|H. R. organizations: Israel must stop attacks on Palestinian human rights defenders|
|Sunday, 23 December 2012 18:12|
Early on Tuesday 11 December 2012, members of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) raided three Palestinian NGOs in Ramallah, seizing computers, work files and equipment and ransacking their offices in what Amnesty International says is part of a "pattern of harassment" against campaigners in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. "This Israeli raid against the Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association, the Palestinian NGO Network, and the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees is part of a wider onslaught against Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations and their staff," said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Programme Director. "It's a pattern of harassment which seems designed to curtail their vital work."
The Israeli authorities frequently restrict the movement of human rights defenders and other activists in the occupied West Bank based on secret information, and prevent travel between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. NGOs in Gaza were also directly affected by the recent Israeli military operation there Amnesty International has been particularly concerned by the Israeli harassment of Palestinian human rights NGO Addameer over many months, including the military orders that ban its chair, Abdullatif Ghaith, from entering the West Bank or travelling abroad.
The Israeli authorities frequently prevent Addameer lawyers from visiting the prisoners and detainees they represent. Most disturbingly, according to his lawyer, Addameer researcher and human rights defender Ayman Nasser was tortured during the lengthy interrogation following his arrest by Israeli forces on 15 October. Nasser, 42, from the village of Safa, east of Ramallah, married and father. He holds a MA in educational psychology, working in Addameer since 2008, was a candidate in 2012 elections for Safa's local council and elected while in jail. When he was 20 he spent six years in Israeli prison.
According to Physicians for Human Rights (PHR – Israel), Nasser was held and interrogated for 39 days in harsh, inhuman conditions, including – most probably – cruel torture and humiliation: long interrogation, sometimes more than 20 hours at a stretch; hands and feet bound to the back and legs of a chair; blindfolded during portions of the interrogations; his interrogators threatened him with life imprisonment if he didn’t confess to the charges; between interrogation’s sessions Ayman was left in an isolation cell with gray, rough walls that were impossible to lean against; the room was illuminated continuously by a dim, yellow light and he was given a single moldy blanket and a thin mattress on the floor.
Addameer holds the Israeli Occupation completely responsible for the safety of Ayman Nasser, and "we need your help in giving his case a voice on the international level. Help us raise awareness about Ayman and all political prisoners. We thank you for your support as we continue to work until every political prisoner is free."
PHR Israel is concerned that Nasser's arrest and persecution is part of an attempt to punish and curtail the work human rights defenders, thus criminalizing their work. During the past year PHR-Israel and Addameer jointly worked on behalf of the rights and demands of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners and against arbitrary and administrative detentions. PHR Israel thus demands that: Ayman Nasser shall be immediately released and "while in prison, Ayman will be allowed to be seen by PHR Israel’s doctor immediately and an independent investigation will be held as to the alleged torture and inhuman treatment Ayman was exposed to during his interrogation."
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. Sign our electronic petition, which will be sent to the United Nations and High Representative of the European Parliament before Ayman’s next court date on 17 December 2012.
3. Bring attention to Ayman Nasser’s case in social media by changing your Facebook picture and tweet about him using the hash tag #FreeAyman
4. Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that Ayman Nasser be released immediately
5. Write to your local elected representative urging them to pressure Israel to release Ayman Nasser immediately and unconditionally. For those in Europe wishing to contact the European Members of Parliament, please see the following link to find your European elected representatives contact address:
|Last Updated on Sunday, 23 December 2012 18:31|