OMCT: Israel: Release on bail of lawyer Anas Barghouthi but judicial harassment...

OMCT: Israel: Release on bail of lawyer Anas Barghouthi but judicial harassment continues

The following statement was released by 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):

October 24, 2013

fidh_omct1The 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), has received new information regarding the following situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association about the release on bail of Mr. Anas Anise Hussein Barghouthi, a Palestinian human rights lawyer who defends Palestinian political prisoners arrested by Israel and the Palestinian Authority[1].

According to the information received, on October 22, 2013, the Ofer Military Court Judge issued an order to release Mr. Anas Barghouthi on a 12,000 NIS bail (about 2,475 euros), giving the prosecution 24 hours to appeal this decision. As the military prosecution decided not to appeal the release order, Mr. Barghouthi was released on October 23, 2013 from Ofer Military Prison in Betunia at around 9:30pm, after paying the bail.

The Observatory welcomes the Ofer Military Court Judge’s decision, and thanks all the persons, institutions and organisations who intervened in his favour. However, the Observatory remains concerned that charges remain pending against Mr. Barghouthi, which seem to be directly linked to his human rights activities, and urges the Israeli authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment against him.

Background information:

On September 15, 2013, at around 7pm, Mr. Anas Barghouthi was arrested by an officer of the Israeli General Security Services (Shabak) and four Israeli army soldiers as he was attempting to cross the“Container” military checkpoint between Bethlehem and Ramallah, where he was handcuffed and then taken to an interrogation room at the military checkpoint. Around 9:30pm, he was brought to aninterrogation centre in the settlement of Etzion, in the southern West Bank. In the first 36 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 transferred to Ofer Military Complex and presented to the Military Court of 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 inan unlawful association” (the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an organisation banned by Israel), and “leadership of a committee to organise demonstrations”, under Articles 85(1)(a) and (b) of the 1945 Defence (Emergency) Regulations. Mr. Anas 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.

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. 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;

iii. 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”;

iv. 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.ilpm_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.

***

Geneva-Paris, October 24, 2013

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of human rights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

  • E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
  • Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
  • Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80