Addameer Press Release - 04 August 2004
Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Addameer Detained by Israeli Army
On Thursday 29 July 2004, the Israeli army arrested Abdul Latif Gheith, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association, at Qalandiya military checkpoint. Mr. Gheith, 63 years old, was attempting to cross Qalandiya military checkpoint at approximately 2 PM when he was arrested by Israeli soldiers positioned at the checkpoint.
Today, Wednesday 04 August 2004 at 2 PM, Addameer’s Attorney Adv. Mahmoud Hassan was able to visit Abdul Latif Gheith, who has been denied legal counsel since his arrest. In his affidavit to Adv. Hassan, Gheith stated that he had been detained at the checkpoint for some time before an Israeli General Security Services (Shabak) officer arrived to question him at the military checkpoint. The Shabak officer questioned him for 15 minutes about his work at Addameer, the work and activities of Addameer, and employees at Addameer. Shortly after the interrogation, Israeli army soldiers transported Gheith to the Israeli settlement of Giva’at Ze’ev near Jerusalem, and from there he was then transferred to Benyamin Military Detention Camp at the Ofer military base, on the outskirts of the city of Ramallah.
From the moment of his arrest, Gheith was not given any reason for his detention and has not been charged with any offence. Israeli military regulations effective in the Occupied Palestinian Territories allow for the Israeli army to detain any Palestinian for a period of 8 days without providing reason for the detention.
Although Gheith is a resident of Jerusalem and holds a Jerusalem ID card, and therefore governed by differing regulations of detention, the Israeli occupation authorities have dealt with Gheith based on military regulations in effect for holders of West Bank ID cards.
At 4 PM today, 04 August 2004, Adv. Mahmoud Hassan was informed that the Israeli Military Commander of the West Bank had issued an administrative detention order against Gheith. The order, signed on 04 August 2004, states that ìMr. Gheith, born in 1941 and a resident of Shu’fat, Jerusalem, is to be administratively detained from 05 August 2004 until 04 February 2005 because he forms a danger to the security of the region.î Gheith joins over 700 other Palestinians who are currently arbitrarily detained under administrative detention orders, imprisoned without charge or trial, some of whom have spent over 3 years in administrative detention.
Abdul Latif Gheith, a prominent public figure in Jerusalem and the Palestinian community at large, has devoted his life to the protection of human rights and social justice activities. He has most recently focused much of his energy and activism on social justice and human rights issues as relate to violations of the rights of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, particularly against the Annexation Wall that has created enclaves of Palestinian residential areas and suffocated Palestinian society. Mr. Gheith is a member of the Palestinian Civil Society Committee on Jerusalem and a member of the Higher Palestinian National Committee on Political Prisoners.
The spectre of administrative detention is not unfamiliar to Gheith who, like thousands of other Palestinian activists, has been targeted by this form of arbitrary and debilitating punishment. In 1988, with the beginning of the first Intifada, Gheith was arbitrarily detained for 6 months and, following a brief release, was detained again in 1989 for another 6 months of administrative detention.
Addameer views the administrative detention of Gheith as part of an ongoing, systematic oppressive campaign by Israel to use arbitrary detention to silence the work of Palestinian social activists, with the aim of destroying the social fabric of Palestinian society as a whole. Like the over 700 Palestinians currently in administrative detention, and the thousands of others who have been subject to this form of arbitrary punishment over the past few decades, Gheith is detained in a military detention camp, renown for their inhumane conditions of detention, and is subject to the physical and psychological torment of imprisonment for indefinite periods of time, without knowing the reasons for his detention or the opportunity to defend himself against charges brought against him.
Addameer demands the immediate release of Abdul Latif Gheith, and all administrative detainees who continue to be held without charge or trial, and for the Israeli Occupation Authorities to immediately cease their systematic use of arbitrary detention.