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Right to Education

Demand the Release of Birzeit Student Walid Hanatche

Written by admin  •  Tuesday, 18.10.2005, 14:59
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Appeal, Right to Education Campaign, 18 October 2005

Walid Hanatche was finally released at the end of December after three-and-a-half years in administrative detention. While it’s difficult to say this was solely because of the campaign, it certainly helped – in particular, all the letters from supporters to the military authorities and the fact that it got picked up by Amnesty International. In any case, it is an example of the importance and effectiveness of international solidarity and support.

We would like to thank all those who wrote to the military authorities in response to our appeal.

Walid Hanatche, M.A. student in Economics at Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank, has been arbitrarily imprisoned without charge or trial for the last three-and-a-half years. The next few days are critical for Walid as his case is under a military judicial review. We need your help to put an end to this gross violation of Walid’s fundamental human rights and allow him to return to his family, his life and his studies, by writing to the Israeli military authorities to demand his immediate release.

Walid was with his wife and three-year-old daughter when he was arrested outside the gates to Hadassa Hospital in Jerusalem on his way from a hospital appointment, on 19 May 2002. He was apprehended for not having the military permit required by the Israeli authorities for Palestinians from the West Bank to enter Jerusalem. Walid has been in prison ever since. No charges have ever been made against Walid and he has not been to trial. He is one of 18 Birzeit University students currently held in administrative detention, without charge or trial, on the basis of ‘secret information’ not revealed to the prisoner or their lawyer.

For three-and-a-half years, the Israeli Military Commander of the West Bank has repeatedly and arbitrarily renewed Walid’s administrative detention order every few months. However, when the Military Commander attempted to renew Walid’s detention order for the thirteenth consecutive time in June 2005, the Israeli military court finally refused, twice ruling that Walid should be released due to the lack of sufficient information against him. In August 2005, the Military Commander appealed to the Israeli High Court of Justice in an effort to overturn the two military court decisions for Walid’s release. The High Court agreed to renew Walid’s detention one more time but shortened the period from five months to three months, clearly stating that Walid’s detention should end on 22 September 2005.

In the latest legal and moral outrage to hit a student of Birzeit University, one week before Walid was due to be released last month, the Military Commander threatened to extend Walid’s detention yet again unless he ‘voluntarily’ agreed to be deported for a minimum of two years. Walid refused to be deported and so he remains in prison. In gross violation of international human rights law, which explicitly states that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention”, and in direct contradiction of the Israeli High Court of Justice and two military court rulings, the Israeli Military Commander of the West Bank renewed Walid’s detention once again. This order is now subject to military judicial review.

Walid Hanatche wants this nightmare to end and to go home to join his wife, who has lately been diagnosed with brain cancer, and their young daughter. Within the next few days the military court will make its decision. We urgently call on all our friends and supporters to write to the Israeli Army’s Legal Advisor and Chief Military Attorney to demand Walid Hanatche’s immediate and unconditional release.

Please send your letters to the Israeli Army’s Legal Advisor, Colonel Yaer Lutstein and Chief Military Attorney, Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit, by fax at the contact details below. In addition (or alternatively if you don’t have access to fax), please copy your letters by email to the Right to Education Campaign at Birzeit University at right2edu@birzeit.edu.

Colonel Yaer Lutstein
Legal Advisor
Bet El Civil Administration
West Bank
Fax number: +972 2 997 7326

Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit
Chief Military Attorney
6 David Elazar Street
Tel Aviv
Fax: +972 3 569 4370

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