58 days since his arrest, Mohammad remains imprisoned and under interrogation. He has not been charged, and the military courts continue to renew his period of detention. Following a two-week ban on any lawyer visits, which serve as Mohammedâs only contact with the outside world, contact has been reinstated. Today, Mohammed was finally been allowed to contact his family.
Update on detention
On Monday, 16 November, a court hearing at Kishon (Jalameh) interrogation center extended Mohammad Othmanâs detention period for another eight days. It has been 58 days now since Mohammad was arrested, and his period of detention is constantly prolonged at each new hearing. To date, no charges have been laid and the court continuously contends that Mohammadâs detention is necessary for further interrogation.
On Tuesday 17 November, Addameer filed an appeal to challenge the courtâs decision to extend Mohammadâs detention. Considering that, 58 days after Mohammadâs arrest, Occupation authorities have still been unable to cite any legitimate suspicions or allegations to justify his detention, Addameer and Stop the Wall believe that Mohammadâs arrest was arbitrary and therefore illegal under applicable international law, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
Access to a lawyer
This past Sunday, the ban on lawyer visits for Mohammad was lifted. The ban was a result of a request by military court prosecutors, and the decision to bar Mohammed from his lawyer was made without either present. Addameer, which is representing Mohammad before the military courts, was neither informed of the prosecutionâs request nor of the courtâs subsequent decision to implement the ban on lawyersâ visits.
The ban was only discovered on 4 November 2009, when Addameer attorney Samer Samâan was forbidden from visiting Mohammad for a regular visit aiming at monitoring Mohammadâs health and detention conditions. That same day, Adv. Samâan also learned that Mohammad had been transferred to Ohalei Keidar prison, located in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba.
In Addameerâs experience, there had never been a case where a ban on lawyersâ visits was implemented by a courtâs decision, 46 days into the interrogation. It was feared that the ban on lawyersâ visits was yet another step to isolate Mohammad and coerce him into giving a false confession about crimes he has not committed since the interrogation policeâs strategy of threats, intimidation, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, physical and mental exhaustion has failed. There is reason to believe that Mohammad Othmanâs transfer to Ohalei Keidar prison in Beersheba was intended to exert further pressure on him by placing him in so-called âcollaboratorsâ cellsâ. Torture and ill-treatment in such cells is widespread and known to occur in some sections of Ohalei Keidar, where detainees are often beaten, punched, threatened and exposed to psychological pressure if they refuse to talk to other prisoners, who are detained in the same cells and who are typically collaborating with Occupation military authorities.
While held at Kishon detention center, Mohammad was subjected to long interrogation sessions where he was kept in the same position for long hours, yet interrogators continued to ask few, if any, questions at all. In another example, on 27 October 2009, Mohammad was interrogated for more than nine hours in two separate sessions. The first session took place from 8:10 a.m. until 9:20 a.m., whereas the second started at 9:45 a.m. and did not end until 5:45 p.m. Despite the marathon, nine-hour interrogation session, interrogators wrote only a two page report.
Addameer and Stop the Wallâs Position
Considering that, 58 days after Mohammadâs arrest, Occupation authorities have still been unable to cite any legitimate suspicions or allegations to justify his detention, both Addameer and Stop the Wall contend that Mohammadâs arrest was arbitrary and therefore illegal under applicable international law, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. Addameer and Stop the Wall also reaffirm their previously stated position that Mohammad was arrested because of his high-profile advocacy work, both locally and internationally, as a human rights defender voicing opposition to ongoing human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory carried out my Occupation forces and settlers, including those resulting from the continuing, illegal construction of the Wall inside the West Bank.