Date of Birth: 10 March 1981
Place of Residence: Bethlehem
Occupation: University student majoring in Social Work. Part-time taxi driver.
Place of detention: Ofer Prison
Date of arrest: 30 July 2008
Date of release: UNCERTAIN
“Despite the humiliation and suffering, we still have to go and see him. He is my son and I look forward to seeing him. When we come to prison, we are held in a narrow room and searched in a demeaning and humiliating manner. There are 40 prisoners in the visiting room and maybe 120 family members. The glass partition prevents direct communication, so we talk on the phone. One time, the telephone was out of order so we communicated together using hand signals” – Ghassan Zawahreh’s mother
Ghassan was arrested on 30 July 2008 when he was summoned to meet the Israeli security agency (ISA) at Atsiyon Detention Center. He was placed under a six-month administrative detention period until 29 January 2009 when the order was renewed. The appeal against the administrative detention order was rejected on 7 September 2008. Ghassan was transferred to Ofer Detention Center after spending 18 days in Atsiyon Detention Center.
This is not the first time that Ghassan has been detained. Previously, he has spent 80 months in detention moving between several prisons, such as the Negev, Nafha, Ashqelon, and Shatta. He was only released on 11 July 2007 just to be detained again, merely 19 days later.
A family imprisoned
Ghassan’s family consists of eight family members. His detained brother, Mohammad was in his final year at school when he was arrested. Ghassan’s father has also experienced life in an Israeli prison. In total, he spent eight years behind bars. Ghassan’s 18-year-old brother, Mohammad is currently detained and is awaiting his trial. After being interrogated at the Moskobiyya detention centre in West Jerusalem, Mohammad was transferred to Ofer where he is currently held together with Ghassan.
His 17-year-old brother, Hamdan, is a school student in the eleventh grade. Ghassan’s 22-year-old sister, Ahlam, is a university student, majoring in social work. His 22-year-old brother, Mu’taz, works in a hotel in Bethlehem, and his 14-year-old brother, Ahmad, is a school student in the seventh grade.
Only Ghassan’s mother and sister are allowed to visit him in prison. His father is denied visits due to “security reasons”. His brother, Hamdan, visited him only once. After that visit Hamdan promised never to make the journey again because of the utter humiliation he was exposed to. Shortly before he was arrested Ghassan got engaged. He had been preparing for his wedding during the days prior to his arrest. Life has been especially difficulty for his fiancée as she is denied a visit permit by the Israeli authorities.
Following his release in 2007, Ghassan registered in the Al-Quds Open University to take a programme in Social Work. Needless to say, his university education is now suspended. In his free time Ghassan works as a taxi driver. To help support the family, he obtained a public driving license and drives, using his father’s car, passengers on the Bethlehem - Ramallah road.
Three months before he was arrested, Ghassan endured a surgical operation in his leg. He had continued to suffer from impairments in his leg when he was arrested. In addition, Ghassan endures an eye trauma that affects his vision.