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Saturday, October 22, 2005

 

Call to Action for Walid Hanatche

Dear all

Please find below an international campaign appeal from Birzeit University's Right to Education Campaign to release one of our student prisoners, Walid Hanatche. Walid has been in administrative detention for three-and-a-half years, since May 2002. The next few days are critical for Walid as his latest detention order comes before a military judicial review. Walid's wife, also a student of Birzeit University, has lately been diagnosed with brain cancer and it is time for us to do what we can to bring an end to this gross violation of Walid's fundamental human rights and allow him to return to his family, his life and his studies.

Please find attached [below] a sample letter which you can sign and fax directly to the Israeli military authorities (or email to right2edu@birzeit.edu and we will pass it on) to demand Walid's immediate release.Please forward this appeal on to your contacts.

Thank you for your help.

Helen Murray
Right to Education Campaign Coordinator
Public Relations OfficeBirzeit University
Right2edu@birzeit.edu
Telefax:+972 2 298 2059

Walid Hanatche, M.A. student in Economics at Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank, has been arbitrarily imprisoned without charge or trial for the last three-and-a-half years. The next few days are critical for Walid as his case comes before a military judicial review. We need your help to put an end to this gross violation of Walid's fundamental human rights and allow him to return to his family, his life and his studies, by writing to the Israeli military authorities to demand his immediate release

Walid was with his wife and three-year-old daughter when he was arrested outside the gates to Hadassa Hospital in Jerusalem on his way from a hospital appointment, on 19 May 2002. He was apprehended for not having the military permit required by the Israeli authorities for Palestinians from the West Bank to enter Jerusalem. Walid has been in prison ever since. No charges have ever been made against Walid and he has not been to trial. He is one of 18 Birzeit University students currently held in administrative detention, without charge or trial, on the basis of 'secret information' not revealed to the prisoner or their lawyer.

For three-and-a-half years, the Israeli Military Commander of the West Bank has repeatedly and arbitrarily renewed Walid's administrative detention order every few months. However, when the Military Commander attempted to renew Walid's detention order for the thirteenth consecutive time in June 2005, the Israeli military court finally refused, twice ruling that Walid should be released due to the lack of sufficient information against him. In August 2005, the Military Commander appealed to the Israeli High Court of Justice in an effort to overturn the two military court decisions for Walid's release. The High Court agreed to renew Walid's detention one more time but shortened the period from five months to three months, clearly stating that Walid's detention should end on 22 September 2005.

In the latest legal and moral outrage to hit a student of Birzeit University, one week before Walid was due to be released last month, the Military Commander threatened to extend Walid’s detention yet again unless he 'voluntarily' agreed to be deported for a minimum of two years. Walid refused to be deported and so he remains in prison. In gross violation of international human rights law, which explicitly states that "no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention", and in direct contradiction of the Israeli High Court of Justice and two military court rulings, the Israeli Military Commander of the West Bank renewed Walid's detention once again. This order is now subject to military judicial review.

Walid Hanatche wants this nightmare to end and to go home to join his wife, who has lately been diagnosed with brain cancer, and their young daughter. Within the next few days the military court will make its decision. We urgently call on all our friends and supporters to write to the Israeli Army's Legal Advisor and Chief Military Attorney to demand Walid Hanatche's immediate and unconditional release.

Sample Letter

Colonel Yaer Lutstein
Legal Advisor
Bet El Civil Administration
West BankFax number: +972 2 997 7326

Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit
Chief Military Attorney6
David Elazar StreetTel Aviv
Fax: +972 3 569 4370

18 October 2005

Dear Colonel Lutstein / General Brigadier Mandelblit

I am writing to call for the immediate release of Birzeit University student, Walid Hanatche, who has been arbitrarily imprisoned on the basis of an administrative detention order for the last three-and-a-half years.

Walid Hanatche was arrested on 19 May 2002. Since that time, the military court has twice decided to release Walid due to the lack of information against him. In August 2005, the Israeli High Court also ruled that Walid's period of detention should be shortened to end on 22 September 2005.

But one week before Walid was due to be released last month, the Military Commander of the West Bank sent a written letter informing Walid that he intended to extend his detention order unless he 'voluntarily' agreed to be deported for a minimum of two years. Such an ultimatum can only be described as a legal and moral outrage and Walid rightly refused to be deported.

On 22 September 2005, in gross violation of international law and in direct contradiction of the Israeli High Court decision and two military court rulings to release Walid, the Israeli Military Commander of the West Bank renewed Walid's detention order for the fourteenth consecutive time.

I draw your attention to the fact that Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Israel is a State Party, explicitly states, "no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention". In addition, the right to a fair trial is guaranteed under international humanitarian law. Clearly, Walid's treatment does not conform to either of these obligations.

Furthermore, over the course of this period Walid's wife has been diagnosed with brain cancer. For this reason and for the cause of justice alone, I ask you to intervene immediately to ensure that the latest renewal of Walid's administrative detention order - currently under judicial review - is rejected and that Walid is immediately and unconditionally released.

Yours sincerely

CC. Birzeit University Right to Education Campaign
Email: right2edu@birzeit.edu
Fax: +972 2 298 2059

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