Holy Land: urgent appeal after army arrests teenage girls

 Caritas Jerusalem, has sent us the following disturbing news about two teenaged girls who were taken from their family homes by the Israeli army without explanation, and are now in prison. . Administrative Detention of Salwa Salah and Sara Siureh Salwa Salah was born on the 10 November 1991. On Thursday June 5, 2008, at around 2am. Salwa was sitting with her family in their home in Bethlehem. The family suddenly heard a loud banging on the door. Salwa's mother opened the door and was faced with soldiers and the Israeli Security Agency (ISA). A female soldier was present and told Salwa to get dressed. Meanwhile the other soldiers interrogated Salwa's mother and questioned her about her husband, son and daughter. After finishing interrogating Salwa and her mother, the female soldier handcuffed Salwa's hands, blindfolded her and forcefully took her to the military jeep. Sara Siureh was born on the 20, November, 1991. On Thursday June 5, 2008, at around 1.30 a.m. Sara Siureh (16 and a half) was in her house with her husband in their family home in Bethlehem. They were suddenly startled to hear a loud banging on the door. Sara's husband opened the door and was confronted with soldiers and the ISA. They stormed into the house and a female soldier shouted at Sara to get dressed. Sara was dragged out to the military jeep. Both girls are relatives (cousins) and one of the girls is still at school. The ISA claim that the girls are involved in militant activities . They were taken to Telmond Prison and then taken to Ofer Prison where they were interrogated for one hour. In the interrogation they were asked about what they were doing and if they had any relations with any political group. The girls did not confess to anything. After one hour the girls were taken back to Telmond where they spent a couple of days. On the night before going to the Military Court the girls were taken to Ramle prison. There was a female police officer escorting them. Later during a meeting between the girls and Addameer's lawyer the girls claimed that the female police officer was extremely abusive and was pushing them inside the military jeep. The girls also claim they were searched in a very humiliating way. Both girls are now in Addamoun prison in Israel and are being held with the other Palestinian adult female detainees. Neither of the girls has been allowed any contact with their families since their arrest on the 5th of June 2008. This is the first time that girls under the age of 18 have been put in administrative detention. Their administrative detention orders have been set for four months, with the possibility of an up to 6 month renewal at the end of that period. Administrative detention orders can be renewed indefinitely. An appeal against this decision was lodged and subsequently rejected. The twin principles of proportionality and the duty on a state to take into consideration the child's well being underline much of the detail found in international law concerning the aims, restrictions and prohibitions on the sentencing of children. The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice requires that any reaction to the juvenile offenders should 'always be in proportion to the circumstances of both the offenders and the offence'. Another fundamental principle of sentencing is that the deprivation of liberty, if used at all, should only be used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time (Art. 37 (b), CRC). Clearly this is not the case for these two young girls. The Court did not abide by these legal standards laid out for all detained minors. This is the first time that both girls have been in prison. What is Administrative Detention? The Israeli authorities can hold people in "administrative detention" without charge or trial, for as long as they wish. They have no intention of bringing such detainees to trial, saying they are a "security risk". They do not inform the detainees or their lawyers how they have decided these detainees are a security risk. Administrative detention orders are issued by the Military Governor for terms of up to six months, and they are frequently renewed shortly before they expire. This process can be repeated over and over again. The mental suffering caused by not knowing the grounds for detention can amount to torture as defined under the UN Convention Against Torture and such lengthy detentions without charge or trial also constitute 'arbitrary detention' which are a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 9(1)) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 9). Currently, there are approximately 750 Palestinians now in administrative detention. Of these there are approximately 10 Palestinians under the age of 18 years old. ACT NOW TO SUPPORT SALWA AND SARAH: Register your outrage to imprisonment without trial. PLEASE WRITE to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities, demanding that Salwa and Sara be released immediately and that their administrative detention not be renewed. In particular letters should be addressed to Lt. Colonel Sharon Afek Legal Advisor to the Israeli Army in the West Bank Chief Military Attorney. P.O. Box 10482, Beit El, West Bank; Tel: 972-2-997-7071; Mobile: 972-50-551-1782; Fax: 972-2-997-7326. Fax: +972 2 997 7326 Please cc Addameer at addameer@p-ol.comso we can keep track of the letters of support. Letters can also be addressed to: Mr. Ehud Olmert Prime Minister Office of the Prime Minister 3 Kaplan Street, PO Box 187 Kiryat Ben-Gurion, Jerusalem 91919, Israel Fax: +972- 2-651 2631 e-mail: rohm@pmo.gov.il, pm_eng@pmo.gov.il Mr Daniel Friedmann Minister of Justice Fax: + 972 2 628 7757; + 972 2 628 8618 Mr Menachem Mazuz Attorney General Fax: + 972 2 627 4481; + 972 2 628 5438; +972 2 530 3367 Mr Ehud Barak Minister of Defense Fax: +972 3 697 6218 sar@mod.gov.il PLEASE WRITE TO the International Bar Association (IBA), asking its members and Human Rights Institute to put pressure on the Israeli Bar Association to ensure that all subjects under Israeli jurisdiction be granted the basic principles of rule of law - transparent processes which do not allow for arbitrary justice or governance - to which the IBA's Human Rights Institute (HRI) claims to be dedicated to: "The HRI is now a leading voice in the promotion of the rule of law worldwide." Please send your letters of concern to the Director of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association, Fiona Paterson, and copy it the Chairs of the Council, Ambassador Emilio Cardenas (Argentina) and Justice Richard Goldstone (South Africa). Fiona Paterson Director of Human Rights Institute International Bar Association 10th Floor 1Stephen St London, W1T 1AT United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)20 7691 6868 Fax: +44 (0)20 7691 6544 PLEASE ALSO WRITE TO the European Union urging the EU to pressure Israel to release or charge all prisoners in Administrative Detention and to put an end to such an unjust, arbitrary and barbaric system of incarceration without trial. Send your letters of appeal to: Personal Representative for Human Rights (CFSP) of the EU Secretary General/ High Representative Javier Solana Ms. Riina Kionka 175 Rue de la Loi BE 1048 Brussels, Belgium Fax. : +32 2 281 61 90 Email : riina.kionka@consilium.europa.eu The Commissioner for External Affairs and European Neighbourhood Policy HE Ms. Benita Ferrero- Waldner Email: relex-enpinfo@ec.europa.eu Or send a comment via ec.europa.eu/external_relations/feedback/question2.htm Israeli Embassies and Consulates in your own country A directory of Israeli embassies can be found on the website of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. To access it, please go to the following link: www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Sherut/IsraeliAbroad/Continents/ Source: Caritas Jerusalem

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