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Right to Education Campaign, Al Haq, Amnesty International- Irish Section, 23 May 2006
Ziyad Hmeidan is a student at Birzeit University and a Palestinian human rights worker from Bethlehem. He has been a fieldworker with human rights organisation Al-Haq since 2000. Sadly, Ziyad has been subject to Israeli administrative detention – detention without charge – for a year now.
Ziyad was detained on 23 May 2005 at an Israeli checkpoint, while on his way back to Bethlehem from Birzeit University where he is a postgraduate student. Ziyad has now spent almost a year in detention without any formal charges being brought against him, and without being informed of the reasons for his detention. His detention order has been renewed twice. His detention has been justified by “security
reasons”, which have not been disclosed to Ziyad or his legal counsel.
The last hearing on his case was on the 10 May 2006, when the Israeli Court once again heard Ziyad’s appeal against the further extension of his administrative detention order. In addition to Ziyad’s lawyer, Sahar Frances, Al-Haq lawyer Rafeef Mujahed, and National Lawyers Guild Representative Audrey Bomse attended the hearing.
Unfortunately, although unsurprisingly, the military judge decided to uphold the extension of Ziyad’s administrative detention. Accordingly Ziyad’s current administrative detention order will expire on 12 July 2006. However, there is no guarantee that it will not again be extended. We have only today received a copy of the decision in Hebrew, and are currently in the process of having it translated. However, it appears that the decision is following similar reasoning to the other decisions. In effect, the military judge found that the ‘secret evidence’ presented by the prosecution forms a sufficient basis for justifying Ziyad’s continued administrative detention. It is perhaps worth noting that the judge did not issue the decision directly after the hearing, but instead claimed he required more time to examine the ‘secret evidence’ and accordingly issued the decision in writing to Ziyad’s lawyer.
Obviously, this latest extension calls for increased efforts and new directions to be pursued in attempting to secure Ziyad’s release. This is where YOU can make a difference, please help secure his release by signing this on-line petition:
Ziyad is also a loving father, married to a woman whom he met at university and with whom he has two small children, a lively son aged four and a bright-eyed little daughter aged one. Through his work with Al-Haq and his olive gardens he also supported his elderly parents and sisters in school and university before his detention.
His case is just one of thousands of Palestinians who are in a similar situation. What makes Ziyad different is that he is also a Prisoner of Conscience with Amnesty International because of his human rights work, and through Amnesty you can give your support for Ziyad greater impact. Please sign the online petition and help to put pressure to release Ziyad.
For further information please visit the Ziyad Hmeidan page on
Amnesty International’s (Irish Section) website