Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Arbitrary detention of Mr. Anas Anise Hussein Barghouthi, a Palestinian human rights lawyer

10/10/2013
Urgent Appeal

ISR 001 / 1013 / OBS 084
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
Israel / Occupied Palestinian Territory

October 10, 2013

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), expresses its deepest concern regarding the following situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association about the arbitrary detention of Mr. Anas Anise Hussein Barghouthi, a Palestinian human rights lawyer who defends Palestinian political prisoners arrested by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

According to the information received, on September 15, 2013, at around 7pm, Mr. Anas Barghouthi was arrested by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)/ (or Israeli Army) at a military checkpoint between Bethlehem and Ramallah, where he was blindfolded and handcuffed and then taken to an interrogation centre in the settlement of Etzion, in the southern West Bank. Reportedly, in the first thirty-six hours of arrest, Mr. Anas Barghouthi was fed only twice and was not allowed to shower or change his clothes neither he was given hygiene products. In addition, his lawyer was not able to have access to his client during the first week of his detention.

On September 17, 2013, Mr. Anas Barghouthi was presented to the Military Court in Ofer, which decided to extend his detention without charges until September 22, 2013, when the detention period was extended again until September 24.

On September 24, 2013, Mr. Anas Barghouthi was finally charged with the offences of “membership in the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine”, an organisation banned by Israel, and “leadership of a committee to organise demonstrations”. Mr. Anas Anise Hussein Barghouthi denies both charges. A first hearing was held on October 1, 2013, when the trial was postponed until October 9, 2013. On that day, the trial was again postponed until October 22 because by the time he was presented to a judge, and despite the fact that Mr. Anas Barghouthi had been waiting at Ofer Military Court for several hours, he was informed that the court was closing and it was too late to hold the hearing.

Meanwhile, Mr. Anas Barghouthi remains detained in Ofer military complex.

The Observatory strongly denounces the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Mr. Anas Barghouthi, which seem to be directly linked to his human rights activities, and urges the Israeli authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally and to put an end to all acts of harassment against him.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Israel, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Anas Anise Hussein Barghouthi as well as of all human rights defenders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory;

ii. Release Mr. Anas Barghouthi immediately and unconditionally as his detention is arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning his human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Mr. Anas Barghouthi, as well as against all human rights defenders and human rights organisations in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory so that they are able to carry out their work without unjustified hindrances;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular:
- its Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,
- its Article 12.2, which states that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international human rights instruments ratified by Israel.

Addresses:

· Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, Office of the Prime Minister, 3 Kaplan St., PO Box 187, Kiryat Ben-Gurion, Jerusalem 91950, Israel. Fax: + 972 2 651 2631 / 02-670-5475. Email: b.netanyahu@pmo.gov.il, pm_eng@pmo.gov.il

· Moshe Ya’alon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Ministry of Defence 37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya, Tel Aviv 61909, Israel. Fax: +972 3 691 6940, (+972) 3 696 2757.

· Brigadier General Danny Efroni, Military Judge Advocate General, 6 David Elazar Street, Hakirya, Tel Aviv, Israel, Fax: +972 3 569 4526, Email: avimn@idf.gov.il

· H.E. Ambassador Mr. Eviatar Manor, Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations in Geneva, Avenue de la Paix 1-3, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 716 05 55. Email: mission-israel@geneva.mfa.gov.il

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Israel in your respective countries.

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