Sunday, September 27, 2020

Human rights defender Ayman Nasser under interrogation: no charges

By Ana Thorne - November 10, 2012
Section: [Life under Occupation] [Behind Bars]
Tags: [BDS] [Life behind bars]

Human rights defender and father of four Ayman Nasser has had his detention extended for a further seven days on November 8th, bringing the total number of days spent under interrogation up until today to 27 days.

Nasser, who works forAddameer (Arabic for conscience) Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association as a legal researcher is also their representative on the “High Committee for Palestinian Political Prisoners”. Additionally, he lectures part time in Al Quds University, and is one of the founders of the organization Handala Center in Saffa (1999). Nasser has previously spent 6 years in Israeli prison from 1992 to 1997.

On October 15th, the IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces) raided Nasser’s house in the village of Saffa near Ramallah at 1 am in the morning. They brought sniffer dogs to search all the rooms in the house. The soldiers confiscated his mobile phone and computer, and even searched his children’s computer.

During the whole raid Ayman’s wife was ordered to stay in another room. Nasser is currently detained in the notorious Moskobiyyeh (Russian Compound) Detention Center in Jerusalem.

A few days after his arrest, on October 18th, Nasser was presented in front of the Israeli Court in Jerusalem and spoke directly to the Court.

“I believe that every human being has opinions and positions and if it’s not violating the law he can freely think and speak these opinions,” Nasser said. “I am a human rights defender who supports the Palestinian prisoners and I represent my opinions in the public media. My thoughts are not secret, they are public, and everyone knows them.”

His interrogation period was extended to an additional 15 days, until November 2nd. According to Addameer, Nasser’s questioning sessions have gradually increased in length from a few hours per day on the 15th and 16th of October to 10 hours on the following day.

As a result, the long interrogations have been very painful for him as Nasser suffers from health problems with his back. His condition has deteriorated due to the fact that he is handcuffed and sometimes blindfolded for long periods of time.

Addameer announced that Nasser has been asked to recognize pictures presented by the Israeli investigation officials. The only one he could identify was a picture of himself. Furthermore Addameerrevealed that “[Nasser] …was told if he didn’t confessed he would remain in prison, although his interrogators did not present any charges against him.”

During one of his court sessions Nasser explained that the main focus during his interrogation was about his involvement in the Handala Center. The Center’s main focus is to improve civic engagement in local communities and strengthen partnership and networking among Palestinian civil society through dialogue and cooperation. This is done through educational and artistic activities.

He underlined that the center’s activities are completely transparent and is registered with the Palestinian Authority, in accordance with the Palestinian law.

The outcome of the court session on October 18th was an extension of Nasser’s interrogation time based on “secret evidence” which was not articulated.

Mahmoud Hassan, Nasser’s lawyer from Addameer asked the Israeli court why Nasser was not given the medicine he needs. Currently he is only given two out of four important medications that he has to take every day. Regarding this issue, the judge referred to the doctor at Moskobiyyeh Detention Center.

According to Addameer this referral is very worrying because it has in the past been documented that withholding of medicine and treatment is a systematic tool used by IPS (Israeli Prison Service) in order to force the prisoners to cooperate with the IPS’ demands.

Nasser is suffering from several health issues including inflammation in his colon and the mentioned back pains. Before his arrest he was receiving medical treatment by specialized doctors.

“He is in regular need of medical attention and is not given the necessary treatment in prison,” Gavan Kelly, Addameer’s Coordinator of Advocacy Unit told the Palestine Monitor via telephone.

“There is unfortunately no news about Nasser’s prospects for when he will be released,” Kelly explained. “It is difficult to know what the outcome of the case will be. Until now the detention has been extended for three times. We hope that we will know more in about a week or so.”

Addamer has on their website asked people to 'act now’ by writing to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that Ayman Nasser should be released immediately.

The recent protest in London last Sunday on October 28th was organized byInnovative Minds and demanded the immediate release of Ayman Nasser. At 2 pm people gathered outside the British Parliament to protest in solidarity with imprisoned Palestinian MPs (members of Parliament) and Ministers including the hunger strikers Ayman Sharawna and Samer Al-Issawi.

“Other organizations have advocated putting pressure on the Israel, for instance Frontline Defenders,” said Kelly, “and this we are very grateful for.”

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