World Organisation Against Torture

Administrative detention and torture

The World Organization Against Torture is gravely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Alaa Kapisha, given reported ill-treatment and torture to which he has been subjected, and the risk of further treatment of this type that he faces will in detention. OMCT calls on Israeli authorities to guarantee his personal integrity and to immediately release him in the absence of legal charges that are consistent with international law and standers. OMCT reiterates its grave concern over the use of incommunicado detention by Israel, through the issuing of Orders Prohibiting Meeting with Counsel, as this represents a violation of the detainees’ rights under international law. 

Adminstrative detention, risk of ill-treatment or torture

The World Organization Against Torture has been informed by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel of the incommunicado detention and lengthy denial of access to legal counsel of Amad Sherif. He was arrested at his home on January 12, 2003 and brought to the Ofer detention camp. Soon after he was transferred to the Russian compound in Jerusalem and afterwards to the Kishon detention center. Later he was sent to Eshel prison. An order prohibiting meeting with counsel was imposed against Sherif following his arrest. His interrogaters beat him and forced him to sit with his back bent backwards. 

Israeli conscientious objectors receive reduced sentences

FIDH and OMCT, welcome the decision by the Military Parole Committee on July 14, 2004 to reduce the sentences of Haggai Matar, Matan Kaminer, Shimri Zameret, Adam Naor and Noam Bahat, conscientious objectors to the occupation of the Palestinian territories. Initially scheduled to be released in January 2005, they will now be released September 15, 2004. On March 11, 2003 Ben Artzi was the first Israeli conscientious objector to be court martialled since the 1970�s. Matar, Kaminer, Zameret, Naor and Bahat were court martialled in April for refusing to enlist in the army due to their selective conscientious objection to the occupation of the Palestinian territories. 

Human Rights groups: "No State is Above the Law"

As the situation in Rafah and elsewhere in the Gaza Strip further deteriorates, local and international human rights organisations deplore the inaction of the international community.�The last two weeks have seen the devastation of residential areas in southern Gaza, as Israeli occupying forces have demolished hundreds of homes, cut water and electricity lines, and left over 2,000 Palestinian refugees homeless.� In a chilling development, Israeli forces have demolished houses in which the residents who have not been given warning were still inside.� Scores of Palestinians have been killed during the last two weeks, including the killing of 8 Palestinians and injuring of 41 others during a peaceful demonstration on 19 May 2004. 

Seven children killed and one boy used as human shield by Israeli forces

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by Defence for Children International - Palestine section and Al-Haq of the unlawful killing of seven children, the youngest of which was 4 years old, and the beating and use of a 13 year old boy as a human shield. OMCT expresses its grave concern over these events. The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your urgent intervention and asks you to write to the Israeli authorities urging them to order a thorough and impartial investigation, in order to identify those responsible, bring them to trial and guarantee adequate reparation to the victims. 

Conditions and challenges experienced by human rights defenders

From November 17-23, 2003, a delegation of three representatives of Forefront, the World Organisation Against Torture and the International Federation for Human Rights, visited Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Their findings show how complex, challenging and risky the work of human rights NGOs is in such an environment where all human rights are at risk, and the extent to which human rights defenders themselves may be exposed to violations of their human rights. 

Israeli army kills and wounds anti-Wall demonstrators

Habitat International Coalition and OMCT call for intervention in the killing of four persons who were protesting against the construction of the Separation Wall in Buddu. The organisations urge the authorities in Israel to desist from using excessive and lethal force against protestors or communities affected by the wall, to immediately investigate the circumstances of these events, identify those responsible and bring them before a competent and impartial civil tribunal. 

Five refuseniks sentenced to one year imprisonment

The Israeli Military court in Jaffa pronounced the sentence of one year imprisonment against five Israeli conscientious objectors. Noam Bahat, Adam Maor, Haggai Matar, Shinri Tsameret and Matan Kaminer, who are among more than 300 high school seniors, who refuse to serve in military forces involved in the occupation of Palestinian Territories are considered as “selective conscientious objectors”, as they refuse to join an army of occupation. They have already been detained over a year for refusing to serve. 

The detention of the refuseniks is arbitrary says the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

In its final opinion the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention stated that although at present time the rejection by a state of the right to conscientious objection cannot be considered incompatible with international law, the repeated penalties imposed on Matan Kaminer, Adam Maor, Noam Bahat and Jonathan Ben Artzi were arbitrary. The UN Working Group stated that the repeated penalties for the disobedience to serve in the military are not compatible with international law. 

Trial of conscientious objector Jonathan Ben Artzi

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of their joint programme the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, would like to draw the attention on the case of Jonathan Ben Artzi, a 20-year old Israeli student, who is facing trial in his own country for having repeatedly refused to serve in the Israeli army.