Addameer’s lawyer was able to visit Beit El on Thursday evening, when he was informed of the administrative detention orders for the three women. Mrs. Sa’adat also informed the lawyer that if they were not transferred to adequate detention facilities, they would begin an open-ended hunger strike. There is no information on their current situation as of the time of writing, as visits to detainees are not allowed during Fridays and Saturdays.
Mrs. Sa’adat was detained while traveling to the World Social Forum in Brazil as a delegate representing Addameer on 21 January 2003. She was transferred on the same day in an Israeli military jeep from the Karamah Border Crossing to Jordan at approximately 4 pm. She was held in the jeep until 10 pm, with the military authorities refusing to accept her at Beit El due to a lack of detention facilities for women at the holding center. Mrs. Sa’adat was placed in an isolation cell, with another female detainee, without being questioned or interrogated. Her personal belongings were taken from her, including her mobile phone, address book, airline ticket to Brazil, and her money.
Mrs. Sa’adat is being held in an isolation cell measuring 2m x 2.5 meters, with 1 and a half mattresses. The cell is extremely cold, and the female detainees share a toilet located outside of the cell with male detainees. She was first allowed to use the toilet and leave her cell when her lawyer visited her on Thursday, 2 days after her detention. Mrs. Sa’adat was suffering from diarrhea at the time, causing great discomfort, and also suffers from a slipped disc and low blood pressure.
Two other female administrative detainees, 24-year-old Iman Ibrahim Abdel Qader Abu Farra, from Sourif, Hebron, and 23 year old Fatmeh Ibrahim Mahmoud Zayed, from Yamoun, Jenin, are also being held in Beit El military detention center.
They are both fourth year students at the Religious Studies College of Al Quds University, Abu Dis. The two roommates were arrested from their apartment in Im Al Sharayit, a suburb of Ramallah, on 20 January 2003.
Beit El military detention center has no facilities for female detainees, and the conditions of detention of the three women are inhumane. They are allowed to go to the toilet only three times a day, are not allowed to walk outside for fresh air, are not allowed a change of clothing and are being held in cold isolation cells. The only fluids allowed are tap water, breakfast and dinner consist of a piece of bread with a small tub of yogurt, and lunch consists of a small plate of rice with beans and a small piece of meat.
Addameer is concerned that the use of administrative detention against female Palestinians will become a new trend in Israel’s systematic use of administrative detention as a form of collective punishment. There are currently over 1,200 Palestinians in administrative detention, living in inhumane conditions. Since the beginning of the current Intifada, only two other women were placed in administrative detention in 2002. Prior to this, the last female administrative detainee was Itaf Eliyan, who was given three months administrative detention in October 1997, and released in January 1998.
Addameer calls on the international community to voice its protest against Israel’s use of administrative detention as a form of collective punishment, illegal under international law. Addameer also urges the international community to intervene on behalf of Mrs. ‘Abla Sa’adat, calling for a halt to the detention and harassment of Palestinian human rights defenders.