After being detained for over 48 hours and a long night in court all 19 of those who were illegally arrested Friday night were released early Monday morning. The Judge initially allowed for an extension of detention for seven of the 19 but they were also released with out condition a few hours later. The presiding judge stated that none of the detainees presented a threat as the police had claimed. Included in the detainees was Director of the Mossawa Center Jafar Farah.
Mr. Farah as well as the other 19 detainees was arrested at the peaceful demonstration, which took place on Friday night against the killing of protesters in Gaza. He came to the demonstration to search for his son and was caught up in police intervention and arrested. He was taken to the police station where he saw his son and others sitting on the floor and bleeding. When he asked the police officers how they came to be in this condition he was him self beaten and had his knee broken when a police officer kicked him in the leg. Speaking after his release Mr. Farah stated, “It is the legal right of every citizen to protest the actions of their government with out fear of arrest or violence. The brutality of the police and arrests of protesters on Friday are not the actions of a democracy.”
Mr. Farah along with several other detainees was taken to the hospital to receive medial treatment as a result of police brutality. He was diagnosed with a broken knee and given a cast. While the medical team originally stated that Jafar would need to remain in the hospital for observation they later reversed this decision after police coercion and allowed him to be taken back in to police custody on Saturday night. While under police custody in the hospital Mr. Farah was handcuffed from his uninjured leg to the bed and no one from his family nor even his personal doctor was allowed to see him. His personal lawyer was only allowed to see him on Sunday.
Following his release Mr. Farah demanded an investigation into his case and those of the other detainees who were hospitalized. The Mossawa Center calls on the internal police investigation unit (MAHASH) to conduct a thorough investigation and to bring those police officers responsible to justice.
Israel has increased its systematic suppression of the basic rights of citizens to freedom of assembly, protest, and expression, some of the most fundamental human rights, in response to peaceful demonstrations launched in solidarity with the Gaza protests in Haifa and elsewhere. It is the state’s responsibility to protect these rights, in accordance with international human rights laws, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If Israel refuses to protect the basic human rights of its citizens, then the international community has a duty to intervene and take a firm and decisive stand against these violations.
We call on the international community and especially political leadership to publically condemn this flagrant violation of human rights and abuse of power and to join us in the demand for justice.