9 December, London: Free Fayez Sharary and demand UK action; protest HP complicity in torture

fayez-shararyDATE: Fri 9th Dec 2016 2:30pm-4:30pm
LOCATION: Foreign & Commonwealth Office, corner of King Charles St and Whitehall, London SW1A 2AH London  (closest tube: Westminster )
WEB: http://inminds.com/article.php?id=10734

Organized by www.inminds.com

On 9th December 2016 Inminds human rights group will hold a vigil outside the British Foreign Office to demand that the British government act to free British citizen Fayez Sharary who according to the Israeli judge’s own admission has been tortured and should be released. The judges ruling was quickly overturned by the military court and Fayez Sharary remains caged, now for nearly 3 months. Fayez Sharary’s wife Laila Sharary will address the vigil.

Fayez Sharary’s military court hearing is next week on 14th December, its imperative that representatives from the British government attend the hearing. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has described the farcical court proceedings “as if the courtroom were a fully-automated conveyor belt” observing that “every file [case] got a minute to a minute and a half of discussion”.

The protest will also highlight the role HP plays in Israel’s torture and caging of Palestinians.

Inminds chair Abbas Ali said “Its shocking that the British government is silent about the plight of a British citizen who has been abducted by a foreign power who admits that they have tortured him and that he has no case to answer. The British government has shamefully left Fayez Sharary to rot in an Israeli dungeon. Why is the government doing nothing to secure his release? We demand that the British government put pressure on the Israeli regime to immediately and unconditionally release Fayez Sharary so he can be reunited with his family.”

Regarding HP, Inminds chair Abbas Ali said “Its unacceptable that just one street away, here in London, HP is selling its printers and laptops; and in Palestine the same company, HP, is assisting in the torture of a Londoner. When Londoners are made aware of HPs dirty secrets they will rightly reject this company.”

Please join us on 9th December on Whitehall, outside the Foreign Office at 2:30pm.


Laila Sharary speaking outside HP Discover 2016 event, ExCel centre, 29th Nov 2016

Background – Fayez Sharary

Father of five children, Fayez Sharary is a British citizen from the Palestinian diaspora who has lived in the UK for over 23 years.

In September 2016 he travelled to the West Bank with his wife Laila and their youngest daughter Aya, just 3 years old, to visit their families and spend the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha with Laila’s mother who had recently been widowed. Fayez yearned for the opportunity to offer the Eid prayers at the sacred Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

After the holiday Fayez Sharary and his family were returning home when on 15th September 2016, they were stopped by Israeli forces at the Allenby Bridge border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan. They were meant to fly back to the UK from Jordan on 17th September.

The family were taken at gunpoint from Allenby Bridge and made to walk 5-10 minutes to an interrogation building. Israeli forces interrogated Fayez for 5 hours with his wife and daughter kept just outside the interrogation room in the corridor. No food or water was provided to the family for the 5 hours. When 3 years old Aya needed to use the toilet they refused her at first, and then said they will allow her if her mother Laila first submits to a strip search. After the degrading strip search they still refused Aya the use of a toilet. Instead they brought a plastic tray which is used for passing luggage through the x-ray machine, and told her to do it in there.

After the five hours they took Laila’s mobile phone and said she and her daughter could go but that they will be detaining Fayez. When she insisted that she will not go without her husband the soldiers got very abusive with her, screaming at her.

Fayez was taken to Petah Tikva Interrogation Centre in Israel and tortured for 3 weeks until he broke. He was denied a lawyer for these 3 weeks until he signed their forced confession on 6th October. Soon after that he was moved to Ofer prison in the West Bank where he is still caged today.

Fayez managed to get a message out to his wife via another prisoner. Laila finally managed to speak to her husband on the phone for the first time on 17th October, over a month after he was taken.

On 26th October Fayez appeared in military court. In a highly unusual move, for the very first time an Israeli judge, Judge Lt.-Col. Azriel Levi, ordered the release of Fayed Sharary, saying that “There’s no doubt that the defendant’s confession, which was given an hour after the end of his Shin Bet interrogation, was dramatically influenced by the method of interrogation, which also included pained and prolonged shackling, threats, and a blatant exploitation of the defendant’s demonstrated weakness.” Keeping prisoners shackled in back breaking stress positions for hours on end is standard practice in Shin Bet interrogations. He pointed out that “Shin Bet’s own record of the interrogations included multiple statements by Sharary that he was downcast and ready to admit to whatever they asked him to admit to”. In light of the torture, Judge Azrieli said his confession was “not given voluntarily” and its “value was zero.” The Judge added that several of the crimes attributed to Sharary did not even fit the definitions of crimes under the IDF’s West Bank laws.The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel responded to the story noting “using torture happens and is not exceptional in interrogations..” It stated that over a 1000 complaints of torture have been submitted but not a single complaint has led to a criminal investigation, let alone a trial or a conviction. Israeli law has never criminalized torture and whilst Israel is a signatory to the UN Conventions Against Torture it insists that it doesn’t apply to Palestinians. United Nations funded Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture for Occupied Palestinian Territory, in 2014, treated 845 Palestinian victims of torture including 317 women and 135 children.

Despite the judge’s ruling Fayez Sharary was never released and a few days later at a hearing on 6th November the military overturned the judge’s decision to release Fayez Sharary on bail.

Fayez Sharary and his family are all British citizens, yet the British embassy has done nothing to secure his release. Admission on record by an Israeli judge that a British national has been tortured in Israel should have raised alarm bells in the foreign office. Yet no action has followed. Not even one representative of the British embassy has attended any of the hearings. Without their presence the judge’s ruling to release Fayez Sharary was overturned with impunity.

Fayez Sharary’s next military court hearing is on 14th December 2016.

Background – HP helping Israel’s dungeons and torture dens to operate

Hewlett Packard provides the essential IT services and infrastructure that enable the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) to function.

Last year between Oct 2015 and Aug 2016 Israel abducted and caged 2,320 Palestinian children, some as young as 11 years old – that’s more than one child taken from their parents every 4 hours! Figures for Jerusalem show that 40% of the children were sexually abused by Israeli soldiers during arrest or interrogation. During interrogation 75% of Palestinian children detained by Israel are physically tortured. The United Nations “Rights Of The Child” report documents the brutal torture of Palestinian children as standard practice during interrogations in order to coerce confessions, usually to stone throwing which carries a sentence of up to 20 years’ imprisonment. Today there are over 7000 Palestinian political prisoners, including women and children, imprisoned by the Israeli Prison Service – many locked up indefinitely without even a charge let alone a trial. 72 Palestinian prisoners have been tortured to death in Israeli prisons since 1967. The latest being father of five young children, Raed Abdul-Salam al-Jabari, who was died following interrogation at Eshel prison on 9th Sep 2014. He had been arrested over a simple car accident involving an illegal Israeli settler. The IPS claimed he had committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell but the autopsy revealed he had been savagely tortured with repeated blows to the head and face causing brain hemorrhage. His neck showed no signs of hanging.

In an ongoing contract, worth millions of dollars, HP provides the Israeli prison service the systems and servers needed to keep it operational. In 2012 HP provided the central servers for the operational system of the IPS (“Tzohar”) and it’s ongoing maintenance. In a contract worth $35 million.

HP developed the Kidma information system for the IPS which includes the prisoners management system and intelligence subs systems, helping the occupation keep illegal records on Palestinians it has abducted and their families. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Children has reported that Palestinian child prisoners are often coerced to confess by sexually threatening their family members or themselves.

HP has also executed a project for e-mail storage and archive for the IPS.