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Addameer Update: Military judge rejects appeal on continued detention of Salwa Salah and Sara Siureh

Letter of appeal sent out by Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association

Dear Friends,

I am writing to inform you that on November 2, 2008 the Military Judge at Ofer Military Court rejected the appeal by Addameer Attorney Mahmoud Hassan to reduce the administrative detention order of Salwa Salah and Sara Siureh. This means that both girls will remain in prison until their current administrative detention order ends on January 3, 2009. It is not certain that both girls will even be released on this date. Administrative detention orders can be renewed indefinitely under Israeli Military Law. Both girls are now in Damoun prison in Israel and are being held with the other Palestinian adult female detainees. They have now spent more than 5 months in Israeli prisons, being held without charge or trial.

Background

Salwa and Sara were both arrested from their homes in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on June 5, 2008. This is the first time that girls under the age of 18 have been put in administrative detention. On June 12, 2008 they were issued with military administrative detention orders. The orders had been set for four months (in respect of Salwa) and five months (in respect of Sara). A military court confirmed the orders on June 18th. An appeal hearing also confirmed the orders on July 16th although Sara’s sentence was reduced from five to four months. They were due to be released on October 4th 2008. On October 5th 2008 both girls were issued with a second administrative detention order. On October 6th 2008 a judicial review of the administrative detention order took place. The military judge (Eyal Noon) upheld the order for a further three months from October 4, 2008 until January 3, 2009. The military judge claims the girls are still ‘dangerous’ despite the fact that the military prosecutor has provided no information since the girls were arrested.

Addameer expresses its deep concern about the situation of Salwa Salah and Sara Siureh and, in particular, the fact that their administrative detention does not respect international human rights standards. Neither Salwa nor Sara have been informed of any charges against them, nor the reason for their arrest and detention, thereby violating fundamental due process and rendering their detention illegal and arbitrary under international law. The twin principles of proportionality and the duty on a state to take into consideration the child’s well being underline much of the detail found in international law concerning the aims, restrictions and prohibitions on the sentencing of children. The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice requires that any reaction to the juvenile offenders should ‘always be in proportion to the circumstances of both the offenders and the offence’. Another fundamental principle of sentencing is that the deprivation of liberty, if used at all, should only be used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time (Art. 37 (b), CRC). Clearly this is not the case for these two young girls. The Court did not abide by these legal standards laid out for all detained minors. This is the first time that both girls have been in prison. Currently, there are approximately 750 Palestinians now in administrative detention. Of these there are approximately 13 Palestinians under the age of 18 years old.

ACT NOW TO SUPPORT SALWA AND SARAH:

Register your outrage to imprisonment without trial. PLEASE WRITE to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities demanding: the immediate release of all administrative detainees in the absence of valid legal charges, or, if such charges exist, bring them before an impartial, independent, competent and fair tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times.

In particular letters should be addressed to:

Major General Gadi Shamni.

Commander, West Bank

Central Commander Office

64, Military Mail 02367 – IDF, Israel

Fax: +972 2 5305741

President Shimon Peres

President of the State of Israel

The Office of the President

3 Hanassi Street, Jerusalem 92188, Israel

Fax: +972 2 561 1033 or +972 2 566 4838

email: [email protected] [email protected] [email protected]

www.president.gov.il

Ehud Barak

Minister of Defence

Ministry of Defence, 37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya, Tel Aviv 61909, Israel

Fax: +972 3 691 6940

Email: [email protected]

PLEASE WRITE TO the International Bar Association (IBA), asking its members and Human Rights Institute to put pressure on the Israeli Bar Association to ensure that all subjects under Israeli jurisdiction be granted the basic principles of rule of law – transparent processes which do not allow for arbitrary justice or governance – to which the IBA’s Human Rights Institute (HRI) claims to be dedicated to: “The HRI is now a leading voice in the promotion of the rule of law worldwide.” Please send your letters of concern to the Director of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association, Fiona Paterson, and copy it the Chairs of the Council, Ambassador Emilio Cardenas (Argentina) and Justice Richard Goldstone (South Africa).

Fiona Paterson
Director of Human Rights Institute. International Bar Association
10th Floor. 1Stephen St
London, W1T 1AT
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7691 6868
Fax: +44 (0)20 7691 6544

Israeli Embassies and Consulates in your own country

A directory of Israeli embassies can be found on the website of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. To access it, please go to the following link: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Sherut/IsraeliAbroad/Continents/

Kindly inform us of any action taken by copying Addameer at [email protected] so we can keep track of the letters of support.