Two international activists arrested on visit to military court
Occupied Palestine – On Wednesday 29th January, 2014, two international human rights activists were arrested at Salem Military Court, in Jenin district. The activists, Norwegian and Canadian, were at the court to attend a hearing for Ahmad Atatreh, a 20-year-old Palestinian activist who had been arrested ten days earlier at a peaceful demonstration in the Jordan Valley.
Following the hearing, which the activists had attended in solidarity with Mr Atatreh and his family, Israeli soldiers violently pushed the defendant, who was in handcuffs, out of the courtroom. When the internationals asked why he was receiving this rough treatment, the soldiers took the passport from the Norwegian and arrested her on the accusation of having “slapped a soldier.”
The two remaining activists and the family of Mr Atatreh left the court facilities and were getting into a car outside when they were approached by another soldier, who subsequently arrested the Canadian, accusing him of “attempting to prevent an arrest.”
The activists were held overnight in the police station in the illegal settlement of Ariel. Under Israeli law they should be taken before a civil court judge within 24 hours of their arrest, although in recent cases the police have disregarded this, preferring to initiate deportation procedures without following due process.
The Canadian citizen was released on Thursday afternoon. The Norwegian citizen is being processed for deportation.
In the past month alone, five international human rights activists have been arrested, leading to concerns of a military crackdown on international solidarity with the Palestinian people.
With regard to the case of Ahmad Atatreh, who was arrested on the accusation of assaulting a soldier, the judge postponed the trial for a further month, in order to re-examine the evidence. The next time he appears in court he will have spent six weeks in administrative detention.
The Israeli military judicial system has been criticized by various human rights groups for their lack of fair trial guarantees and discrimination in procedural law. For more information on Israeli military courts see: http://www.addameer.org/etemplate.php?id=291