Original call: 26 February 2003. Last updated: 14 April 2003.
Above: Fareg Ibrahim holding his two-month-old daughter
Almost a year ago, in May 2002, the Israeli Minister of Interior decided to deport Fareg Ibrahim, an Arab-Egyptian married to an Arab-Israeli woman, and father to a two-month-old baby, Camela.
Since June 2002, Mr. Ibrahim has been held in custody, without being accused of any crime. The Tel Aviv District Court denied his requests to be released on bail. Usually, foreign residents, especially ones who are married to Israelis, are interrogated and released on bail. However, apparently because Mr. Ibrahim is an Arab, Israeli judges decided to keep him in detention.
Mr. Ibrahim has been living in Israel for 7 years. He entered Israel on a visa, and after he married an Arab-Israeli woman, filed a request to become an Israeli resident. He was a hard-working man, committed to his family. He was not involved in any criminal activity whatsoever. He is not connected, directly or indirectly, to any terrorist organization. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Interior decided to tear him away from his wife and child and deport him to Egypt, implementing a policy denying family reunification to Arabs. This act is considered a crime according to international conventions and UN treaties.
Mr. Ibrahim filed a petition, through his attorney Shamai Leibowitz, to the Israeli Supreme Court. On February 5, 2003, A 3-judge panel of the Supreme Court conducted the hearing.
The State Attorney Mr. Yuval Reutman told the judges that he has “secret evidence” showing Mr. Ibrahim is a security threat. The judges simply accepted this remark without questions.
Attorney Leibowitz asked the State attorney: “Can you show us any evidence that proves he committed an offense?”
The State attorney replied: “No”.
“Did you conduct any interview with Mr. Ibrahim before concluding he is a ‘security threat’?”
The State attorney replied: “No”.
Thus, without questioning Mr. Ibrahim and without ordering the State to present evidence, the judges accepted this baseless accusation. Attorney Leibowitz told the judges that this must be a mistake, but the judges refused to consider the case. When it comes to Arab families, the State need not present facts. It is enough to blurt out the words “security threat” and Israeli judges give the State the green light.
The judges, Chief Justice Aharon Barak, Justice Shlomo Levin and Justice Eliyahu Matza, shamefully disregarded the most fundamental right, namely that before such a drastic step is taken, the authorities must question Ibrahim and offer him the right of a hearing.
Mr. Ibrahim himself was willing to go through any investigation or interview. He has nothing to hide. However, the Justices of the Israeli Supreme Court fail to comply with the basic tenet of democracy - the right of the accused to be apprised of the charges and evidence against him.
Mr. Ibrahim will be torn away from his loved ones without being given a fair trial. In a few days, this innocent man will be deported, and permanently separated from his wife and child. This is a stark violation of international treaties, in addition to being a severe violation of Jewish principles, namely to seek justice for the poor, the oppressed, and the strangers in our land.
The purpose of this deportation is to cause Mr. Ibrahim’s whole family to leave their home and property in Israel. This story, among others, proves what many people find hard to believe, namely that Israeli authorities are conducting, away from the public eyes and under the shield of the Israeli courts, a slow process of ethnic cleansing.
You are invited to send your comments on this issue to the following people:
Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein
Minister of Interior Eli Yishai
President of Israel Moshe Katzav
UPDATE, 22 MARCH 2003
At the request of his lawyer, Mr. Ibrahim was given another court hearing, scheduled to be held on March 31 in the Jerusalem District Court before Judge Drori.
Now, there is a new Israeli Minster of Interior, Mr. Avraham Poraz, from the moderate Shinui Party.
How moderate and liberal he is will be determined by his actions in this case.
Please write and make phone calls to the new Minister of the Interior, asking not to deport Mr. Fareg Ibrahim, and pleading to allow him to return to his wife and daughter.
Mr. Avraham Poraz
Israeli Minster of Interior
Farag Ibrahim’s lawyers comment:
On April 14, after 10 months in prison without being charged with any crime, Farag Ibrahim got another hearing in the Supreme Court. He and his lawyer believed 3 new judges will do justice and ask the State to either to produce evidence or free him. But since the Israeli kangaroo court functions as “a long arm of the Israeli Government”, this didn’t happen. The judges did what they were asked to do by the State attorneys: to keep him in prison until he “agrees” to be deported. This is how people are locked up and deported in “democratic” Israel. What can you do? Write faxes to the State Attorneys and Judges, telling them what you think about their iniquitous actions.
State Attorney Yochi Genesin - fax +972-2-646-6655
Judge Dorit Beinish - fax +972-2-675-9648
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Arlozorov St. 21