Ofer - Administrative Detention, Appeal

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Nitza Aminov (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.


18 Palestinian journalists are in jail (including a female journalist from East Jerusalem Samah Dweik). Some are in administrative detention


Suspect: Omar Naji Mahmoud Nazal – ID 994360287

Justice Major Sigal Turjeman presided in the hearing that centered round Clause 39 of the security code: the issuing of administrative detention order.

The prosecution stated that the material open to the prosecution does not stipulate a “criminal charge” i.e., security charge. Thus, he presents confidential material that will allow the court to issue an administrative detention order.

Bear in mind, that such an order means preventive detention!

Atty. Mahmoud Hasan who represents Omar Nazel explained that his client is a 54-year old married man, who has not been arrested since 88-89, when he got married and had a family. He used to work for “Falastin Al Yom” TV channel. In Nov. 2015 he resigned and since then he has been working as a freelance journalist and producer of documentary films.  True, he is opinionated and writes about controversial issues. You can disagree with him, but what he writes is part of his job.

Omar Nazal is a member of the Palestinian Press council and of the international reporters committee.  He was on his way to represent the Palestinian press when he was arrested on Allenby Bridge.


In her decision, the judge stated that the suspect was arrested on suspicion of security violations and that there is ground for issuing an administrative detention order. Thus, she ordered a 72-hour remand extension.


Nazal’s reporting includes criticism of the Palestinian Authority. For instance, on 26.2.16 Omar Naif Zaid was assassinated at the Palestinian embassy in Bulgaria. In 1990 Zaid fled from prison to an Arab country, and in 1994 he came to Bulgaria. Earlier this year, Israel requested his extradition, whereupon he sought shelter in the embassy. On 26.2 he was killed. Suspicion fell on Israel (which denied any involvement), but Omar Nazal suggested that there might have been collaboration between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

Understandably, it is more convenient for the PA that the man be imprisoned in Israel.


Another detainee sitting in jail because of Facebook is

Majed Yousef Muhammad Atuan – ID 852826353


Majed is a 23-year old woman from Al-Hader. She has been in jail for a week. Atty. Tareq Bargout said her Facebook page contains some sympathy for the struggle, but it does not constitute incitement.

Justice Lieut. Col. Shlomo Katz concurred, saying he does not find the Facebook posts inciting, and thus agreed to release her on a 2000-shekel bail.

The prosecution objected and the appeal was accepted.


In the yard I spoke with Nidal, Majed’s mother. This is a political family: Majed’s grandfather had been in prison, the mother, the father and a few aunts had all been political prisoners.


I also spoke at length with S.’s mother. The girl, a 13.5 year old is in Sharon Prison. The mother came to court to attend a hearing of her 16-year old son. She entered the court when a hearing of a young man from Beit Fajar was taking place. None of his family showed up. The young man was brought in; he is a deaf-mute, wearing filthy clothes, with days old beard, and it was obvious he had no idea what was going on.

The sign language interpreter said he stated only that he wanted to go home. When Justice Sigal Turjeman asked for his full name, all he could say was Omar. Atty. Bargout asked the prosecutor to look at him, “He’s a deaf-mute!” Her answer was: “Deaf-mute, but he knows how to throw rocks.”

The defense agreed to a remand extension until Tuesday or Wednesday, provided his client is examined by mental health agents, since it was clear he is not responsible for his actions.

When the interpreter explained what the attorney had said and that they were trying to prevent another appearance in court, the man burst out crying and kept saying he wanted to go home.

We sat there, the woman from the village and myself, tears in our eyes, full of pain and frustration.