GENEVA — The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), a member of the OMCT network, of the incommunicado detention of Mr. Alaa Mohammed Fiyad Kapisha.
According to the information received, Mr. Alaa Mohammed Fiyad Kapisha, 31 years old, married and father of two children, was arrested at his home around 4:30 in morning on 14 July 2004. He has since then been held at the General Security Service (GSS) Interrogation Unit at the Russian Compound Detention Center in Jerusalem.
An order, valid through 29 July 2004, prohibiting Mr Kapisha access to legal counsel was issued. Mr. Kapisha’s family appointed Attorney Husam Younis to represent him. On 25 July 2004, Attorney Younis submitted a pre-petition letter to the State Attorney’s office asking that the Order Prohibiting Meeting with Counsel be immediately lifted and inquiring whether any physical or psychological pressure was being used against Mr. Kapisha. No answer was received prior to the submission of the petition to the High Court of Justice.
The same day, 25 July 2004, Attorney Husam Younis representing PCATI filed an urgent petition to the High Court of Justice on behalf of Alaa Mohammed Fiyad Kapisha demanding that the Order Prohibiting Meeting with Counsel be lifted and that Mr. Kapisha be allowed to meet with counsel. (HCJ 6987/04 Alaa Mohammed Fiyad Kapisha vs. the Minister of Defense and the General Security Service). The petition was allegedly withdrawn the very day it was filed, after Attorney Dani Horin of the State Attorney’s Office informed the Court that Mr. Kapisha would be allowed to meet with counsel after 7 pm the next day.
On 27 July 2004, Attorney Fawaz Shaloudi from the office of Attorney Husam Younis met with Mr. Kapisha. At this stage, Mr. Kapisha refused to sign a sworn statement regarding his interrogation. However, on 1 August 2004, he did agree to give Attorney Shaloudi a sworn affidavit, in which he stated that at the beginning of his interrogation an interrogator named Major Moti told him that he had an order from his superiors authorising him to use all forms of torture if he did not confess and that his life was worthless next to that of the Israelis. Mr. Kapisha also stated that when he refused to confess, the interrogators told him that they were taking him for a “military interrogation”. He was then taken to a room where four interrogators blindfolded him and beat him on the face until he began to bleed from the nose. He was then given some tissue to clean himself up and also ordered to clean the blood off the floor.
Mr. Kapisha added that later on he was tied to a chair for four hours. One interrogator was standing in front of him and another behind him and every time he made a movement they would kick him back and forth causing him severe pain in the back. According to the affidavit, the interrogators later handcuffed him and tightened the cuffs to such an extent that he could no longer stand the pain and finally agreed to confess to whatever they wished. They then removed the handcuffs but when Mr. Kapisha again refused to confess he was tied to the chair for another half hour. Mr. Kapisha stated that the interrogators threatened to demolish his home and arrest his family.
The International Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Kapisha, given the reported ill-treatment and torture to which he has been subjected, and the risk of further treatment of this type that he faces while in detention. OMCT calls on the authorities to guarantee the personal integrity of Mr. Kapisha, and to immediately release him in the absence of legal charges that are consistent with international law and standards. Furthermore, OMCT reiterates its grave concern over the use of incommunicado detention by the Israeli authorities, through the issuing of Orders Prohibiting Meeting with Counsel, as this represents a violation of the detainees’ rights under international law.
OMCT urges the authorities in Israel to take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Alaa Mohammed Fiyad Kapisha; guarantee that he is granted regular and adequate access to legal representation and family visits; order his immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges, and if such charges exist, to ensure that he is given a prompt and fair trial, in which his procedural rights are guaranteed at all times; order a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances of these events, notably the allegations of torture, in order to identify those responsible, bring them to trial and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law; guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country and the Occupied Territories in accordance with international human rights standards.