Free Adnan Abdallah!

Adnan Abdullah

I am writing to share with you the story of my friend Adnan, who has not been released from his administrative detention in Ketziot. Only a few of the 420 Palestinian prisoners recently released (mandated by the recent Sharm al Sheikh agreement between Mahmoud Abbas and Ariel Sharon) numbered among the nearly 700 prisoners currently serving administrative detention orders.

Adnan Na’im ‘Abdallah, age 31, is married without children and has been held in detention without charge or trial by the Israeli army for two and a half years. You can read more about Adnan’s story on the Amnesty International website.

I met Adnan in Dheheishe refugee camp in 1999, when a big group of Israelis and Palestinians participated in joint educational and cultural activities at the Ibda’a community center located in the camp. We studied each others’ languages, we went together to see art performances in Ramallah and Jerusalem, we hiked outdoors. Adnan was very active in the group and was committed to these activities. I was his Hebrew teacher.

After the outbreak of the current Intifada, we continued our relationship over the phone. Adnan’s conviction in the need for peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians has not been shaken by the events of this Intifada nor by his prolonged detention under very harsh conditions. Since his detention on 2 January 2003, he has called me regularly from Ketziot. (The prison authorities turn a blind eye to prisoners’ cellular phone use, as it allows them to overhear what the prisoners say).

Adnan lives between 9m cement walls in the Negev desert. The entire detention camp is divided into cages, with 120 people living in tents inside each cage. Adnan’s cage separates him from the world in 4 directions by cement walls; he is also separated from the sky by a wire net.

Why Adnan was detained?

Probably for the same reason why other educators and community leaders are detained: Adnan was a staff member at the YMCA Vocational Training Center in a refugee camp near Jericho. The Israeli Occupation Forces prefer to keep such people (i.e. educators) in prisons. This practice helps keep Palestinian society disorganized and uneducated, and thus easier to rule.

Why he is not put on trial?

Adnan was detained because a collaborator with the Israeli Security Forces claimed that Adnan gave him “military training.” Adnan denies any involvement in this kind of activity and asks for a fair trial. He continues to be refused a trail because the Israeli justice system is very human: it has to protect the collaborator, whose life would be endangered as a result of a trial because his identity would be uncovered in the course of the testimony. This is a common occurrence, and many administrative detainees are denied trial under the same pretext. For these very human considerations Adnan can be detained forever; there is no verdict (because there is no trial), and every few months his detention is just automatically prolonged.

One month ago Adnan’s 24-year-old wife managed to get a permit to visit him for the first time in 2 years and 5 months. After this long separation, they saw each other for 30 minutes, divided by transparent plastic boards. Prisoners have managed to make small holes in these boards so, as Adnan described to me, their fingers could touch each other.

Why should you write appeal letters specifically on behalf of Adnan?

Adnan is one of nearly 700 administrative detainees. This free use of administrative detention orders is just one of many expressions of the Israeli authorities’ disregard for human rights when they concern those of Palestinian people. Adnan’s case will be presented to the Israeli Supreme Court by his lawyer. The outcome of the Supreme Court decision is not only crucial for Adnan, but also for other prisoners serving under administrative detention orders, and can help raise awareness about this issue among the wider Israeli public.

I want to ask you to participate in a campaign to release Adnan.

  • Please send one airmail letter in a stamped envelope addressed to Adnan via the detention camp Ketziot. This letter will probably not reach Adnan. None of my letters ever reached him. However, the prison authorities will get the message that somebody cares about him.
  • Please send another letter, by fax, to the Attorney–General and to the Chief Military Attorney.


    Menahem Mazuz
    Advisor to the Government
    Ministry of Justice
    29 Salah al-Din Street
    Jerusalem 91010, Israel
    Fax: +972 2 628 5438
    +972 2 627 4481

    Dear Mr. Mazuz,

    I am writing to you on behalf of Adnan Na’m Abdallah (ID no. 964385454 and prisoner no. 6015), who has been in the Ketziot prison for two and a half years under an administrative detention order. The order states that Adnan is detained because “he is a danger to the security of the area,” but it does not contain any evidence to substantiate this claim.

    Adnan is 31 years old. He is a staff member of the East Jerusalem YMCA Vocational Training Center in the Aqaba refugee camp near Jericho. He is known as a person who believes in peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians.

    I think that ruining a young man’s life, by detaining him without trial in the harsh conditions which prevail at Ketziot prison, does not promote peace and security for the state of Israel. In addition to Adnan, about 700 prisoners are currently serving administrative detention orders. This practice severelly violates the human rights of many people and is unacceptable in a democratic country.

    I request you to release Adnan or, at least provide him with a trial in a proper court of law in accordance with internationally accepted standards of fairness.



    Adnan Na’im Abdallah-Prisoner no. 6015, Ketziot Prison, Military Mail 01771, Israel

    Related Links

  • BY TOPIC: Detention & Torture
  • Mass detention in cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions, Amnesty International (May 2002)