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  4. ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES/PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: HUNGER-STRIKING DETAINEE ADMITTED TO HOSPITAL

ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES/PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY:
HUNGER-STRIKING DETAINEE ADMITTED TO HOSPITAL

Update info:
14 Dec 2018 (Updated)
Latest info:
12 Dec 2018 (Updated)
4 Dec 2018
Country:
ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES/PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY
Subject:
Suha Jbara
Gender m/f: f
Period:
24 Jan 2019
Distribution date:
14 Dec 2018
UA No:
203/2018

The Palestinian authorities have transferred social justice activist Suha Jbara to a hospital in Jericho following a deterioration in her health condition. She has been on hunger strike since 22 November to protest against her arbitrary detention. Her next court hearing is scheduled for 20 December.

On 11 December 2018, social justice activist Suha Jbara was transferred to a hospital in the West Bank city of Jericho to receive urgent treatment, as her health condition severely deteriorated after being on hunger strike for 22 days. According to her family, Suha Jbara was kept shackled to the hospital bed despite her health condition. She has refused to undergo any medical examinations or to take any vitamins or food supplements until she is transferred to a hospital in Ramallah to receive medical treatment. Suha Jbara has been taken to the Jericho hospital on at least three previous occasions and then been returned to prison.

Suha Jbara has now been detained for over five weeks without charge, and to date the courts have not permitted her to be released on bail. It is reported that she has recently been experiencing general weakness, fatigue, and dizziness and is unable to walk without assistance. Suha Jbara told Amnesty International that she began a hunger strike on 22 November to protest against her torture during interrogation and the unfair treatment by the prosecution and courts. Since then, she had suffered relentless harassment from officials to end her hunger strike. ‘’The most difficult thing of the hunger strike is the pressure that is put on me by everyone around me to stop what I am doing,” Suha Jbara told Amnesty. Soon after she began it, she was taken to hospital for a short time before being sent back to the Jericho Prison, where she was placed in solitary confinement as punishment for her hunger strike, which is a legitimate form of protest.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Suha Jbara, 31, who is primary carer for three children, is a Palestinian, US, and Panamanian citizen. She is a social justice activist and is involved with Islamic charities. She also works to support the families of Palestinian prisoners in Israel. On 3 November 2018, she was arrested from her home in Turmusaya near Ramallah in the West Bank. Her family said that five Palestinian security forces vehicles arrived at her family home and demanded to enter, threatening to break the door. She was taken to the General Intelligence detention centre in Ramallah where she experienced a mental and physical crisis and collapsed. She was admitted briefly to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah and then taken to the Jericho Interrogation and Detention Center used by the Joint Security Committee. Her whereabouts were unknown to her family until 7 November when she was brought to court.

On 7 November, Suha Jbara was presented to the Jericho Magistrate Court where her detention was extended for 15 days. She was then transferred to Jericho Corrections and Rehabilitation Center (Jericho Prison). Prosecutors from the Attorney General’s office questioned Suha Jbara and recorded her testimony on 5 November at the Jericho Detention and Interrogation Centre. She told Amnesty International that the prosecutors took her testimony in the presence of armed security officials in the room. She said that she was questioned about collecting and distributing money illegally but was not allowed to read her testimony before having to sign it.

Amnesty International met with Suha Jbara in prison on 4 December and gained first-hand testimony detailing her brutal treatment from interrogators. Suha Jbara told Amnesty International that she was interrogated for three consecutive days during which she alleges she was tortured by several male interrogators. She added that she was severely beaten on her chest and back, shaken and slammed against the wall, and threatened with sexual violence. “He insulted me all the time, used very dirty and violent sexual language, threatened to bring a doctor to look into my virginity saying that I was a whore, and threatened to hurt my family and to take my kids away from me,” Suha Jbara told Amnesty.

On 6 December, the Jericho Magistrate Court in the occupied West Bank approved the renewal of Suha Jbara’s detention for further 15 days upon the request of the prosecution. However, her lawyers are still being denied access to the casefile which is held by the Attorney General.

Amnesty International has documented that Palestinian forces in the West Bank and Gaza continue to arrest arbitrarily peaceful demonstrators and critics of both authorities. Among those arrested and detained are journalists, university students, critics and human rights activists. Amnesty is concerned that many of these arrests are arbitrary and that judicial proceedings do not meet fair trial standards. Amnesty is also gravely concerned about Palestinian security forces systematic use of torture and other ill-treatment against detainees with impunity, despite the State of Palestine’s ratification of the Conventions Against Torture and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), Palestine’s national human rights institution, receives hundreds of complaints of torture and other ill-treatment against Palestinian security forces each year; this year, more than 200 complaints were received by October.

Further Information on UA: 203/18 Index: MDE 21/9563/2018 Issue Date: 13 December 2018

Take action

Please write immediately in Arabic or English or your own language, calling on the authorities to:

  • Release Suha Jbara immediately unless she is promptly charged with a recognizable criminal offense;
  • Ensure that, Suha Jbara is not punished in any way for her hunger strike, is treated humanely at all times, and given access to adequate medical care by independent health professionals, including if necessary in a hospital which can provide adequate specialist treatment;
  • Order a prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigation into Suha Jbara’s allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in Jericho Detention and Interrogation Centre, and ensure that any officials identified as responsible are immediately suspended and subjected to disciplinary and criminal proceedings.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 24 JANUARY 2019 TO:
Minister of Justice
Ali Abu Diak
Ministry of Justice
Ramallah
State of Palestine
Facebook: Ali Abu Diak
Fax: +970 (2) 2973265
Email: mabusondos@moj.pna.ps
Salutation: Dear Minister

Attorney General
Ahmad Barak
Office of the Public Prosecutor
Ramallah, State of Palestine
Facebook: Dr. Ahmad Barak
Fax: +970 (2) 2983071
Email: ag.office@pgp.ps
Salutation: Dear Attorney General

And copies to:
Prime Minister
Rami Hamdallah
Ramallah, State of Palestine
Twitter handle: @RamiHamdalla
Fax: +970 (2) 2968989
Email: salaheddin@pmo.pna.ps
Salutation: Dear Prime Ministe

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the second update of UA 203/18. Further information: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde21/9532/2018/en/