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Israel/OPT
07.08.00
Urgent Interventions

'Israel: OMCT is gravely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Su’ad Hilmi Ghaza

Case ISR 251199.3.CC
Third Follow-up of case 251199.CC
CHILD CONCERN

7th August 2000

The International Secretariat of OMCT has received new information regarding the following situation Israel.

New Information

The International Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Su’ad Hilmi Ghazal, 16 years old, who has been detained since her arrest on December 13th 1998. OMCT has received further reports from a reliable source on the health and situation of Su'ad Ghazal, currently detained in Ramle Prison.

According to the new information, Su’ad’s last court hearing in March 2000 was postponed and a 15th June 2000 deadline set by which time Su’ad was to examined by a third psychiatrist, after which a comprehensive report on her condition was to be submitted to the court. However, it seems that the report has not yet been submitted and no new court date set.

Previously, Dr Mahmud Sehwail examined Su’ad on 10th February 2000 and issued a report stating that she was unfit to stand trial and in need of psychiatric treatment and that further detention will exacerbate her condition. Su’ad has been examined so far by three psychiatrists. According to the Defense for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-PS) attorney, who regularly visits Su’ad, Su’ad continues to suffer from headaches and pain in her joints and ears.

Su’ad is the only Palestinian female minor currently detained in an Israeli prison and has been detained without trial since 13th December 1998 when she was arrested. OMCT is also gravely concerned that Su’ad has lost already lost a full year of schooling. Furthermore, that among other human rights violations, Su’ad has been beaten during arrest, detained without trial, psychologically abused during interrogation, detained with adults and, initially, denied access to family visits and legal representation in violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Israel is a state party. In particular, OMCT recalls that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child stresses that the imprisonment of a juvenile should be a measure of last resort. Furthermore, the case of Su’ad violates what is stipulated in the legislation as highlighted by the Human Rights Committee report in 1998 (CCPR/C/81/Add.13).

Brief reminder of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT had been informed by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), a member of the OMCT network of the detention of Su'ad Hilmi Ghazal, following a claim by a female settler from Shavei Shomron that Su'ad had tried to stab her. She was subsequently taken to Kedumim settlement where she was allegedly beaten by Israeli settlers. She was held incommunicado for 27 days, 17 of which were in solitary confinement. Following repeated appeals from the Palestinian Red Crescent, her family was able to visit her.

According to the information, attorney Mr. Khaled Quzmar from the DCI Palestine Section, visited Su'ad Ghazal on November 4, 1999 in Ramle prison and again on 28th November 1999. He reported that Su'ad Ghazal suffered from headaches, a cough and an infection in her urinary tract. PCATI spoke to the prison authorities on 28th November who claimed that Su'ad Ghazal is under care of the prison doctor and clinic. According to information received, Su’ad also carried out a hunger strike for at least one month, although this has now ended.

On Saturday 27th November 1999, representatives of Medical Foundation, London, psychotherapist Rami Heilbronn and Urologist Dr. Elizabeth Gordon from St. George Hospital in London, attempted to visit Su'ad in prison, but their request was rejected because they had no fixed appointment.

Actions requested

Please write to the Israeli authorities urging them to:

i. guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Su'ad Hilmi Ghazal at all times and ensure continued access to medical care;

ii. ensure Su'ad Ghazal's immediate right to a fair and impartial trial by a competent civil court and that all her procedural rights be guaranteed;

iii. guarantee all human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards, particularly the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Israel.

Addresses

Ehud Barak, Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Office of the Prime Minister, 3 Kaplan Street Hakirya, Jerusalem 91007, Israel, Faxes: +972 2 566 4838 and +972 3 691 7915 or Email: pm@pmo.gov.il

Yossi Beilin, Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice, 29 Salah al-Din Street, Jerusalem 91029, State of Israel. Fax : + 972 2 6285 438 or Email: sar@justice.gov.il

Minister of Defense, Ministry of Defense, 7 "A" Street, Hakirya, Tel Aviv, Israel. Fax: +972 3 697 62 18.

Minister of Police, Ministry of Police, PO Box 18182, 3 Sheikh Jarrah, Kiryat Hamemshala, Jerusalem 91181, State of Israel. Fax : + 972 2 5826 769.

The Embassy of Israel in your respective countries.

Geneva, 7th August 2000

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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