Women's Organization for Political Prisoners (WOFPP)
Free all political prisoners
Newsletter December 2015
Since the beginning of October 2015, the popular uprising by Palestinian society on both sides of the Green Line has been brutally quashed by the Israeli authorities. The repressive measures included mass arrests, including those of Palestinian women. This report highlights several central issues in relation to their arrest and detention.
Conditions of transportation to court and from one prison to another
The conditions of transportation to court or from one prison to another are tough and humiliating. The prisoners are taken by special vehicles that leave regularly in the early hours of the morning, transporting prisoners to the various courts, interrogation centres, detention centres and prisons, returning them together to prison in the evening. This means that the women detainees / prisoners who are transported to court or from one prison to another leave at dawn by the ‘Posta’ (the name given to the prisoner transportation vehicle) and return at night, sometimes as late as 10 or 11 pm.
The women are usually held inside the ‘Posta’ not only during transportation but also during and after the court procedures. In the ‘Posta’ the women are held in small ‘separation cells’ big enough for two or three prisoners that have no windows or air vents, The cell is airless and stifling (if the wardens decide not to turn the air conditioning on) or freezing (if the air conditioning is on). The prisoners have no space to move or straighten their legs and they have to remain sitting with knees bent.
The prisoners are shackled hand- and foot the whole time. The wardens often tighten the handcuffs in a way that causes pain, while the leg cuffs cause pain with every move. If they want to use the toilets, the prisoners depend on the female wardens’ goodwill, which makes using the toilets near impossible.
The cells in courts within the Green Line, are narrow and extremely dirty. The drinking water tap is inside the filthy toilets within the cells. The prisoners are often held in cells that have no toilets or drinking water taps; in such cases drinking or using the toilets again depends on the good will of the ‘Nachshon’ female wardens (Nachshon is the Israeli Prison Service unit responsible for transporting prisoners). In the winter the cells are particularly cold and stifling.
Tawjihi Exams (the Palestinian Authority final Secondary School exams)
At present these exams are held within the prisons are supervised by the prisoners themselves on condition that at least two prisoners with a BA degree invigilate the exams. This year (2015) the exams for women political prisoners have been inspected by Khalida Jarra
r, Member of the Palestinian Authority Parliament, and prisoner Muna Ka’adan
. Several prisoners sat the exams and attained a Tawjihi certificate that will entitle them to continue their academic studies.
Groups of young activists (Al Harak Al Shababi) called a protest meeting in Nazareth on 8 October 2015. On the day before the protest, on 7 October, nine people whose phone numbers were listed as organisers appeared in the call for the protest were arrested as a ‘preventive measure’, among them four women (one minor and three women in their twenties).
One minor, R.,
was released the following morning to house arrest. The three other women, Adan Tatour
from Jaffa, Lubna Touma
from Kufr Yassif, and Samar Azaizeh
from Nazareth were detained in the Kishon detention centre. An appeal to the district court was rejected as the court was ‘persuaded’ that there was room for suspicion that the women had ‘incited to violence and terror’ since the call for protest included a recommendation that protestors be equipped with onions (used against tear gas). They were released on 11 October 2015.
Arrests of minors
Two minors, Sh.
(aged 15) and S.
(aged 14) from Nazareth were violently arrested during a protest in Nazareth on 8 October 2015 and detained at the Kishon detention centre. It is worth noting that in the Kishon centre there are only two cells in the female criminal wing and no cells for minors, thus the minors were detained in a separate cell in the male minors’ wing. The prosecution asked for the minors to be kept in detention until the end of proceedings, and they were released conditionally on 16 October, after eight days in detention.
Arrests due to the use of SMS and social networks
At least four Palestinian women and girls, all Israeli citizens, were arrested since the beginning of October 2015 due to the use of SMS and Facebook on suspicion of ‘incitement to violence’.
, a 21 year old woman from Acre, was arrested on 10 October for one night because she posted a bleeding hand crushing barbed wire with the caption: ‘I will keep resisting until my last heart beat‘.
from Nazareth was arrested on 11 October in her home because of social network posts.
Arrests of women suspected of attacks and who were shot and injured by soldiers and/or Israeli civilians
, a mother of three from Nazareth and a Masters student in Genetic Engineering at the Technion, was shot on 6 October 2015 by soldiers and security personnel at the Afula Central Bus Station and was hospitalised. She was charged on 29 October, and was released to house arrest on 5 November.
, a student at Bethlehem University, was arrested on 7 October in Jerusalem; she was injured during her arrest and was hospitalised in Hadassah Hospital. After three days she was transferred to Hasharon Prison.
According to reports by the Authority for Palestinian Prisoners, three further women detainees were injured during their arrests and needed hospitalisation: Asra’a AlJa’abis and two minors, N.A. and M.B.
Arrests following participation in protests
More than ten women within the Green Line, some of them minors, were arrested following participation in protests, some of them peaceful protest vigils. In all cases the women were hardly interrogated and were detained for up to 20 hours, in some cases overnight, and were then released without charge.
The detainees complained of humiliating treatment, including being searched naked in the presence of other detainees. One religious detainee whose head was covered with a Kaffieh was uncovered, with the excuse that Kaffiehs were forbidden in prison, and she was not provided with alternative head cover. At least one of the detainees was beaten during her arrest and required hospital treatment.
Administrative detention is detention without charge and legal process, usually based on classified intelligence material. Administrative detention can be extended without time limit, though the court must confirm the legality of administrative detention orders. It is well known that in most cases the courts confirm these orders.
, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was arrested on 5 October 2015. On 13 October the Minister of Defence ordered her administrative detention for three months. On 3 November 2015 the High Court rejected her appeal.
, a student from Shakba in the Ramallah region, was arrested on 28 October 2015. On 2 November she was given a three months administrative detention order.
According to a report by the Palestinian Prisoners' Authority there are currently 39 women prisoners and detainees are held in Israeli prisons and detention centres. One of them is in hospital. The report also notes three minor detainees held in the Shikma detention centre in Ashkelon: G. A.
, N. A.
and M. B.
WOFPP's legal adviser met G.A. and was informed that the minors were held in terrible conditions in the male criminal wing. Following letters of protest at this situation sent by WOFPP's legal adviser on November 2015 three minors were transferred to Neve Tirza prison. Subsequently, on December 2 2015 two minors, N.A. and M.B. were transferred to the Hasharon prison. The minor G.A. remained in Neve Tirza together with two other new minors: S.S.
WOFPP's legal adviser has been in daily contact with the families of the girls and has provided them with details regarding the steps taken by WOFPP regarding their youngsters. in consultation with them.
With the increase in the number of political detainees there has been a corresponding increase in the number of minors arrested. Due to lack of space at the Hasharon Prison the minors are transferred from place to place and political detainees/prisoners are also moved from one prison to another. The Israel Prison Service had for some time planned to open an additional wing for women prisoners at Damun Prison and on 7 December 2015 six detainees were moved there.
There have been so many arrests of women recently that we have been at pains to keep pace. Nevertheless we have decided to publish the Newsletter and to update it according to ongoing developments as soon as possible.
WOFPP needs donations to enable us to continue frequent lawyer's visits in the prisons. For donations to WOFPP:
Women's Organization for Political Prisoners (WOFPP)
Account number: 471067
Daniel Frisch St. 3,Tel Aviv 64078, ISRAEL
IBAN number: IL 60-0125-3200-0000-0471-067
BIC (swift): POALILIT
Address to receive the contribution:
Frug Street 30
Tel Aviv 63417, ISRAEL