Addameer Calls for the Release of Five Palestinians Arrested by the Israeli Occupying Forces on the Night of Their Release from a Palestinian Authority Prison

 Ramallah, 10 January 2011 

In the early morning hours of 7 January 2011, the Israeli Occupying Forces arrested five Palestinians—Ahmad Al-Ewewi, 24; Majd Obeid, 21; Mohannad Nayroukh, 23; Wael Al-Beetar, 42; and Wisam Al-Qawasmeh, 22—in their Hebron homes in coordinated raids. During the course of the arrests, the IOF also killed Wael Al-Beetar’s 66-year-old uncle, Omar Salim Al-Qawasmeh, shooting him numerous times in his bed in an apparent case of mistaken identity. 

The five men had all been released from a Palestinian Authority prison on 6 January, after spending between twenty-seven and thirty months imprisoned without charges. In November 2010, the men had started a hunger strike to protest their continued detention despite standing orders from the Palestinian High Court of Justice to release them. But it was not until 6 January, after a direct order from President Mahmoud Abbas and weeks of pressure from Palestinian human rights organizations, as well as international and grassroots efforts, that the Palestinian General Intelligence Service finally agreed to release them. 

On 9 January 2011, Addameer was able to visit three of the men, Mohannad Nayroukh, Majd Obeid, and Wael Al-Beetar, in Ramleh Prison Hospital, where they were taken after their arrest. According to the affidavits taken by Addameer’s lawyer, the arrest raids did not take into consideration their critical medical condition resulting from their hunger strike, which lasted between 45 and 50 days. In fact, most of the prisoners did not have time to visit a doctor between the time of their release from Palestinian prison and their arrest by the IOF. Despite this, Mohannad was beaten, forced to strip, cuffed and blindfolded before being made to stand in the cold for many hours without a coat. Majd, who had to be rushed to Hadassah Hospital in Ein Karem after fainting during the arrest, was made to sit outside the hospital in the cold for five hours after his medical examination. Finally, both Mohannad and Wael were denied food or water until they arrived at Ramleh Prison Hospital in the evening of 7 January, more than 10 hours after their arrest. The five men’s already fragile health was therefore considerably aggravated by their arrest. 

Addameer demands the five prisoners’ immediate release as required by the Palestinian High Court of Justice and holds the Israeli authorities fully responsible for their lives. Addameer further calls on the international community to intervene with the Israeli authorities to pressure them to strictly adhere to their international legal obligations. 

For more information, please contact: 

Addameer Prisoner and Human Rights Association 

Tel/Fax: +972 (0)2 296 0446/+972 (0)2 296 0447 

Email: info@addameer.ps Website: www.addameer.info 

ADDAMEER (Arabic for conscience) Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer) is a Palestinian non-governmental, civil institution which focuses on human rights issues. Established in 1992 by a group of activists interested in human rights, the organization’s activities focus on offering support for Palestinian prisoners, advocating for the rights of political prisoners, and working to end torture through monitoring, legal procedures and solidarity campaigns.

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