Five Palestinian young men, Basil al-Araj, 33; Mohammed Harb, 23; Haitham Siyaj, 19; Mohammed al-Salamen, 19; and Ali Dar al-Sheikh, 22, are currently imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority; their detention was extended on Monday, 11 April for 15 more days by the PA’s Magistrate’s Court for them to undergo further interrogation. The story of their discovery, arrest and imprisonment has been widely reported in Palestinian media; several of the young men are well-known community and civil activists. Click here to take action and demand the immediate release of these young Palestinians.
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association reported on 11 April that their lawyer confirmed that the five Palestinians were being subjected to sleep deprivation, stress positions, lengthy interrogations, physical hitting and beating, insults and denial of access to the toilet; all of this was reported to the Addameer lawyer during the hearing for the extension of their detention.
Al-Araj, Harb and Siyaj were arrested on Saturday night, walking near Ramallah, while al-Salamen and Dar al-Sheikh were arrested a week before. Ma’an News noted that “according to the Israeli media report, the three were detained thanks to ‘cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.'”
Addameer wrote, “Addameer considers the actions of the Palestinian Security Forces to be in contravention with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as well as the Convention Against Torture (CAT), both of which the Palestinian Authority is a party. These treaties prohibit the use of torture and ill-treatment against detainees and affirm the right of individuals to fair trial guarantees. Addameer condemns the use of torture and ill-treatment under any circumstances and considers this to be a non-derogable norm, to which individuals must be held accountable. Addameer holds that the Palestinian Authority must comply with the conventions to which it is a party, especially considering the ongoing deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied territories.”
The context of these arrests is that of ongoing PA security coordination with the Israeli occupation. These young men are not a threat to Palestinian security; they are well-known, beloved members of their community and trusted strugglers for the freedom of the Palestinian people. They are not being detained and tortured to protect the Palestinian people, but because the Palestinian Authority, under the Oslo Accords, is a subcontractor of arrests, surveillance and imprisonment to the Israeli occupation that is daily killing Palestinians, imprisoning thousands, carrying out home demolitions, land confiscation, settlement building, racist repression and preventing millions of Palestinian refugees from returning home.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges people of conscience around the world to take action and demand that the PA release these five young men and hold accountable those who have tortured and abused them. It is critically important for international supporters of the Palestinian people and Palestinian cause and Palestinians around the world to make their voices heard and demand an end to the arrest and torture of these young men and the policy of security coordination which has brought about this situation.
1. Email the Palestinian Embassy or PLO Mission in your country. Click here for a list of contact information. Act now to sign our online petition! Make it clear that Palestinians around the world and international activists stand together to confront occupation, end security coordination, and free these detainees – including the former prisoners who have already given so much to the Palestinian struggle for liberation.
2. Call the Palestinian Embassy or PLO Mission. This is a case where phone calls can make a real difference! Palestinians and internationals around the world can raise their voice and demand action. Phone numbers for some missions follow: PLO Delegation in Washington, DC: 202-974-6360. Palestinian Mission to the UN: 212-288-8500. Palestinian General Delegation in Ottawa, Canada: 613-736-0053. Palestinian Mission UK: +44 (0)20 8563 0008. More may be found here!