May 22, 2013
HARK:Northern Ireland Human Rights Initiative
Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, veteran Irish civil rights leader, said in response to the case of Irish republican Marian Price, who was returned to jail in 2011: “It is a clear signal to everyone who is not ‘on board’ and who is not of the same mind as the government that no dissent will be tolerated.
“No dissent will be tolerated and you challenge the status quo at your peril.”.
Marian Price, 59, is a long-time Irish republican activist and ex-Irish Republican Army volunteer. She was given two life sentences over bomb blasts in London in March 1973 that targeted a British army recruitment centre and Old Bailey courts. Price was one of nine republicans sentenced, including her sister Dolours and Gerry Kelly, who is now Sinn Fein MLA for North Belfast.
Price was given a “royal pardon” in 1980 and left prison suffering from poor health and weighing only five stone. The Price sisters had spent 200 days on hunger strike demanding to be transferred to a jail in Ireland’s north, where republican prisoners had political status.
They were both forcibly restrained and force-fed three times a day over the last 167 days of the hunger strike.
Despite her health issues and prolonged jailing, Price remained politically active after her release. Her outspoken criticism of British rule caused problems for the British administration, who had probably hoped she would quietly fade from the political scene.
Price’s continued activism and vocal support for republicanism kept her under scrutiny and made her a target for British security services.
Jailed on orders of government official
Price was returned to prison in 2011, not on the basis of fresh evidence or any new offence. Rather, then-British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson ordered her detention and charged her with encouraging support for an illegal organisation.
The basis of this charge is that Price attended a 1916 Easter Rising Commemoration held in Derry; one of many held by Irish republicans each year. At the event, Price held up a piece of paper for a masked man from the 32-County Sovereignty Movement as he read out a message.
Three days later, Price was arrested. She was then granted bail, but arrested again after she left the court on Paterson’s orders.
This time, the reason was based on secret information from the British intelligence services, which claims the evidence cannot be revealed due to national security concerns.
Later, Price was also charged with “providing property for the purposes of terrorism”; this allegedly related to her purchase of a phone, which authorities “think” was later used by attackers who killed two soldiers in 2009.
Price’s supporters believe this is merely an attempt by the British authorities to link her with a crime. No evidence or connection to the incident was produced and she was again granted bail by the court.
Yet Price remains in prison due to Paterson’s order.
Price’s real transgression seems to be her critical remarks about conditions in the six Irish counties still claimed by Britain, and of the Good Friday Agreement that lead to the power-sharing arrangement between Sinn Fein and parties that support British rule in the north.
After her arrest, Price was held in solitary confinement in the all-male Maghaberry high security prison for more than nine months, despite not being convicted of any crime.
Then in February last year, Price was taken to Hydebank Women’s Prison where she served another nine months in solitary confinement.
In May last year, the so-called charges involving the Easter Commemoration incident were thrown out of court by a judge. Still Price remained in prison as her mental and physical health rapidly deteriorated.
Then in June, by now seriously ill, she was transferred to a secure ward at Belfast hospital.
The European Court and former Commission on Human Rights, as well as the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), have said the use of solitary confinement can be classified as torture, depending on the circumstances.
The CPT has also said that solitary confinement “can amount to inhuman and degrading treatment” and has on several occasions criticised such practices. It has recommended reforms such as abandoning specific regimes, limiting the use of solitary confinement to exceptional circumstances, and/or securing inmates a higher level of social contact.
Furthermore, the revised European Prison Rules of 2006 have clearly stated that solitary confinement should be an exceptional measure and, when used, should be for as short a time as possible.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has also stated that prolonged solitary confinement constitutes a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment prohibited under Article 5 of the American Convention on Human Rights.
The UN’s lead investigator on torture, Juan Mendez, has called for governments to end the use of long spells of solitary confinement in prison. Mendez said such isolation could cause serious mental and physical damage and amounted to torture.
He further said that short term isolation was permissible only for prisoner protection, but all solitary confinement longer than 15 days should be banned.
Support for Price
In a joint statement in November last year appealing to US officials visiting Ireland to support calls for the release of Price, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein deputy first minister of the Northern Ireland Executive Martin McGuinness said: “[Price’s treatment is a] serious case of injustice and denial of human rights and judicial rights in the north of Ireland.
“We believe that her detention is unjust and runs contrary to the principles of natural justice. We believe very strongly that Marian Price McGlinchey should be released.
“ Her human rights have been breached. She has been denied justice and due process. She is seriously ill. Her detention undermines the justice system and the political process.
“She clearly presents no threat to anyone.”
The campaign to release Price has encompassed a diverse range of people and political, social and community organisations across Ireland and elsewhere. Calls for her freedom have been backed by the two parliamentary nationalist parties in the north, Sinn Fein and the Social Democratic Labour Party (SDLP).
Adams called for Marian’s release in November, January and again in March. McGuinness has also appealed several times for her release, most recently at Sinn Fein’s Ard Fheis (congress). He also attended and gave evidence at the Parole Commissioners hearing a short time ago.
SDLP leader Alistair McDonnell called for her release on March 30. SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey has been a vocal supporter of the release of Price, as has Lisburn independent councillor Angela Nelson.
The campaign is also supported by a wide range of republican and national groups, including the 32 County Sovereignty Movement (of which Price is a member), Irish Republican Socialist Party, Republican Network for Unity, Eirigi, Republican Sinn Fein, Irish Freedom Committee, Friends of Irish Freedom, the Celtic League, the United Celtic Brotherhood and the 1916 Societies.
Calls for Price’s freedom have also come from Dublin City Council, Fermanagh Council, Dungannon Council, Galway Council, Derry Council, Sligo Council and Omagh Council.
Among other groups calling for Price’s release are the Scottish Republican Socialist Party and Human Rights Watch UK.
Devlin McAliskey said: “I think what is very important for people to recognise that what is happening to Marian is not an isolated case. While it’s happening here in Northern Ireland and we have had to call upon the UN Rapporteur for Health to exercise his authority to examine it … [it relfects] the arrogance [of] many of the Western powers …
“I think Marian’s case is symptomatic of those things we see every day … That people can still be imprisoned without due process and that many countries, particularly in the very powerful Western alliances, feel that UN resolutions and UN protections are for protecting them from their enemies, but not people from powerful states.
“Marian’s case is not just something peculiar to the Northern Ireland situation. The increasing confidence with which fundamental human rights and due process and protections are being ignored ― I think is frightening.”
The treatment of Price amounts to a return to the bad days of interment without trial, enforced by the British on the nationalist community in Ireland’s north in the early 1970s.
Price is being held purely because of her views and criticisms. She is being selectively targeted because she refuses to remain silent in the face of British coercion and repression.
The British justice system’s mistreatment of Price has again exposed it as the disgraceful, hypocritical and discriminatory structure that it is, a fact that Irish people have experienced throughout the colonial occupation of Ireland.
Price’s case reveals the contempt the British judicial system has for genuine fairness and due process.
Twice she was granted bail by judges, only to be rearrested due to orders signed by the Northern Ireland secretary of state. Price has been illegally imprisoned. The lack of a genuine case against Price and her jailing without due process is a travesty that must be remedied by her unconditional freedom.
Price’s human rights are being grossly violated by her long-term incarceration. She is effectively detained without trial, sentence or release date. This means she could be held for an indefinite time, an illegitimate procedure that allows the British administration to hold her for the rest of her life if it so desires.
On the basis of compassion, legal, civil and political rights, and those of common sense, Price should be released immediately.
- Enda Kenny to raise peace process concerns (irishtimes.com)
- Does Amnesty Practice Political Vetting ? (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Smash Internment Free Marian Price (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- ‘Union Members Deeply Unhappy’ at Price Motion (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- The Continued Imprisonment of Marian Price (kclsoc.wordpress.com)
- Martin McGuinness: “a lack of cohesion between Unionist and Republican Ministers … frankly this isn’t good enough” (sluggerotoole.com)
May 17, 2013
January 11th, 2013
Dallas joins National Day of Action against Guantanamo Bay prison
On the 11th anniversary of the first 20 captives to arrive at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, a broad coalition of Dallas activists held a demonstration and press conference at North Park mall calling for an end to human rights violations.
April 6, 2013
Palestinian prisoners refuse food in protest: Belgian press
‘Palestijnse gevangenen gaan in hongerstaking’
3 april 2013
Duizenden Palestijnse gevangenen zijn uit protest tegen de dood van een gevangene in een Israëlisch ziekenhuis een driedaagse hongerstaking begonnen. Zo’n 4.600 gevangenen weigerden woensdag hun maaltijden. Dat bevestigde woordvoerster Sivan Weizman van het Israëlisch gevangenisbestuur.
Een Palestijnse gevangene, die al jaren opgesloten zat, kreeg twee maanden geleden te horen dat hij kanker had. Dinsdag overleed de man aan de ziekte. Volgens de Palestijnse Autoriteit (PA) is Israël ervan verantwoordelijk voor de dood van de gevangene. De medische behandeling van de man werd verwaarloosd en ondanks zijn toestand werd geweigerd hem vrij te laten. De Israëlische overheid beweert dat ze de zestiger wel wilden vrijlaten omwille van zijn gezondheidstoestand, maar dat hij voortijdig stierf. Er zal nu een autopsie uitgevoerd worden in bijzijn van zowel Palestijnse als Israëlische experten.
Dinsdag waren er na de bekendmaking van de dood van de man onlusten uitgebroken in verschillende gevangenissen. Daarbij raakten drie gevangenen en zes cipiers gewond. Ook in Hebron, de geboortestad van de overledene, kwam het tot rellen tussen Palestijnse demonstranten en Israëlische soldaten.
Apr 4, 2013
US also to blame for Palestinian prisoner’s death: Mark Dankof
A commentator tells Press TV that the United States is also responsible for the death of the Palestinian prisoner who died of cancer while in Israeli custody since Washington continues to provide the Tel Aviv regime with both political and economic support…
The comment comes as a Palestinian prisoner, who suffered from cancer, lost his life on Monday in an Israeli jail due to the lack of medical care. Palestinian Minister for Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqe said Monday that medical negligence in the Israeli regime’s custody led to the death of Maisarah Abu Hamdiah. Abu Hamdieh was transferred to a hospital in Tel Aviv after he fell unconscious on Monday. Meanwhile, Palestinian prisoners held a protest following the death of their fellow inmate due to medical negligence in the Israeli regime’s custody.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Mark Dankof, a former US Senate candidate and host of the Ugly Truth Radio Network from San Antonio, to further discuss Israel’s role in the death of Abu Hamdiah, along with the regime’s practice of detention without trial. The video also offers the opinions of one additional guest: George Lambrakis, who is a former US diplomat from London. The following is an approximate transcript of the interview with Dankof.
Press TV: Let’s discuss some of the reasons why this peace process has failed. The death of this Palestinian prisoner while in Israeli custody, it is said that the Israeli authorities are fully responsible for his well-being; it is part of the Geneva Conventions, aren’t they?
Dankof: It is kind of interesting looking at the whole situation because after all this is the same regime that gave us operation cast lead; this is the same regime that gave us the illegal attack on the Mavi Marmara; this is the same regime that had a very interesting case recently involving an Israeli-Australian citizen by the name of Ben Zygier who clearly was working for the Israeli Mossad who had a very, very convenient suicide recently while in Israeli custody.
It seems to me that when you look at this whole situation where they are talking about this one Palestinian death in prison which is a tragedy in and of itself or you are looking at Israel’s ongoing policies of international lawlessness which includes their ongoing refusal to negotiate on Jerusalem and they continue the expansion of these illegal settlements with the full funding and enabling of the United States, this is at the heart of the problem.
Then when you look at the geographic map of Palestine since 1948, it is clear that the Palestinians continue losing, that they continue losing more land, that they continue being the victims of more and more state-sponsored violence and frankly the notion that they are the intransigent party in these negotiations. It is completely preposterous.
Press TV: Week in and week out, we are getting these reports, again the tensions, also not to mention the tensions without trial that happens that Israel abides by its own rules on that, freedom of movement, settlement buildings, etc. and all types of international laws and the international community is also deeming these types of activities illegal. Yet we have George Lambrakis, the other guest on the show from London who is a former US diplomat, who somewhat is defending these activities on the ground, if I understood him correctly. Why is that that Israel keeps committing and violating these terms of these international laws?
Dankof: They are doing it with impunity because they continue to have the wholesale political and economic backing of the United States. Just look at this latest visit of Barack Obama which of course was preceded by the visit of Republican US Senator Rand Paul.
Rand Paul unlike his father, Ron Paul, made serious statements in Israel which made it very, very clear that if Rand Paul is the Republican candidate for president in 2016, that Rand Paul will go along with absolutely everything that Israel wants done in terms of its foreign policy arrangements. Rand Paul is signing off and all of these aggressive behaviors that the United States is undertaking against the present regime in Iran, just as one example.
And Rand Paul would seem to be very, very amenable to Israel continuing with these illegal settlements and the continued pouring into that country of all of this American money. Then we Barack Obama’s visit to Israel whereby he commits the United States to yet another 400 billion dollars over time in helping to fuel Israel’s military machine; this is at the same time that there has absolutely been no significant concession on the part of Israel either in terms of Jerusalem or in terms of these illegal settlements or what they are doing in Gaza.
The United States is surely to blame for this and the United States of course has used its position in the Security Council to make sure that anything that is said about Israel in the General Assembly is subsequently vetoed by the United States in the Security Council. When you look at the number of resolutions that have passed the UN General Assembly in regard to Israel’s repeated violations of international law, absolutely none of these have gotten past the United States in the Security Council.
We have turned around; our government has turned around in this country and facilitated ongoing financing of Israel to the tune of what is actually believed to be about 10 billion dollars per year even aside from these latest military commitments that the president made when he was there visiting Mr. Netanyahu.
So the US is aiding in the bedding and enabling in all of this. The funds from the United States to Israel continue with no sign that this will even be lessened and as long as this goes on, Israel will continue to do whatever it feels that it would like to do whether it is the settlements or the status of Jerusalem or what they are presently doing in Gaza or what they are doing with the Palestinian prisoners in these jails.
Press TV: Let’s look at the US Secretary of State John Kerry, due to visit the region, when he was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he said, “We are serious about Israel freezing settlement activity in the West Bank”. Do you think he is serious about that as the US Secretary of State?
Dankof: No, I do not think he is serious about it any more than Hillary Clinton was serious about it, any more than the previous Republican Secretary of State was serious about it and again this gets back to the disproportionate control of the Israeli lobby in the United States of our elections.
Look at these 30 plus political action committees known to be connected directly or indirectly to Israel that are pouring incredible amounts of money in these American political races. Look at these super pacts and people like Sheldon Adelson with the amount of money that he put into the campaign of Mitt Romney and before that Newt Gingrich in the Republican Party.
The fact of the matter is this and nobody wants to talk about this of course in the US because it is considered to be taboo but what they are talking about the amount of Jewish money in American politics, the disproportionate Jewish control of the American news media, the disproportionate Jewish control of the international central banking structures.
The fact of the matter is all of this plays into the fact that Mr. Kerry represents a political party where it is believed that approximately two thirds of the money that goes into the Democratic Party is coming from Jewish sources. The Republican Party not as much but certainly very, very significant and the fact of the matter is that if Kerry was at all serious about this, if his Republican predecessor had any serious intentions in this regard, Israel would simply have been told that its conduct could not continue, the conduct that it has exhibited since 1948 and they would be told specifically that there would be a major cutback if not a shot off of American money to their activities until they negotiated seriously on the status of Jerusalem, a serious two-state solution and a serious termination of these illegal settlements that are being presently undertaken in the occupied territories.
The fact of the matter is that Kerry can say anything that he wants to as long as the United States with both the Republicans and the Democratic Parties continues to funnel the kind of money that it does to Israel and when the president of the United States whom Mr. Kerry is allegedly working for just hands over to Israel another 400 billion dollars in defense in military money over time, this tells virtually anyone looking at this what is going on; follow the trail of the money; read not their lips but read their budgets.
Photo: funeral procession of martyr Maysra Abu Hamdiya
February 4, 2013
Testimony of Abu Yasin one of the former prisoners who was tortured whilst in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious and Most Merciful.
My name is Abu Yasin. I lived in Saudi Arabia in Madinah having valid official papers; I was arrested by Saudi Authorities in 2006.
People in four vehicles came to arrest me, they were all dressed unofficially, I didn’t know they were from the security service.
During my arrest I asked to see their identities – according to the norms – they said ‘later’, nobody told me why I was arrested or showed me his identity, I remember seeing some of them later in the interrogations.
While they were transferring me to the interrogation center I asked one of the soldiers what they wanted from me, he said, “We have some questions to ask you and you will return (home) after half an hour”, I didn’t know that I will stay with them for months and that this was the beginning of my suffering and deprivation of freedom and rights.
They threw me in a solitary cell, I was deprived of my simplest rights. They started interrogating me after leaving me there for 2 days, I was thinking of the reason of my arrest, I was not allowed to talk to prisoners in other cells.
When I asked them to allow me to call my family – who didn’t know what happened to me – the soldiers said,“You’re not allowed to make calls unless the interrogator permits”, and he never permitted that during all my imprisonment period.
Two days after being arrested without charge, I was taken to the interrogation block, blindfolded, my hands and feet were shackled. Five interrogators came in, I knew that from their voices, after some time they all left except one who removed the blindfolds and I saw him, he is the same person in the photo provided, I am not sure of his name because he didn’t introduce himself to me. Later on I learned that the names of interrogators are hidden from the prisoners in order to protect them from attributing crimes to them so they won’t be judged.
Since I and my fellow inmates – who were with me after 2 months of solitary confinement – didn’t know his name, we used to call him ‘the monkey’ due to the similarity between the two. That so called monkey was my main interrogator, others interrogated me too, one of them was the one who searched my house during the arrest, and others who were probably four, I didn’t know their names but I knew they were interrogators because other prisoners described them as such.
When I was shown the printed photo above I knew instantly and without thinking that this was my interrogator, and I bear witness that this person has tortured me a lot during interrogations.
Interrogations lasted more than 2 months, there was no particular time for it, sometimes at day sometimes at night, I was physically and psychologically tortured and here I mention some of what I have suffered:
1) The person in the photo slapped me with his hand so hard on many occasions.
2) The person in the photo used to kick me on my body so hard, I remember he came one day wearing a training suit and said, “I put that one to make it easier for me to beat you”, he normally wore the Saudi clothes (thawb).
3) The person in the photo used to beat me with a thick gray electric wire that was less than 1 metre in length, that wire is well known and it is used to deliver electricity to houses, he used to beat me with that wire while my hands and feet were shackled and sometimes my hands were tied to a high place that I cannot move. He beat me on my back while my hands were tied behind my back and my feet were also tied, he lashed me with all his power, he beat me so hard. That severe beating and lashing left marks on my hands and they became swollen, those marks would last for a whole month, I asked for a doctor due to the severity of pain and swelling of my hands, but nobody answered.
4) The interrogator mentioned above once threw a pen at my face and it was about to hit my eye and pierce it.
5) That interrogator in the photo used to make terrible threats to me such as: I will never get out of prison and I shall remain under torture forever. He brought other interrogators while he beat me and they threatened me saying, “you will stay in prison till your hair turns white…you won’t see your family till you die” and once one of the interrogators other than the one in the photo above threatened me that they will send me to Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. The interrogator in the photo above used to threaten me of using electric shocks and other things that I don’t remember.
6) That interrogator in the photo used to order soldiers to bring me to the interrogation room late at night, and I remained in that room waiting on my nerves for the interrogator to come and torture me at any time, after long hours the soldier comes and takes me back to my cell, that was a way of psychological torture, the effects of that psychological torture lasted for a long time even after I was released, and till now I feel afraid and unsafe even if I am among my family.
7) The living conditions in the prison were so hard, I didn’t have any clothes other than the ones I was wearing when I was arrested, I was not given any personal hygiene products for a month I couldn’t wash except after a month of my arrest, I was not given a pillow to sleep on, I used to put my head on my shoes so I could sleep, whenever I wanted to go to the bathroom to ease myself the soldier came late and I was not let in except after a long time, such things were the orders of the interrogators, no soldier can override the orders of the interrogators. I was deprived from making calls although I had requested that many times during my imprisonment period.
I remained in the prison for five months, I was not put on trial, I was not able to hire a lawyer, I was innocent and they offended me by taking away my freedom and torturing me.
In the end I wish that whoever reads this testimony strives for taking oppression off the oppressed ones in the Saudi interrogation prisons, pleads for them and helps put that interrogator mentioned above and anyone who offended me and other prisoners on trial.
February 21, 2012
Khader Adnan is now for 66 days on hunger strike against his detention without charge or trial…
In a letter he gave to his lawyers for public release, Adnan explained why he was on hunger strike:
‘The Israeli occupation has gone to extremes against our people, especially prisoners. I have been humiliated, beaten, and harassed by interrogators for no reason, and thus I swore to God I would fight the policy of administrative detention to which I and hundreds of my fellow prisoners fell prey … The only thing I can do is offer my soul to God, as I believe righteousness and justice will eventually triumph over tyranny and oppression. I hereby assert that I am confronting the occupiers not for my own sake as an individual, but for the sake of thousands of prisoners who are being deprived of their simplest human rights while the world and international community look on. It is time the international community and the UN support prisoners and force the State of Israel to respect international human rights and stop treating prisoners as if they were not humans’.
February 21, 2012
The Israeli government will stop the movement for the liberation of Khader Adnan by spreading false promises.
Despite the Announcement of a Deal Limiting Khader Adnan’s Detention, Addameer Reiterates its Urgent Concern for His Health
Ramallah, 21 February 2012 – Khader Adnan’s hearing at the Israeli High Court was cancelled today, 21 February 2012, only minutes before the hearing was to take place. On Khader’s 66th day of hunger strike in protest of his administrative detention and inhuman and degrading treatment by the Israeli authorities, one of Khader’s lawyers negotiated a deal with the Israeli military prosecutor that Khader will be released on 17 April instead of 8 May and that his administrative detention order will not be renewed. Addameer lawyer Samer Sam’an is actively working to gain permission to visit Khader to confirm whether or not he will continue with his hunger strike.
Khader previously stated to Addameer lawyers that though he was calling for his immediate and unconditional release, the minimum requirements he would consider for ending his hunger strike would be the guarantee that he would not receive a new administrative detention order and that his duration of detention would be considered from the date of his arrest on 17 December 2011 and not from the date that he received his administrative detention order on 8 January 2012. The provisions of the deal reached today as announced by the lawyer involved do meet these minimum requirements. However, if new “secret material,” upon which administrative detention is based, presents itself during the next two months, there would still be grounds for the renewal of his administrative detention order. This caveat is consistent with similar deals made in the past, in which Israeli officials leave the door open for re-arrests.
Addameer maintains that the fact that Israeli officials negotiated the duration of his detention, in addition to agreeing to an early release, reveals that there were no grounds for his administrative detention in the first place. His administrative detention order, as is the case with all other administrative detainees, is based on the alleged threat he poses to the “security of the State of Israel.” However, if Israeli officials agree that he will not be a threat on 17 April, as clear from today’s deal, he surely does not pose any threat today and his case provides further proof of Israel’s policy of arbitrary detention. Addameer reiterates its call for his immediate and unconditional release and the release of the 308 other administrative detainees.
Addameer’s main concern remains Khader’s health, in critical condition after over two months of hunger strike. Whether or not Khader continues his hunger strike, he must receive proper arrangements for observing his health condition, which will likely now have irreversible consequences. If he does decide to end his hunger strike, the potential complications from such a protracted hunger strike will require urgent and trusted care, which can only be provided if he is released.
Addameer continues to salute Khader Adnan for his incredible steadfastness in challenging Israel’s policy of holding Palestinians in detention without charge or trial, which is in violation of international law. Addameer further thanks all individuals and institutions who have chosen not to ignore the basic human rights violations being committed against Palestinian prisoners on a daily basis and who have expressed their explicit support for Khader and his fellow prisoners. The date set for Khader’s release, 17 April, ironically falls on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, which will serve as a reminder of the thousands of other Palestinian political prisoners who remain in Israeli detention.
Follow Addameer’s campaigns to release all Prisoners at Risk and immediately Stop Administrative Detention.