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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
Distr.
GENERAL
A/HRC/4/25/Add.1
5 April 2007

ENGLISH/FRENCH/SPANISH

IMPLEMENTATION OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 60/251
OF 15 MARCH 2006 ENTITLED “HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL”


Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Leandro Despouy

Addendum

Situations in specific countries or territories*





________________
*The present document is being circulated in the languages of submission only as it greatly exceeds the page limitations imposed by the relevant General Assembly resolutions.

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III. SUMMARY OF CASES TRANSMITTED AND REPLIES RECEIVED

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Israel

Communications sent

1. On 19 May 2006, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal together with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders regarding Ziyad Muhammad Shehadeh Hmeidan, human rights defender and fieldworker for Al-Haq, a Palestinian NGO and affiliate organization of the International Commission of Jurists which conducts research and advocacy work on human rights. Mr. Hmeidan has already been the subject of an urgent appeal sent by the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders on 14 March 2006, an urgent appeal sent by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders on 29 November 2005, an urgent appeal sent by the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders on 1 July 2005 and an urgent appeal sent by the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders on 7 June 2005. The experts note the replies to their communications of 7 June 2005 and 1 July 2005, but note that there has been no reply to the communications of 29 November 2005 or 14 March 2006. According to the Government, administrative detention orders are limited to six months and any extension requires re-evaluation of the relevant intelligence. Mr Hmeidan has been in administrative detention since 23 May 2005 and continues to be held at Kedziot Prison. To date neither he nor his lawyer has been informed of the reasons for his arrest, despite the Government’s explanation that Mr. Hmeidan was “arrested on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activities.” The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders visited Mr. Hmeidan in prison during her official mission to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory in October 2005.

2. According to the new information received, on 10 May 2006 a military judge decided to uphold the third extension of Mr. Hmeidan’s administrative detention order, which is now said to expire on 12 July 2006. In previous communications to the Government the experts have expressed their grave concern regarding the arbitrary nature of the administrative detention of Mr. Hmeidan. In particular, they continue to be extremely concerned at the fact that he is being denied the exercise of his right to defence and to a fair trial, since he has been detained without any formal charges being brought against him since 23 May 2005. Furthermore his detention is reported to be based on secret evidence that has never been disclosed to either him or his lawyer, which undermines reliance on judicial review as a safeguard against arbitrary administrative detention. The 10 May 2006 military order represents the third extension of his original administrative detention issued on 30 May 2005 which was originally for 18 days. It is reported that each extension of the detention orders is decided almost at the last minute, which causes severe anxiety and anguish to detainees and their families, amounting to psyschological torture. The experts are gravely concerned that Mr. Hmeidan’s detention may be subject to indefinite renewal, and reiterate thei concern that his detention is connected with his work in defence of human rights and represents an attempt by the Israeli authorities to interfere with his ability to conduct his legitimate activities in defence of human rights.

3. On 2 June 2006, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint allegation letter together with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders concerning Ms. Kate Maynard, a British human rights lawyer who works with Hickman & Rose , a London-based firm of solicitors. According to the information received, on 24 May 2006 Ms. Maynard was detained on arrival at Ben Gurion airport by Israeli security personnel, having travelled from the United Kingdom to speak at an international conference organized by Avocats Sans Frontières in al Ram, near Jerusalem. It is reported that prior to her departure from Heathrow airport, she was questioned by Israeli officials. It is alleged that during her detention at Ben Gurion airport, Ms. Maynard was questioned about her involvement in collecting evidence against high-ranking Israeli military personnel and obtaining an arrest warrant for a senior Israeli military official in 2005. It is further alleged that after she had been questioned, Ms. Maynard was denied entry into Israel and detained overnight pending deportation on 25 May 2006. Following these events, Ms. Maynard instructed an Israeli lawyer to apply to the Tel Aviv district court to prevent her deportation and obtain her release from custody. On 25 May 2006 the judge of the Tel Aviv district court ordered the authorities to lift the deportation order and directed that Ms. Maynard be admitted to the country for a limited period of time. It is reported that the Israeli immigration authorities declined to follow this ruling. It is further reported that Ms. Maynard left Israel in the morning of 26 May 2006, as she had already missed her allotted time to speak at the conference. Concern is expressed that the above events are connected with the activities of Kate Maynard in defence of human rights and may represent an attempt on the part of the authorities to prevent her from carrying out her legitimate work.

4. On 6 June 2006, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal together with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders regarding Hassan Mustafa Hassan Zaga, a researcher who works with the NGOs the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and Ansar Al-Sajeen (Prisoners Friends’ Association). PCATI investigates complaints of torture or other ill-treatment and infringements of human rights by Israeli authorities and Ansar Al-Sajeen provides legal aid to Palestinian detainees and prisoners. Mr. Zaga was previously the subject of an urgent appeal sent jointly by the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders on 20 January 2006. The experts regret that no reply to this communication has been received to date. According to the new information received, on 22 May 2006, the decision to extend Mr. Zaga's administrative detention order by four months was upheld by the Ketziot Military Court. The reason given by the General Security Service is that Hassan Mustafa Hassan Zaka "endangers the security of the region"; however, Mr. Zaga has not been given the opportunity to refute the charges brought against him and he is still being held in Ketziot Detention Centre. Concern is expressed that the decision to extend Mr. Zaga's administrative detention may be connected with his activities in defence of human rights. In the previous communication concern was expressed regarding the arbitrary nature of Mr. Zaga’s administrative detention. As his detention is reported to be based on evidence that was not disclosed to him, further concern is expressed that this undermines reliance on judicial review as a safeguard against arbitrary administrative detention.

5. On 17 October 2006, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint allegation letter together with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders concerning the closing down of the offices of Ansar Al-Sajeen in Israel and the West Bank and the search of the house of Munir Mansour, its Chairperson. Ansar Al-Sajeen is registered under Israeli law, and is one of the largest providers of legal representation to Palestinian detainees before Israeli military courts. It pays legal visits to Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in Israel and advocates for their rights. It also works with prisoners’ families in need and has facilitated Palestinian family visits. According to the information received, on 8 September 2006, in the early morning, the offices of Ansar Al-Sajeen in Tirah, Majd El-Kurum and throughout the West Bank were raided and closed down by the police and the Shin Bet following the issuance by the Israeli Defence Minister of an administrative order, in accordance with article 84-2B of the Defence (Emergency) Regulations (1945), declaring Ansar Al-Sajeen illegal. The police reportedly confiscated the organization’s assets, including 14,000 shekels earmarked for prisoners and their families, hundreds of legal files and documents, telephones, photocopying machines and computers. It is reported that the closure occurred soon after the association launched a campaign to include the cases of 1,948 Palestinian prisoners, citizens of Israel, in the current talks on the exchange of prisoners. Mr. Mansour’s house was searched on the same day by the same officials. Mr. Mansour was reportedly questioned for 1 ½ hours and his mobile telephone was confiscated. Concerns are expressed that the closing down of the offices of Ansar Al-Sajeen in Israel and in the West Bank as well as the search of the house of its Chairperson may be in retaliation for the legitimate activities of the organization in defence of the rights of Palestinian prisoners detained in Israel.

6. On 25 October 2006, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal together with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders concerning the detention of Ahmad Abu Haniya, a Palestinian human rights activist and Youth Project Coordinator with the Alternative Information Centre, a joint Palestinian-Israeli organization based in Jerusalem which promotes human rights and advocates social change in the region. According to the information received, on 22 May 2005 Mr. Haniya was arrested at an Israeli military checkpoint on his way to work. He was subsequently detained under an administrative detention order and has been accused of membership of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine and also membership of a group called Al-Islamia. He is reported to be detained at Ketziot Detention Centre in the Negev. The administrative detention order against him has been renewed twice since he was first detained. Under the terms of an administrative detention order, the authorities are neither required to file charges against the detainee nor to bring the case to trial. The order is usually for a determined period of time but is often renewed before it expires and it can be renewed indefinitely. Neither the defendant nor his legal representative is entitled to view the "classified" evidence against the defendant. The current order is due to expire on 15 November 2006 but it is feared that it may be renewed. Concern is expressed that Ahmad Abu Haniya may be detained in order to prevent him from carrying out peaceful activities in defence of human rights.

7. On 1 December 2006, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint allegation letter together with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders concerning Ziyad Muhammad Shehadeh Hmeidan. Mr. Hmeidan has already been the subject of an urgent appeal sent by the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders on 19 May 2006 (see above), an urgent appeal sent by the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders on 14 March 2006, an urgent appeal sent by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders on 29 November 2005, an urgent appeal sent by the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders on 1 July 2005 and an urgent appeal sent by the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders on 7 June 2005. The experts note the replies to the communications of 7 June 2005, 1 July 2005 and 29 November 2005 but regret that there has been no reply to the communications of 14 March 2006 and 19 May 2006.

8. According to the new information received, on 14 November 2006, Mr. Hmeidan was informed that a new administrative detention order would be issued which would extend his current detention for a further four months. The new order reportedly came into effect on 19 November 2006, the date scheduled for his release, and is now due to expire on 18 March 2007. It is also reported that a review hearing was held on 20 November 2006 at which the administrative detention order was upheld on the basis of the same “secret evidence” which was used to detain him in May 2005 “on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activities”. In previous communications the experts have expressed grave concern regarding the arbitrary nature of Mr. Hmeidan’s administrative detention. In particular, they continue to be extremely concerned at the fact that he is being denied the exercise of his right to defence and to a fair trial, since he has been detained without any formal charges being brought against him since 23 May 2005. Furthermore, his detention is reported to be based on secret evidence that has never been disclosed to either him or his lawyer, which undermines reliance on judicial review as a safeguard against arbitrary administrative detention. The 19 November 2006 military order represents the fourth extension of his original administrative detention issued on 30 May 2005, which was originally for 18 days. It is reported that each extension of the detention order is issued almost at the last minute, which causes severe anxiety and anguish to detainees and their families, amounting to psychological torture. The experts are gravely concerned that Mr Hmeidan’s order may be subject to indefinite renewal. They reiterate their concerns that his detention is connected with his work in defence of human rights and represents an attempt by the Israeli authorities to interfere with his ability to conduct his legitimate activities in defence of human rights.

Communications received

9. On 30 October, 4 December and 14 December 2006, the Government acknowledged receipt of the joint allegation letter sent by the Special Rapporteur respectively on 17 October, 25 October and 1 December 2006, assuring the Special Rapporteur that his request had been transferred to the appropriate authorities in Israel and that it would forward any relevant information that it received on these matters.

Special Rapporteur’s comments and observations

10. The Special Rapporteur is concerned at the fact that no substantive reply to the three allegation letters mentioned above, and no reply to the other three communications have been received. He urges the Government to provide at the earliest possible date, and preferably before the end of the fourth session of the Human Rights Council, a detailed substantive reply.

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