Please help release Dr. Ghassan Khaled from Administrative Detention
For readers inclined to write/take action the following report is
about one of thousands such DETAINEES...
Such prisoners can be and ARE held for months and even years for NO
CHARGES...to detain them, disrupt their lives, and make miserable /
tormenting/torturing such prisoners....Many are respected leaders of
Peaceful resistence or simply respected/valued citizens of
Trust that anyone who teaches/lives in the city of NABLUS is subject
to ongoing frequent incursions, round ups, arrests and misery...and
this has been true for YEARS...and years...
Dr. Khaled is one of the latest...
He is the son of Sheriff Omar, a delightful and wise man, village
elder who welcomed me to Jayyous prior to the buiding Leviev
settlements which now encroach on his once vast and fertile
Their water pipeline project was developed and paid for with the
help of now deceased [mysteriously murdered - WVNS] Riad Hamad,
founder of PCWF from Austin Texas (PBUH)..who invested PCWF
supporters donations of $25K to build their essential Agricultural
watering lines to save their fields and orchards from perishing
Read below to see how to help demand justice for this man and others.
My thanks to Dorothy in Tel Aviv who forwarded this
THE ISRAELI ASSOCIATION FOR THE PALESTINIAN PRISONERS
anatmatar @ gmail.com ; +972528560001
20 July, 2008
The Case of Dr. Ghassan Khaled, the law faculty of Al Najjah
Administrative detention is detention without charge or trial, and
without informing the detainees or their lawyers of the charges
against them. Moreover, neither they nor their attorneys are
allowed to see the evidence.* Administrative detention serves as a
convenient tool of harassment by the Israeli regime to use against
political activists and members of parliament, peace activists
leading non-violent resistance to the occupation, students and other
people who cannot be put to trial because of the lack of evidence
In recent years, 8% of the political prisoners in Israeli jails have
been administrative detainees. At present there are about 730
administrative detainees in Israeli prisons. The iniquity of
administrative detention is well illustrated by the case of Dr.
Ghassan Khaled, for whom we ask your help.
Please act now: disseminate this message and write letters to the
authorities cited below.
Dr. Khaled was detained under administrative detention for six
months. This period is due to end at the beginning of October 2008,
but his arrest warrant may afterwards be renewed for additional
periods of 6 months ad infinitum.
Dr. Ghassan Khaled:
Personal details Dr. Ghassan Khaled, 41, Id. 929191302, is a
lecturer at Al Najjah University in Nablus. Though originally from
the village of Jayyous, he lives and works in Nablus. He is a senior
lecturer at the law faculty of Al Najjah University, in Nablus,
specializing in international commercial law. He is married and a
father of five: his oldest son is 8 years old, his youngest is 6
months. Dr. Khaled does not engage in politics. Rather, his
dedication is to his work and to his family.
Dr. Khaled's father, Sharif Omar Khaled (Abu Azzam), has developed
many liaisons with international and Israeli peace activists, being
one of the popular leaders of the peace demonstrations against the
Apartheid wall built on the land of Jayyous. His own fields like
most, in that area are located in the western side of the wall,
and he is required to present a permit in order to cultivate them.
In October 2007 his permit was denied for unspecified "security
reasons", and was renewed only after a strong public campaign at the
beginning of 2008.
Dr. Khaled was first arrested on the night of 16th January, 2008.
For three weeks he was denied contact with his lawyer. He was
interrogated under duress, and eventually was accused of "giving a
service to an unauthorized body". The accusation is based on two
allegations: it is claimed, first, that Dr. Khaled used to give
financial aid to members of the Kutla Isslamiya, Hamas' student
movement; and secondly, that he gave permission to publish an
academic article written by him in the journal "Mushkat al'Adalah",
issued by law students at his university belonging to the Kutla
Islamiya. Dr. Khaled's trial was set to 17th July. The prosecution
wished to keep him in custody, but Khaled appealed and won. The
military judge, Captain Azriel Levi, expressed his opinion that
there was no real substance in the prosecution files. He noted that
the GSS (General Secret Service; in Hebrew shabak) evidence relied
on hearsay and that, according to Dr. Khaled's testimony, his
article was published without his consent. There was nothing
incriminating in the secret files as well. Dr. Khaled was released
on bail; his family paid 30,000 NIS and he went home, awaiting his
trial.[(approximately $8000.00 US dollar for his family to come up
with ...extortion imo..Miriam)]
After less than a fortnight, on the night of 30th March, Dr. Khaled
was re-arrested. The judge refused to keep him in custody, claiming
that his previous release and the days he spent at home proved that
there was no danger in letting him go. He told the prosecutors that
unless they brought some incriminating material, Dr. Khaled should
be released within 24 hours. This never happened; yet On 3rd
April Dr. Khaled was declared an administrative detainee. A judge
approved the detention for six months, until 2nd October 2008.
Neither Dr. Khaled nor his lawyer was informed of the procedure in
advance; only the GSS representatives and the prosecutors were
present. They claimed that Dr. Khaled's previous release was "the
system's fault", which was corrected after 12 days.
On 1st May, after an appeal to the military court was denied, Dr.
Khaled appealed to the High Court of Justice. During the hearing, on
22nd May, his lawyer, Adv. Muhammad Abed, claimed that the
intelligence reports, incriminating Dr. Khaled, were unfounded. He
told the judges that during his interrogation by the GSS, Khaled's
investigators attempted to convince him to admit that he belonged to
the Hamas party. In return, they promised to omit any charges of
military activity. One GSS investigator, "Arad", said that "had he
admitted he belonged to Hamas, we might believe him; but since he
denies everything, we cannot believe a word he's saying and
therefore suspect he is involved in military activity".
Another investigator, "Doron", threatened to "ruin his life" in case
he does not cooperate. Adv. Abed concluded that the GSS
interrogators were seeking revenge for Dr. Khaled's refusal to
cooperate with them by formally advancing their suspicion of
military activity and requesting administrative detention. Supreme
Court judges Beinish, Rivlin and Jubran were critical about the
procedures leading to Khaled's arrest.
Yet on 1st June, they rejected his appeal. Their decision is
concise: "Upon the petitioner's permission, we examined the secret
files and found that we have no reason to interfere with the
decision. The petitioner is a Hamas activist who was involved in
organizing a military activity that is dangerous for the area and as
a result of this threat, his appeal is denied."
Dr. Ghassan Khaled was put under administrative detention in order
to bypass the military judge's decision rejecting the military
prosecutor's request to keep him in custody. The trial itself began
on 17th July, at the military court in Salem. Due to a mistake, no
witnesses were summoned. The judge, Major Dalia Kaufman, proposed a
date at the end of September for the next hearing. She argued
that "we are not limited in time because the accused is not in
custody with regards to the present case", despite the "unrelated"
fact that he is kept in administrative detention. The next hearing
was eventually set to 25th August. At the moment Dr. Khaled is
incarcerated in Megido prison.
*For more on administrative detention see
A very similar case to that of Dr. Khaled, Abu Azzam's son, is that
of Mousa Abu-Maria from Beit-Omar. Mousa is a peace activist, one of
the founders of the Palestine Solidarity Project, and a leading
figure within the organizers of the nonviolent demonstrations
against the Apartheid wall. Like Dr. Khaled, Mousa Abu-Maria got the
status of administrative detainee after the military prosecutors
admitted in writing that they had not enough material for putting
him on trial. He is accused of being a senior member of the Islamic
Jihad. His appeal, too, was rejected. His lawyer, Adv. Gaby Lasky,
has now appealed to the High Court of Justice, claiming that if Abu-
Maria is indeed so senior, it is improbable that this
alleged "seniority" cannot be proven and supported by open evidence.
She also argues that the frequency of the use of administrative
detention raises severe doubts concerning the way they are monitored
by the judicial level.
Birzeit University opened a campaign against the administrative
detentions of many of its students, focusing, at the moment, on the
case of Omar Kassis, who was put on detention last March for three
months. For details, see
The Israeli Association for the Palestinian Prisoners wishes to
bring Dr. Khaled's case, as well as those of Abu-Maria and Kassis,
into public attention in order to awaken the international
committee to the horrors and injustices caused by the procedure of
administrative detention in general.
Please write to your representatives at parliament or congress,
asking them to demand that Israel either release all administrative
detainees or allow them a just trial. Please write also to the
Israeli embassy in your country, protesting Israel's abuse of human
rights with regard the administrative detainees.
The Birzeit campaign advises to 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:
Fiona Paterson, Director of Human Rights Institute
International Bar Association
10th Floor, 1 Stephen St
London, W1T 1AT
Tel: +44 (0)20 7691 6868
Fax: +44 (0)20 7691 6544
More info: The Public Committee against Torture in Israel is
currently investigating Dr. Khaled's complaints about the conditions
under which he was put during his arrest and interrogation.
According to his friends, he was tied for long hours to a small
chair, his interrogation lasted about 20 hours a day, during which
he was not allowed to eat or pray.
Ha'aretz reporter Meron Rapoport wrote about the systematic abuse
that Dr. Khaled's father suffered:
Haaretz: The fruits of his efforts lie on the wrong side of the
September 5th, 2007
By Meron Rapoport,Qalqilya Region
Sharif Omar Khaled had a little bit of satisfaction last week. His
guava trees bore fruit for the first time. They had ripened
relatively early, he said, because of the hot weather.
Sharif Khaled, who is known to everyone as Abu Azzam, looks like a
moshavnik from days gone by. True, he doesn't have a mustache, but
he has a little paunch, an old tractor with a wagon and he can talk
about his trees without end: olive trees, citrus trees, avocado,
almonds, guavas. His greatest pride is his loquat orchard: 14 dunams
last year yielded 47 tons of fruit. A most impressive record.
In the past two months, Abu Azzam has seen his 3,600 trees only from
a distance, from the top of the hill where his village, Jayyous,
lies. When I visited this Palestinian village (not far from
Qalqilyah) some four years ago, I felt as if I were in a moshav -
tractors with drivers in mud-covered rubber boots filled its streets.
This feeling has dissipated. The number of Jayyous residents who
engage in agriculture has decreased for a simple reason: the
separation fence. In his area it was completed three years ago and
it cuts off the residents of Jayyous from their lands. To reach
their farm land, they require a permit from the Civil
Administration, and these are given out less and less often. Only 90
of the 4,000 residents of Jayyous are today permitted to work their
lands. For three years, Abu Azzam was one of the lucky ones who
received a permit. On June 23, he was informed that the permit would
no longer be renewed, "because of opposition on the part of security
Abu Azzam is not the only person whose permit was not renewed. In
the past few months, people in Jayyous say, 29 farmers have had
their permits canceled, all of them ostensibly for security reasons.
In Abu Azzam's case, this refusal seems surprising, in the best-case
scenario, and evil in the worst case.
Abu Azzam goes abroad three or four times a year. He has been to
Sweden, Britain, India and Spain. Now he can chat a little in
Italian after studying for three months in Pisa. But he cannot go to
his loquat trees.
The word "coexistence" has all but disappeared from the lexicon of
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But not with Abu Azzam. He struck
up ties with Israelis who participated in the protests against
building the fence in the Jayyous area four years ago, and since
then he has taken pains to nurture those ties constantly. Every year
hundreds of Israelis come to help him and other farmers from Jayyous
with their harvesting in fields that have remained on the Israeli
side of the fence.
"They don't want money and even bring along their own food," Abu
Azzam says with admiration. "They simply want to help us."
Abu Azzam particularly remembers one of the Israeli acts of
assistance: In December 2004, Israeli bulldozers pulled up several
hundred olive trees in a private plot belonging to one of the
residents of Jayyous. "The Israelis came to replant the trees," he
says. "They walked several kilometers on foot because the army did
not permit them to bring their vehicles to the fields. Even the
elderly among them went on foot. How old is Uri Avneri? He also
walked. We were altogether some 50 Palestinians, 200 Israelis and
100 policemen and soldiers. Several hundred villagers from Jayyous
watched us from behind the fence. They were extremely moved. It was
a very good feeling to see the Israelis planting the trees with us."
But let us not get confused. Abu Azzam is a thorn in Israel's side,
albeit a small thorn. He travels a great deal abroad and on most of
his trips speaks out against the "apartheid fence." He was part of
the Palestinian delegation to the International Court of Justice in
The Hague, as a "farmer from the area," and he says things that are
unequivocal and scathing. He appears in international forums abroad,
and sometimes his confrontations with Israeli representatives end in
unpleasant tones. This year in February, for example, he
participated in a discussion at Cambridge University.
"The Palestinian delegate in Briatin did not arrive, and I was the
sole Palestinian in a forum with about 10 Israelis," he says. "They
asked me whether suicide bombers can be part of a peace process. I
was impolite and asked them whether attacks by an Apache helicopter
on schools could be part of a peace process. There was an unpleasant
Did these scathing remarks lead to the cancellation of Abu Azzam's
permit? It is possible.
A Civil Administration spokesman responded that Abu Azzam had a
hearing before a committee that considered his request to renew his
permit. The request was considered "bearing in mind the security
needs of the State of Israel, and it was decided to turn it down."
Abu Azzam says that the committee members asked him where he had
gone the last time he visited abroad. "I said that I was in Sweden
in May, and then they asked me `where were you in February?' I had
the feeling they were talking about the conference in Cambridge."
Perhaps there is another reason. One of Abu Azzam's friends once
warned him that eventually they would cancel his permit to work his
fields. "Your problem is that you have too many contacts with the
Israeli left," his friend told him.
Either way, Abu Azzam is convinced that the Israeli authorities are
not in favor of ties between Israelis and Palestinians. He views the
lack of ties as one of the reasons that the number of Israelis who
participate in the activities he has organized has not grown. "It is
as if the Israelis are not interested in knowing what is happening
on the other side," he says.
Is Abu Azzam indeed a security menace? Anything is possible, but on
the face of it, at least, it appears that this possibility would be
strange. He is 65 years old, a former Communist, and the distance
between him and Hamas is very great. He has been arrested only once,
20 years ago, for refusing to evacuate part of his lands in favor of
the nearby settlement of Tzofin. One of his sons was detained for
nine months under administrative detention, but that was more than
three years ago. Another of his sons always gets permits to go to
Haifa port to fetch goods for the company he runs in Ramallah. This
son, too, by the way, did not get a permit from the Civil
Administration to go to the family's fields. He can travel to Haifa
but not to his father's guavas and loquats.
Sources in the Civil Administration say that attempts were made on
their part to persuade the Shin Bet security service to give Abu
Azzam a permit, but the Shin Bet was adamant in its refusal.
Abu Azzam has a simple explanation for this persistent
refusal: "They want us to forget about our lands, for us to emigrate
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