On 6 may marks the first anniversary of the arrest of Ameer Makhoul.
Ms. Trinidad Jimenez, Minister of Foreing Affairs:
When Ameer Makhoul was arrested a year ago, we wrote to the Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, now we are writing to ask you for the same call: a strong intervention with the Israeli government to release of Ameer Makhoul and all Palestinian political prisoners who have been illegaly detained and condemned under Israeli military orders.
Makhoul is the Coordinator of Ittijah, the Union of Arab Community Associations and a leader in the movement for the protection of the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel.
The morning on 6 May 2010, Ameer Makhoul's house was raided by the Israeli General Security Service and police. He was arrested and held in solitary confinement for twelve days. He was subjected to physical and psychological torture and he was deprived of basic human rights. His lawyers were finally forced to make a plea bargain with the prosecution to avoid a life sentence. Ameer's trial was a farce and a host of illegalities. On 30 January 2011, Ameer was sentenced to nine years in prison.
The persecution of Ameer Makhoul and other Palestinian civil society leaders demonstrates Israel's increasingly extreme policy of intimidating Palestinian activists working inside Israel. The majority of Palestinian prisoners have been detained in a similar way to the detention of Ameer. These acts are invalid and illegitimate, and in flagrant violation of international law.
When was arrested, Mr. Makhoul was developing a project subsidized by the Spanish International Cooperation Agency, which had as its objective the creation of a documentation center on the Palestinian identity in Israel for NGOs and researchers.
Since 1967, over 700 000 Palestinians, including women and children, were arrested and imprisoned in prisons and detention centers in Israel. There are currently 37 women prisoners of a total of 7 500 Palestinian prisoners. The fundamental human rights of prisoners -men, women and children- are being systematically violated (they are been repeatedly denied family visits, women are forced to give birth handcuffed and they are denied medical care). In 2010, 50 cases of torture and child abuse were reported to the Committee Against Torture of the UN by the DCI (Defense for Children International). Although Israel is among the 191 signatories of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in force since 1990, there are currently more than 300 children imprisoned. Over 90% of prisoners are from the occupied territories in direct contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Ms. Minister, is necessary to put pressure on the Israeli government to comply with the Fourth Geneva Convention on treatment of civilian population under occupation whether this population is in prison or outside it.
For all these reasons, we ask you to demand that Israel the fulfillment of international law and human rights of Palestinian people. We think that there will be no peace without justice. It's therefore urgent to end the occupation and the Israeli apartheid regime. Justice is vital to achieving peace in the Middle East.
Await your response.
Platform of Solidarity with Palestine of Seville
www.pchrgaza.org Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
PCDD - Palestinian Centre for Defense of Detainees
The Applied Research Institute -Jerusalen