Yigal Amir will finish 17 years in solitary confinement after shooting Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to death in 1995. The assassin will join between one and three other inmates in a locked cell and be allowed time to walk in the prison yard for just two hours a day. Amir is serving a life sentence without parole. In the coming days he will also be able to meet with other prisoners, watch television, and receive more phone calls and visitors.
Posts Tagged ‘prisoners’
A retired FBI official told a House subcommittee that the imprisonment of a New York Chasidic Jew in Bolivia is “state-sponsored kidnapping.”
Along with the ex-official, Steve Moore, the U.S. House of Representatives Human Rights Subcommittee on Wednesday heard testimony from the family of Jacob Ostreicher, who was arrested a year ago by Bolivian police after it was alleged that he did business with “people wanted in their countries because of links with drug trafficking and money laundering.” Ostreicher, a father of five from Borough Park, Brooklyn, belonged to a group of investors that sunk $25 million into growing rice in lush eastern Bolivia.
The hearing was chaired by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), who said in his opening statement that the U.S. government “must do everything we can to correct the ongoing, extreme injustice being perpetrated against Mr. Ostreicher and secure his freedom as quickly as possible.”
Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who has written letters calling for U.S. intervention in the Ostreicher case, said:
“It is important for everyone to remember our goal – making sure Mr. Ostreicher is provided fair treatment and basic due process. They must be made to understand that we will not stand by and simply accept the treatment that Mr. Ostreicher has received to date. Pressure must continue to be applied to the Bolivian government and its justice system to get this man and his family out of the terrible limbo they are in by ordering his speedy trial, and a fair opportunity to be free on bail during this process.”
In May, Rep. Nadler sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a letter stating: “I understand and respect the fact that Bolivia is a sovereign nation with its own legal policies and procedures, but I respectfully request that you directly contact your counterparts in the Bolivian government, and impress upon them the need for the court to hear Mr. Ostreicher’s case so that a fair result can be attained.”
Last week, Smith made a formal request to the U.S. assistant secretary of state of Western Hemisphere affairs, Roberta Jacobson, to personally intervene in the Ostreicher case.
Nadler noted on Wednesday that “a hearing regarding Mr. Ostreicher’s eligibility for bail is currently scheduled for June 11.” He reiterated that he wanted “to make sure the Bolivian government is aware that our government at a high level is calling for due process of law and a swift and fair trial for Mr. Ostreicher.”
Nadler added that “right now, Mr. Ostreicher is on a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment. As a result he is physically weak and his family is concerned about his health. His health and safety must continue to be monitored.”
Committee members heard from Ostreicher’s wife, Miriam Ungar, and his daughter, Chaya Weinberger. Both pleaded for Ostreicher’s release by the Bolivian government.
“He, together with all those who love him and want him home, are waiting,” Weinberger said during her testimony. “We are waiting to see the demonstration of liberty upon which our country is based.”
Moore said that “In Jacob’s case there is a complete absence of any concrete, tangible evidence on even a microscopic scale which would indicate that he had in any way, shape, or form participated in a crime in Bolivia. Nor is there evidence that a crime has even been committed.”
A number of U.S. lawmakers have joined Ostreicher’s family in saying that the U.S. State Department has not provided an adequate response to Ostreicher’s incarceration.
Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) told the committee, “It has now been 370 days since Jacob was originally arrested. Yet, he has not been charged. The prosecution has not even presented any evidence of his guilt. While, initially, Jacob was to be released on bail, that decision was revoked. The judges in the case have been removed and currently no judge is presiding.”
“Meanwhile, Jacob remains locked up at Palmasola Prison in Santa Cruz, Bolivia,” Velázquez pointed out. “That notorious facility was designed to hold 1,000 prisoners, but is currently home to 3,500 people. Unlike U.S. facilities, this prison is essentially run by the prisoners. Guards provide food and make sure prisoners do not escape but do nothing to maintain order within the prison’s walls. Reports suggest that gangs control life inside the prison. At least once a month there is a ‘suicide’ reported – and critics suggest many of these deaths may actually be murders. Jacob has undertaken a hunger strike to protest his unjust treatment and there are now very real health concerns about his continued detention.”
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Service) revealed on Tuesday that it recently uncovered and foiled a terrorist plot to kidnap Israeli citizens.
The group, identified as the “Holy Warriors Brigades,” was comprised of five Palestinians coordinating from Hebron and Gaza. The Shin Bet reasoned that the group sought to use the abducted Israelis as bargaining chips to obtain the release of Palestinian prisoners, including one of the plotters – Ibrahim Animat. Animat is serving a life sentence for raping and murdering an Israeli woman in 2010.
“The Holy Warriors Brigades” originated in Fatah’s military wing, al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, but splintered off in 2007. Since then, the group has been funded by Hamas. According to the Shin Bet, it is headed Assad Ibrahim abu Shariya, whose imprisoned brother, Omar, hatched the plan with fellow inmates that have since been released.
The Shin Bet stated that the group, which has been responsible for a number of terrorist attacks against Israelis in recent years, planned to abduct Israelis sometime in the coming weeks.
The revelation is particularly disturbing because Israel recently agreed to ease restrictions on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails so that they would end their hunger strike. An explicit term of the agreement required the prisoners to sign a pledge to forswear terrorist activity.
When IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz this week examined the readiness of military units at the Central Command and near the Gaza Strip, in preparation for the possibility of violent protests to mark Nakba Day tomorrow, Tuesday, he was acutely aware of the possibility that the success of his forces’ best laid plans depended on the physical well being of some 1600 Arab terrorists.
Over the past week there has been concern that this year’s ‘Nakba’ events would be more intense than usual, because of Palestinians prisoners who are on a hunger strike in Israeli jails. The Chief of Staff reportedly told GOC Central Command Brigadier General Nitzan Alon: “We are hoping for the better and getting ready for the worst.”
On Monday night, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners agreed to end their hunger strike after winning concessions from Israel to improve their conditions, both sides announced.
Some inmates had gone without food for as long as 77 days, with a few in a life-threatening state.
Earlier in the week, concern had been rising about the effect the death of one of the strikers might have on Tuesday’s protests.
Nakba Day (“day of the catastrophe” in Arabic) falls on May 15, the day of Israel’s declaration of independence. On this day Palestinians commemorate their displacement following Israel’s 1948-49 War of Liberation against invaders from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.
Estimates within the IDF are that the demonstrations will concentrate in the areas of Bethany, Qalandiya, Ma’avar Rachel, the Erez Crossing and inside Arab towns, but there is little fear that the protests might spill over into violence against Israeli soldiers. Judging by the tepid response on the part of Palestinians to the “March to Jerusalem” last March, there isn’t much lust for large scope violence on the Arab side.
A senior Central Command officer told the Walla news service that “the prisoners’ strike will bring more civilians out into the streets, but the PA security apparatus won’t allow demonstrations and rallies to deteriorate into chaos.”
All of that could have changed dramatically if any of the hunger striking Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails were to die.
Indeed, Amin Shoman, head of a monitoring group of Palestinian political factions, said that if Israel did not confirm the Egyptian-brokered deal, prisoners were going to intensify their fast and break off further talks with prison authorities.
“The prisoners will stop taking vitamins and water and stop negotiations with the Israel Prisons Service if they get a negative answer,” he told AFP.
Ten prisoners were placed under medical supervision last week.
According to a Palestinian negotiator, Israel agreed to allow Palestinian prisoners to receive family visits. The visits from Gaza were halted in 2006 after Gaza-based terrorists had captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
The negotiator said that Israel also agreed to curb its policy of placing prisoners in solitary confinement, to permit prisoner phone calls and to let prisoners engage in academic studies.
But it does not look as if Israel’s security apparatus is prepared to do away with administrative detentions, which the hunger striking prisoners were protesting..
While 308 Palestinian prisoners are being held in detention as security risks because of their active affiliation with terrorist groups, the vast majority of Palestinian security prisoners, 3,097 out of 4,424, are in Israeli jails after having been convicted on a range of violent crimes—from rock throwing to multiple murders—as active members of terror organizations in Gaza and Judea and Samaria.
The UN’s Ban Ki-Moon cares about Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails:
9 May 2012 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the importance of averting any further deterioration in the condition of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody who are on hunger strike, and urged everyone concerned to reach a solution to their plight without delay.
“The Secretary-General continues to follow with concern the ongoing hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody, in particular those held in what is known as administrative detention,” according to information provided by his spokesperson.
“He stresses the importance of averting any further deterioration in their condition,” the spokesperson added. “He reiterates that those detained must be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees, or released without delay.”
More than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners began an open-ended hunger strike two weeks ago, on 17 April – Palestinian Prisoners Day – to protest against unjust arrest procedures, arbitrary detention and bad prison conditions, according to the UN human rights office (OHCHR).
Here are some things that Moon doesn’t mention:
According to Ofir Gendleman, PM Netanyahu’s Arab media spokesperson, only six of the more than 1500 prisoners who are striking are being held in administrative detention. All of the rest are convicted terrorists (there are a total of about 4,500 Palestinians imprisoned for terror-related activity, and of these around 300 are currently in administrative detention, according to ‘rights groups’).
Arnold and Frimet Roth, whose 15-year old daughter Malki was murdered in 2001 by a bomb built by one of the striking terrorists (Abdullah Barghouti, who has said that he “feels bad that [he] killed only 66 Jews”), provide some more information:
The two who began hunger-striking in March are men called Bilal Diab and Tha’er Halahlah who are administrative detainees, held so far for nine months and 22 months respectively. Their petition came before the High Court of Justice on Monday and was heard and rejected. The court pointed to the ongoing ties of the petitioners to terrorist funding and terrorism and that they are a clear and immediate security risk to Israeli citizens. It added (which is also significant) that the Israel Prison Service is meeting or exceeding the standards required by international law regarding prisoner treatment already.
Diab and Halahlah are in fact leaders in Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The angry voices are demanding that we think of them as unjustly shunted off to prison for the equivalent of failing to pay for a television license. The media and the ranks of ‘activist’ NGOs are currently filled with such voices.
Of the other strikers, almost all were charged, tried and convicted for the most serious offenses you can think of. Hundreds are in prison for murder. Quite a number of them are unrepentant multiple murderers.
You will recall that over 1000 prisoners, including some multiple murderers, were released in the ‘exchange’ (I call it a ‘jailbreak’) for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Many of the ones that are left were not part of the deal because they were considered more dangerous or because their crimes were more vicious.
Among the leaders of the strike are these (according to Israeli government sources):
-Abbas a-Sayyid – Senior Hamas activist. He was sentenced to 35 life sentences for his role in the attack at the Park Hotel in Netanya on Passover eve in 2002 [30 dead, 140 injured].
-Muhanned Sharrim – Senior Hamas activist. He was sentenced to 29 life sentences for his involvement in the attack at the Park Hotel.
-Jamal al-Hur – Hamas activist who was sentenced to five life sentences for his involvement in terrorist attacks and murders. He was responsible for planning the attack at Café Apropo in Tel Aviv (1997) [3 dead, 48 injured].
-Wajdi Joda – Senior activist in the ‘Democratic Front’. He was involved in the suicide attack in Geha interchange (2003) [4 dead, 16 injured].
Just your average ‘political prisoners’, for whom the hearts of numerous ‘human rights’ activists are bleeding.
Finally, I want to discuss the ‘administrative detention’ provision under which 6 of the 1500 strikers are being held, since it is being compared to the Soviet Gulag and worse by the prisoners’ supporters. Administrative detention is used when an individual is deemed to be an immediate threat and where a public charge sheet would have to reveal information about sources or otherwise compromise security. NGO Monitor explains,
Most NGO statements omit the fact that administrative detention is a common procedure used by democratic and rights-respecting states around the world in security-related cases, including the US and the UK. Israel’s detention law meets and often exceeds the due process standards required by criminal procedure and human rights law [Esp. including the 4th Geneva Convention -- ed.]
With the arrival of Jodi Rudoren as correspondent, New York Times coverage of Israel and related issues has now gone to a new level of ridiculous bias, especially after a predecessor who really did try to be fair.
What is most impressive about Rudoren’s record so far is that there is no attempt to give the faintest appearance of balance. She probably doesn’t understand what that concept means. And she certainly knows that the editors and ombudsman won’t hold her accountable.
We in Israel have grown used to media prejudice and, given our low expectations, probably accept more of it without complaint than anyone else in the world.
Yet the following lead was the absolute last straw for me, in an article titled “Palestinians Go Hungry to Make Their Voices Heard“:
The newest heroes of the Palestinian cause are not burly young men hurling stones or wielding automatic weapons. They are gaunt adults, wrists in chains, starving themselves inside Israeli prisons.
This is not news coverage but revolutionary romanticism. And consider the implications:
– The article does not tell us that they are in prison for a reason. These are overwhelmingly people who have murdered or tried to murder civilians during a period, by the way, when their supposed governmental representative, the Palestinian Authority, was not at war with Israel.
– They were in fact “burly young men…wielding automatic weapons” when thrown into prison after trials. Most of them admit — indeed brag about — their crimes and make it clear that they would continue such deeds if released.
– Consequently, these people are not heroes to Palestinians, a macho society generally, because they are pitiful, gaunt, and starving but because they were heroes of an armed struggle defined in genocidal terms.
– The Palestinian Authority and Hamas hold these people as role models to young people so that they will be inspired to grow up to kill more Israelis.
– “Gaunt adults, wrists in chains” seems pulled from the nineteenth century novels of Victor Hugo.
– Remember, these are the people still in prison because of the bloodiness of their crimes after Israel has released hundreds of others in prisoner exchanges or amnesties designed to indicate good will and promote negotiations. They are still in jail not out of cruelty or even out of a sense of justice and self-defense, but because they generally are the most merciless in deliberately slaying those who are weak and helpless.
– The author’s goal is to make readers say, “Those horrible Israelis are so mean and repressive, mistreating those poor people! We must do something!” And it is to make Jewish readers say, “We must distance ourselves from this evil country (or government) that so betrays basic Jewish principles of mercy and justice.” The former call for pressuring Israel in order to hurt it; the latter urge pressuring Israel for its own good and talk about a crisis of Zionism in producing such a terrible system.
In other words, this is not a news article but a work of political propaganda that could have been produced by a Palestinian public relations firm or an American Jewish group that acts as a Palestinian public relations firm. The purpose of this article is not to report or explain what is happening but to elicit sympathy and support for — shall I say it? well, it happens to be true — terrorist murderers or would-be murderers who were foiled despite their best efforts.
Let me again add that there is nothing “liberal” or “conservative” about these facts. Nothing at all. Pretending otherwise is another propagandistic thought-control effort to get people to deny reality in the guise of opposing horrible right-wingers. It comes from the type of people who can ignore the persecution of Christians in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, the Gaza Strip, and other places in the Middle East while fabricating and highlighting claims that Israel is making Palestinian Christians flee.
Recently the Columbia Journalism Review, a publication I revered in my youth, published an article claiming that Israel had more journalists in prison per size of population than any other country in the world. This was totally false and the name of no actual journalist imprisoned was mentioned because there are none. Meanwhile, next door, the world has ignored the Palestinian Authority’s public campaign of suppressing and arresting journalists.
To its credit, after considerable criticism, the Columbia Journalism Review apologized for the article and criticized it. And do you know who wrote that cogent response? An editor who had experienced real repression of journalism in his home country, Iran.
At times we seem to be living in the updated version of Ignazio Silone’s remark, “The final conflict will be between the Communists and the ex-Communists.” All too often, we cannot depend on Western-trained intellectuals in positions of power who either buy into leftist ideology or tremble in fear of being called racists or Islamophobes. This highlights the importance of dissident Muslims and refugees from Middle Eastern tyrannies who have some immunity on those two points. Unfortunately, of course, they are outnumbered by the apologists and the conscious radicals sowing disinformation.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said Sunday it holds Israel responsible for the life of the group’s imprisoned leader, Ahmad Saadat, who was transferred to hospital after joining a mass hunger-strike in Israeli jails.
PFLP called for support to the 2,000 or so prisoners who are refusing food to protest their conditions, in particular the policy of solitary confinement.
Ahmad Saadat has been held in isolation for three years.
Sa’adat was convicted by an Israeli military court in 2008 of responsibility for the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi (“Gandhi”), on October 17, 2001.
The Xinhua news agency reports that a concentration camp exhibition Nazi crimes has opened in Shanghai on Thursday.
The exhibition concentrates on the Auschwitz death camp, and will remain on long-term display at the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum (SJRM), said museum curator Chen Jian.
Chen described the exhibition as comprised of thirty display boards illustrating how the camp was erected, and the acts of brutality committed there by Nazi soldiers.
Video records and recreated camp items, such as prisoners’ uniforms and cages where prisoners were kept and abused, are also included in the exhibition, marking the first time such items have been shown in China.
The exhibition was co-organized by the SJRM and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.