Women's Organization for Political Prisoners (WOFPP)

November 2006

Amani Jaghameh was released on 23 November 2006

A report of advocate Tamar Peleg from "HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual":

30 days of Incommunicado Detention

Israeli security forces arrested Amani Jaghameh before dawn on Friday, October 13, 2006 in the village of Ein Yabroud where she and her 4 children were visiting family on the last weekend of Ramadan. She was taken to a General Security Service (GSS) interrogation center, where she has been held incommunicado until now (November, 7, 2006).

When brought before judges on October 19 and 25, she said that she had been subjected to sleep deprivation and held for 3 days in a sitting position on a chair while chained to it. She also said that she had been on a hunger strike for 6 days and that she was being interrogated about her husband. Having been held incommunicado, forbidden to meet with a lawyer, our only source of information (see details below) is the Court sessions' briefings.

We believe that Amani was arrested in search of information about her husband who has been “wanted” for years.

Amani is a wise, self sufficient, energetic and courageous woman with a sense of humour, integrity and initiative. She is able to cope well with her task of bringing up 4 children and providing for them as the only available parent.

Personal Details

Amani M. L. Jaghama, born in the USA on January 6, 1974
Passport no. 700566057 ID no.410426654
Resident of Ramallah

Husband: Maher Oudeh, wanted by the Israeli GSS

Mohammad, born in Ramallah on April 18, 2000
Bisan (f) born in Ein Yabroud on March 31, 1996
Anas (m) born in El Bireh on March 6, 1993
Enas (f) born in Ein Yabroud on August 29, 1991

The Arrest (Testimony of family members, eye-witnesses to the event and Amani’s testimony before a judge on October 24, 2006).

They came to arrest her before dawn in the village of Ein Yabroud. It was Friday, the day before the last day of Ramadan. She and her 4 children had come to spend it with their family. They searched the house inside out. Having found nothing, they took each child separately to a neighbouring empty flat to interrogate them about their father: when and where they saw him last. The kids could not remember. It was such a long time ago. They wanted or pretended they wanted to arrest her 15-year-old daughter. Amani objected and was beaten by soldiers.

Incommunicado Detention

On Sunday, October 15, 2006, HaMoked traced Amani in “Mosqibiye” – the Jerusalem Police detention facility, where a GSS interrogation centre is also located. On Monday, we were there, hoping without hope to visit her. And so it was: the policeman at the desk handed us a letter that read as follows:

Date: 13/10/2006
To: The Israeli Police/ Yehuda Investigation Unit
Re: Prohibition of Detainee - Lawyer Meeting
Detainee’s name: Amani Mohammed Mohammed Jaghameh
Identity number: 410426654
Having been empowered as Chief of the Interrogation pursuant to the Order of Security Regulations (Judea And Samaria( (N.378( -1970, Article 78 C(C) (1), and having considered the circumstances, I hereby order not to enable the meeting of the above mentioned detainee with a lawyer for the duration of seven days, beginning on October 13, 2006 at 08:00. This is due to the fact that I consider this necessary for the following reasons:
1. The security of the region
2. The benefit of the interrogation
Ends on October 19, 2006 at 23:59.
Thanks and greetings
Signature of the chief of the interrogation - head of the interrogation team
( - )
Nicknamed Yaron
Head of interrogation team - Ramallah

5 similar letters, extending the prohibition, have been handed to us since. The most recent extension is due to expire on November 11, 2006 at 23:59.

By that time, Amani will have been held incommunicado for 30 days – the maximum period of GSS is empowered to order. Further extension of the prohibition requires the approval of a military judge.

The Court Sessions

So far, 6 different court sessions have taken place. Amani was brought before military "military judges," 3 times, each following a GSS request to extend her detention. These judges are informally called "detention judges" as they are authorized to extend detentions on the request of the GSS brought before them by the Police.

In all 3 times, the judges obliged. We appealed against the extensions before the Military Court of Appeals in Ofer twice. In the second appeal, we also claimed that the judge’s decision was null and void since Amani had not been represented: the GSS/Police purposely refrained from informing us that the hearing was to take place. At the appeal they presented a false statement that was proved as such. The only decision favourable to us, out of the 6 we have received so far, was on this issue. The petition to the High Court of Justice (HCJ) was against the incommunicado detention. The HCJ rejected our request to cancel it and to allow Amani to meet with her lawyers.

The main claim we repeatedly presented to judges of all instances was that Amani’s arrest, the harsh methods of interrogation applied against her and the incommunicado detention were illegal, as their chief purpose, if not the only purpose, was to apprehend her husband. Alternatively, we repeated, that the length of the incommunicado detention and the means of interrogation were clearly disproportionate considering the case. This also proved our first point that the true target was her husband, not she. We also emphasised that since her husband left the home and went into hiding years ago, she has been the only parent and provider for her 4 children. She would not put them in danger by getting involved in illegal activities.

As a rule, the "detention judges" sit inside the jails where the interrogated detainees are held. In Amani’s case this was “Mosqobieh”, the old Russian Compound, officially named “The Jerusalem Detention Facility”. A military judge usually a reservist with the rank of captain, major or colonel sits at Mosqobieh twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. The courtroom is situated deep inside the jail. To reach it, one has to follow long, winding corridors, under low ceilings, between barred cells of (male) detainees one desperately tries not to see.

All Amani’s judges followed the habitual track: they extended her detention, although not for 19 days as requested but “only” for 11. They all ruled that the detention was necessary and justified by suspicions relating “not solely to her husband”. The HCJ was no exception. It dutifully pronounced that Amani “has been interrogated on the ground of suspicion related to her involvement, connected with the delivery of services to Hammas and, inter alia, connected with helping her husband, who is a senior member of Hammas' military wing and wanted by the security forces for a long time”. All the judges mentioned the husband in their decisions, which reinforces our belief that he plays the leading role in Amani’s detention.

The Justices did not address the interrogation methods.

Amani’s Testimonies before the Judges

Amani was not permitted to meet us, her lawyers, in the judicial sessions either. She and we appeared separately before the judges. It is worth pointing out that she was not brought to the HCJ at all, following a statement in which the GSS claimed that this would interfere with the interrogation process.

On19 October, 2006, when Amani was brought before the Military Detention Judge, Col. Shalom Dahan, she was wearing very large dark glasses that prevented her from seeing. However, we could see her, and made noises to let her know that we were there. She was very thin, pale and looked exhausted. This is what she said according to the judicial records:

“The period [of detention] is too long. I hoped the extension would be shorter. I want to go [home] today, before tomorrow.

They have already been interrogating me for 7 days. Everybody wants to go home. I was on a hunger strike for 6 days because this is like a nightmare for me. Every half hour they come to knock on the door”.

October 24, 2006, before the Military Judge of Appeals Lietenant-Col. Mosheh Tirosh: “My case is connected with something that happened in the year 2003. They are only clarifying things with me, to make them understandable. In the past, my file was left open. They arrested me because my husband is wanted. That is why I am detained here. I have been held in detention since October 13, 2006. While in detention I went on a hunger strike and did not eat for 6 days.

On the day of the arrest, 5 soldiers beat me up and it left marks on my body, and there are medical documents to prove what I am saying. They interrogated me, and told me that there were many suspicions against me and that I had to be charged and had to confess. I denied everything and said this never happened. They shackled me to a chair for 3 days; told me that I was suspected of helping my husband, that he was wanted and that I was receiving things from him. But these things belong to me, because he is my husband. [They mentioned] many suspicions connected with people I don’t know at all, I don't even know their names.

They interrogated my children [although] they are small. They asked them about my husband. And I helped him only as my husband. I used to see him in the house and talk to him, nothing more. I have 4 children aged 6, 10, 13, 15. I thought they wanted to arrest my daughter who is 15 years old. I did not agree that they take my daughter, so they beat me up.

Within 13 days of detention they interrogated me only twice. The first time, 9 interrogators interrogated me for 3 days. I did not sleep at all. They took turns. Then they left me alone for 20 hours so that I would be able to rest and sleep, and then 3 interrogators began the second interrogation [session] that lasted for about 3 hours.

On 26 October, 2006 when Amani was brought once again before a judge, Colonel Dov Gilboa, we were not there and the judge took the word of the Police sergeant that we had been informed about this session. Amani was not represented. She said: “I have nothing to say”.

As mentioned above, she was not brought to the appeal sessions or to the HCJ.

On 2 November, 2006, 2 she saw a judge again, Captain Azriel Levy (separately from her lawyer who was present in the Court). All she said was: “I have 4 children aged 6, 10, 13, 15. My mother is taking care of them now. My case is ready. I don’t understand why they need 19 more days. Please send my regards to my lawyer."

The judges did not show any interest in the interrogation methods mentioned by Amani, although they were incompatible with the HCJ decision of 1999, which declared sleep deprivation and “shabeh” illegal.

Amami Jaghameh was released on 23 November 2006.