did not see Fatma Zayed, as she had reportedly been taken to Ofer Military Court for a judicial review to have her administrative detention confirmed. She was reportedly subsequently transferred to the Moskobiyye Interrogation Centre. In sworn affidavits, Abla Sa‘adat and Iman Abu Farah reportedly described the harsh conditions of their arrest and reaffirmed that they would not end their hunger strike until they were transferred to more adequate facilities for female detainees.
33. On 28 February 2003, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers concerning Daoud al Dir‘awi, a 28-year-old Palestinian resident of Jerusalem and lawyer working with Defence for Children International/Palestine Section, a human rights non-governmental organization. He was reportedly detained on the evening of 21 February 2003 in Jerusalem and then taken by Israeli soldiers to Qeshle Police Station. The following morning his wife was reportedly told that Daoud al Dir’awi had been taken away by personnel from Shin Bet (the Israeli Secret Intelligence service), that he would be detained for interrogation purposes for 12 days, that his place of detention would not be revealed, and that he would not be able to meet with a lawyer during this period. In view of his alleged incommunicado detention in an unknown place, fears were expressed that he may be at risk of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Daoud al Dir’awi was the subject of an urgent action letter on 17 September 2001 to which the Government responded on 21 June 2002 (E/CN.4/2003/68/Add.1, paras. 735, 752).
34. By letter dated 10 April the Government reported that Daoud al Dir’awi had been arrested on 21 February because of his activities on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization. A six-month administrative detention order was issued against him on 3 March 2003 because he was considered to be a threat to the security of the area. Upon judicial review, on 24 March 2003, the detention order was upheld by a military court judge for Mr. Dir’awi’s detention in the Ofer detention facility. The judge who carried out the review stated, among other things, that he had seen current and reliable intelligence information that demonstrated well-founded concern for the security of the area if Mr. Dir’awi were to be released at this time, as well as other information on his involvement since his release from administrative detention a year previously in current activities of the PFLP that were a danger to the security of the public and the area in general. With regard to the length of detention (six months), the court considered that it was reasonable and necessary in order to neutralize the danger Mr. Dir’awi presented and therefore would not be shortened. During the judicial review of this matter, he was represented by two lawyers of his choice.
35. On 18 March 2003, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning Anan Nabih Labadeh, aged 30, who was arrested with his brother, Dr ‘Abd al-Fatah Labadeh, by army officers on 11 March 2003 at home. It is reported that Anan Nabih Labadeh is paralyzed from the waist down and suffers from gastritis, bladder and skin problems, and is in constant need of medical care. Both brothers were allegedly pushed into an army jeep. Anan Nabih Labadeh was still in his wheelchair. The soldiers are said to have blindfolded them and tied their hands behind their backs. The soldiers allegedly beat Anan Nabih Labadeh.The brothers were reportedly taken to Huwara military camp near Nablus. It is alleged that they were made to wait four hours, still blindfolded and handcuffed. They were then separated. It is reported that while Dr ‘Abd al-Fatah Labadeh was released after two days, Anan Nabih Labadeh remained in detention. Fears have been expressed that the conditions of detention in Huwara may amount to ill-treatment. Up to six detainees are said to be kept in six-square-metre cells with no light, except natural light coming from a 50 cm x 50 cm window. There is no toilet in the cell and detainees are said to have to urinate into bottles. The only source of water is said to be a small bottle, which is filled at mealtimes. Detainees are believed to have to sleep on small, thin mattresses which are often wet as the cells are very damp. There is no heating. It is reported that there are insufficient blankets. During his detention, Dr 'Abd al-Fatah Labadeh was reportedly taken out of the cell three times, for about 10-15 minutes each. The sanitary conditions are reported to be very poor. In view of the alleged conditions of detention in Huwara, fears were expressed about the health situation of Anan Nabih Labadeh, whose wheelchair was allegedly taken away from him on 14 March.
36. By letters dated 10 April and 20 June 2003, the Government reported that Anan Nabih Labadeh had been arrested on 11 March 2003 because of his involvement in activities that threatened the security of the area. A six-month administrative detention order was issued against him on 23 March 2003 due to these activities. The order underwent a process of judicial review and the court decided that the period of administrative detention would be shortened so as to end on 26 April 2003. After that date, Mr. Labadeh’s detention would become detention for the purposes of criminal investigation. Mr. Labadeh was being held in Ramle prison, a facility that is suitable for his medical needs. He was released on 24 April 2003.
37. On 20 March 2003, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning Husam Khader, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, a leader of the Fateh movement and an independent member of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group Board of Trustees, who was arrested at his home in Nablus on 17 March 2003, at 4 a.m. In view of the incommunicado nature of his detention in an unknown location, fears were expressed that he may be at risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.
38. On 6 June 2003, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning J. S. A. A., aged 15, and H. S. Z., aged 14, who are believed to be held incommunicado at the Huwara military base, near Nablus. The two teenage boys were reportedly arrested on 31 May 2003 by soldiers at a checkpoint in Huwara, where they were selling refreshments to Palestinians queuing at the checkpoint. A lawyer working with the human rights organization Defence for Children International-Palestine Section (DCI-PS) is said to have requested permission to visit the boys on 4 June, but this request was denied. He was told to ask again in a week's time. It is said that the lawyer also repeatedly asked the Israeli military authorities for details of any charges against the boys., but he was not given any information. Furthermore, it is reported that the conditions at the detention centre at the Huwara military base are very poor. A lawyer who visited the centre on 5 May 2003 reported that 15 children under the age of 18 were held there, and that they were held with adults. Military authorities are said to classify it as a temporary detention facility for detainees in transit, but many have reportedly been held there for up to three months. The base reportedly started to be used as a detention facility in the spring of 2002, but for a year no lawyers were allowed to visit detainees. Since March 2003 some lawyers have reportedly been allowed to visit detainees, but they have found it difficult to obtain permits for such visits. No family visits have yet been allowed. It is alleged that cells are overcrowded and many detainees are forced to sleep on the floor as there are not enough mattresses to go round. The few mattresses and blankets which are available are believed to be dirty and bug-infested and no soap or cleaning material is provided for the detainees to wash themselves or to clean the cells, leading to the spread of skin diseases. There is no on-site doctor. It is alleged that detainees are often not allowed to go outside for days at a time and are only permitted to go to the toilet at set times, usually three times a day. The prison diet is said to be meagre and of poor quality. In view of the incommunicado nature of their detention and the reported poor conditions in which they are being held, fears were expressed that the above-mentioned minors may be at risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.
39. By letter dated 7 August 2003, the Government reported that the two individuals were stopped briefly after security forces observed them trying to breach the wire fence of the Huwara checkpoint on 1 June 2003. They were free to continue on their way within the hour. The Office of the Legal Adviser for Judea and Samaria concluded that at no time were the two persons ever arrested, detained or incarcerated by the security forces. These facts have been corroborated by information received from outside sources. The Government concludes that the Special Rapporteurs were seriously misinformed in this matter and it is regrettable that the special mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights have been abused in this manner. The fact that Israel has expended considerable resources on a thorough investigation, which turned out to be based on a groundless case, is equally unfortunate. With respect to conditions at the Shomron (Huwara) Detention Facility, Israel strives to ensure that appropriate conditions are maintained which meet international standards. To that end, Israel established a special standing committee in May 2003, whose mandate is to supervise conditions at military detention facilities and to make recommendations regarding any measures necessary in order to ensure appropriate standards. The recommendations of the committee are to be presented to the Chief of Staff.
40. On 23 July 2003, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal concerning ‘Abd al-Nasser Quzmar, a 30-year-old farmer. He was reportedly arrested by army personnel from his home in the West Bank village of Izbat Salman on 16 June 2003 and is said to have remained in detention since then without charge or trial. It is alleged that in a sworn affidavit taken on 18 July 2003 by his lawyer, he stated that while in custody he has been subjected to interrogation sessions that have lasted for up to 20 hours and that during these sessions he was subjected to physical and psychological pressure by GSS personnel. It is reported that on at least one occasion he was immobilized for several hours on a small chair fixed to the ground with his hands stretched out and tied to the bottom of the chair behind his back. He is believed to have been interrogated while in this painful position. It is also alleged that his wife and children were threatened. He is reportedly currently being held in a four-square-metre isolation cell with no windows and with poor light. He has allegedly complained to his lawyer that the quality of the food is bad and that he is only allowed to take a shower every five days. According to the information received, due to the restrictions placed on the movement of Palestinians from the West Bank, his relatives are unable to visit him in detention. In view of allegations of ill-treatment in custody, fears were expressed that he may be at risk of being subjected to torture or further ill-treatment.
41. On 9 September 2003, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal, concerning Ahmad Talab Mustafa Barghouthi, a 27-year-old resident of Ramallah, Moussa Mohammad and Salem Doudin, a 31-year-old resident of Hebron, Mahmoud Issa, Moutaz Hijazi and Muhammad Abu Jamous, aged 28. It is reported that Ahmad Talab Mustafa Barghouthi, detained on 15 April 2002 and sentenced to 13 life sentences, has been held in solitary confinement for the past eight months. It is reported that Moussa Mohammad Salem Doudin, detained on 20 December 1992 and sentenced to life imprisonment, has allegedly been held in solitary confinement for the last five months. It is alleged that he has not seen his father for the past seven years as a result of continuous denials of visiting permits. It is reported that both Ahmad Talab and Moussa Mohammad went on hunger strike from 29 May to 30 June 2003 in protest of their solitary confinement at Beer Sheva prison. As a result of their deteriorating health, they were reportedly moved to Ramle prison hospital, where an agreement was apparently reached with the prison administration that they would end their hunger strike upon being removed from solitary confinement. On 10 July 2003, both Ahmad Talab and Moussa Mohammad were reportedly moved to Hadarim prison, where it is believed they were again put in solitary confinement for four days, and then moved again to Ramle prison and put in a solitary confinement cell together. According to the information received, Ahmad Talab and Moussa Mohammad began an open-ended hunger strike on 11 August 2003. In the same isolation section at Ramle prison, it is said that two other detainees, Mahmoud Issa and Moutaz Hijazi, are being held together in another solitary confinement cell. Furthermore, Muhammad Abu Jamous, aged 28, is said to be held in Beer Sheeva prison and has reportedly been on hunger strike for 16 days, although he was taking fluids. All the above-named persons are said to be protesting against being held in solitary confinement for months. Fears were expressed concerning the continuing and prolonged detention in solitary confinement of the above-named persons and concerning their deteriorating health if they do not receive appropriate and prompt medical attention.
42. On 19 September 2003, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal concerning the following cases.
43. Daoud Halmi Mohammed Seder, aged 21, was reportedly arrested on 14 April 2003 at his home in Hebron and is reportedly detained in the Shikma Detention Centre. He is believed to have been previously subjected to electric shocks and received 59 stitches. It is alleged that as a result, he is suffering from a chronic skin condition on his stomach, which is said to require special medical treatment such as cleansing of the damaged skin and its exposure to sunlight. His request for medical care and to be transferred to a cell with a window has reportedly been refused. It is also alleged that the prison doctor advised him to use the butter that he receives with his food as an ointment to rub on the affected skin. As a result of the hot weather and lack of medical care, he is reportedly suffering from intense itching and blotches have appeared on his body.
44. Louie Ibrahim Hassan Malesh was reportedly arrested on 27 March 2003 at his home in Bethlehem, initially detained at the RCDC in Jerusalem and transferred on 20 May 2003 to the Nitzan detention centre in Ramle, where he is reported to be detained. It is alleged that he is suffering from acute pain in a left molar in his lower jaw, which causes insomnia. It is also alleged that before his arrest he was undergoing special treatment by a dentist, but his arrest put a stop to the treatment before its completion. It is reported that he has repeatedly requested medical attention from the prison administration but without success. Louie Ibrahim Hassan Malesh is also alleged to be suffering from pain in his eyes, a deterioration of his vision and violent headaches. In view of these allegations, fears were expressed for the physical and mental integrity of these two men if they do not receive prompt and appropriate medical attention.
45. On 10 November 2003, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on violence against women concerning Amneh Mounah, a female detainee at Ramle prison, and six other female detainees, ‘Aishah ‘Abeyat, ‘Umayah Dammaj, Ra‘eda Jadallah, Wasfiyeh Abu ‘Ajamiyeh, Samar Bader and Su‘ad Ghaza. The case of Amneh Mounah was included in previous urgent appeals sent by the Special Rapporteur on torture (E/CN.4/2003/68/Add.1, para 739 and E/CN.4/2002/76/Add.1, para 813). The Government provided information on this case by letter dated 14 February 2002 (E/CN.4/2003/68/Add.1, para. 740). Amneh Mounah was reportedly transferred to an isolation cell of Ramle prison on 25 October 2003. One hour later, she was allegedly ordered to strip in order to be searched. It is reported that she refused to do so as there were male guards in the cell. She is also reported to have refused to strip when the male guards left the room as they were standing behind the cell door. Later that day, another group of guards came to her cell, sprayed her with tear gas and forced her to strip. She allegedly received blows on the waist, back and hands. She is also believed to have been grabbed by the throat and strangled. As a result of the treatment received, she reportedly began bleeding from the mouth and started to lose consciousness. Three hours later, she was reportedly transferred to another isolation cell and given a sedative. She was allegedly charged with attacking three guards and put in isolation for seven days. She reportedly started an open-ended hunger strike on 27 October 2003 to protest against her solitary confinement. On the following day she was reportedly transferred to another isolation cell. It is alleged that she has not received medical treatment for the injuries allegedly sustained as a result of the above-mentioned beatings. It is also alleged that her health condition has deteriorated. Concern was expressed for her physical integrity if she does not receive prompt and adequate medical assistance. Forty other female detainees reportedly started a hunger strike to protest against the reported treatment of Amneh Mounah. In reprisal, the penitentiary authorities reportedly put six of them in isolation, namely ‘Aishah ‘Abeyat, ‘Umayah Dammaj, Ra’eda Jadallah, Wasfiyeh Abu ‘Ajamiyeh, Samar Bader and Su’ad Ghaza, confiscated television sets and mattresses and prohibited all 40 women from obtaining basic necessities provided in the canteen.
Follow-up to previously transmitted communications
46. By letter dated 21 October 2003, the Government provided information concerning a joint urgent appeal sent on 7 May 2002 with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers concerning three Jewish detainees (E/CN.4/2003/68/Add.1, para. 744). The Government reported that the persons in question were members of a terrorist cell, indicted by the Jerusalem District Court for their involvement in, among other things, placing a cart containing explosives in East Jerusalem on 29 April 2002. No allegations had been made concerning ill-treatment of the detainees at any stage. On 17 September 2003, the persons in question were convicted by the Jerusalem District Court and were found guilty of attempted murder and misuse of weapons. The Court has not yet determined their sentence.
47. By letter dated 27 June 2003, the Government provided information concerning a joint letter sent on 13 September 2002 with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders concerning Mustafa Barghouti (E/CN.4/2003/68/Add.1, para. 737). The Government reported that an extensive investigation was conducted by the Ministry of Justice, Department of Investigation of Police Misconduct, into the allegations regarding Dr. Barghouti. It concluded that there was insufficient evidence to justify criminal proceedings against the police officers in question due to, among other things, the lack of cooperation with the investigation on the part of Dr. Barghouti and his attorney. He was entitled to submit an appeal to the State Attorney within 30 days of the receipt of the letter informing him of the decision, but no such appeal was submitted.
48. By letter dated 16 June 2003, the Government provided information concerning a joint urgent appeal sent on 2 December 2002 with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders concerning Abed Rahman Al-Ahmar (E/CN.4/2003/68/Add.1, para. 750). The Government reported that he is being held in administrative detention at the Ofer detention facility. The facility has a permanent medical staff, whom Mr. Al-Ahmar is entitled to approach with regard to his medical needs. The conditions of detention in the Ofer facility were recently reviewed by Israel’s Supreme Court and were found to comply with the applicable standards of international humanitarian law. Israel is fully committed to guaranteeing human rights and the rule of law, including the rights of detainees. This obligation was clearly stated by the Supreme Court in its rulings regarding conditions of detention in Israeli detention centres: “Even those suspected of terrorist activity of the worst kind are entitled to conditions of detention which satisfy minimal standards of human treatment and ensure basic human necessities. Such is the duty of the commander of the area in accordance with international law, and such is his duty in accordance with the foundations of our administrative law. Such is the duty of the Israeli Government in accordance with its essential character, Jewish, democratic and fundamentally humane (HCJ 3278/02, 5591/02).” The Government reported that past judicial review and appeal hearings found that Mr. Al-Ahmar posed an imminent and significant danger to lives and threatens the security in the area. His claims to be a human rights activist were found to be a charade.
49. The Special Rapporteur notes with concern that the Government has not extended to him an invitation to visit Israel. A request for this invitation was reiterated in his letter dated 16 October 2003.
50. The Special Rapporteur considers it appropriate to draw attention to the concerns of the Human Rights Committee (CCPR/CO/78/ISR, paras. 13, 18), which stated that the use of prolonged detention without access to a lawyer or other persons from the outside world violates articles the Internatinal Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (arts. 7, 9, 10, and 14, para. 3 (b)); that interrogation techniques incompatible with article 7 of the Covenant are still reported frequently to be used; and the “necessity defence” argument, which is not recognized under the Covenant, is often invoked and used as a justification for ISA actions in the course of investigations.
51. The Special Rapporteur also notes that the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC/C/15/Add.195, para. 62) expressed concern that Military Orders Nos. 378 and 1500, as well as other military orders, may allow prolonged incommunicado detention of children and do not provide due process guarantees, access to legal assistance and family visits.
Information transmitted to the Palestinian Authority
1. By letter dated 8 October 2003, the Special Rapporteur reminded the Government of a number of cases transmitted in 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999 and 1998 for which no response had been received.
Document Type: Report, Special Rapporteur Report
Document Source: Commission on Human Rights, Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
Source Country: Israel
Subject: Agenda Item, Covenant: Civil and Political Rights, Human rights and international humanitarian law, Prisoners and detainees
Publication Date: 23/03/2004