Date of birth:
23 September 1986
Place of residence: Hebron
Occupation: Restaurant worker
Marital Status: Single
Date of arrest by Palestinian Authority: 15 September 2008
Date of release from Palestinian Authority prison: 6 January 2011
Date of arrest by Israeli Occupation Forces: 7 January 2011
Place of detention: Ofer Prison
Number of administrative detention orders to date: 2
Expected end of current administrative detention order: 6 January 2012
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ARREST BY ISRAELI OCCUPYING FORCES
Ahmad Al-Ewewi was arrested along with four other Palestinian men in the early morning hours of 7 January 2011, during coordinated Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) arrest raids in Hebron. During the course of the operation, the IOF also killed one of the men’s 66-year-old uncle, Omar Salim Al-Qawasmeh, shooting him numerous times in his bed in an apparent case of mistaken identity. The five men had been released from a Palestinian Authority (PA) prison just one day earlier on 6 January 2011, after spending between 27 and 30 months imprisoned without charges, with Ahmad himself spending 28 months in prison. In November 2010, Ahmad and the other men had started a hunger strike to protest their continued detention despite nearly one-year-old standing orders from the Palestinian High Court of Justice to release them for lack of sufficient evidence against them. Although the court’s decisions were issued in January and February 2010 for the five men, it was not until 6 January 2011, after a direct order from President Mahmoud Abbas and weeks of pressure from Palestinian human rights organizations, as well as international and grassroots efforts that the Palestinian General Intelligence Service finally agreed to release them. By that date, Ahmad’s hunger strike had lasted 44 consecutive days.
On the night of his release, the IOF arrived at Ahmad’s house at 3:00 a.m. to arrest him. A large number of soldiers exploded the door of Ahmad’s building, which belongs to his uncle, and came across Ahmad’s cousin, Kareem. The soldiers held him by the neck while demanding that he call to Ahmad upstairs. After hearing Kareem calling, Ahmad’s father got up to open the door while his mother and sister tried to hold Ahmad up, as he was still too weak from the hunger strike to stand on his own.
The soldiers entered the apartment, some of them holding Kareem at gunpoint while others aimed their guns at Ahmad. They ordered his mother and sister to move away from him and demanded that he take off all his clothes. After he had done so, the soldiers ordered him to put them back on again and come over to them. Ahmad was so exhausted that he could not walk, and was forced to crawl on his hands and knees towards the soldiers. When he got near them, they began to beat and kick him all over his body, and his knees buckled from under him. They continued to beat him as he was lying on the ground for another five minutes, while other soldiers confined his family to another room in the apartment. The soldiers then took Ahmad and held him in his cousin’s apartment for one hour while waiting for their captain to come. When he arrived, the captain told Ahmad that he was being arrested, and after being blindfolded and handcuffed, he was taken to an unknown location, where he was held in a military jeep for approximately eight hours.
Eventually, the Nahshon Unit, a special escort and intervention unit of the Israeli Prison Service known for its brutality towards prisoners, came to transfer Ahmad to Ramleh Prison Hospital, beating him and pulling his hair during the trip. When he arrived at the hospital, he was given only routine tests for blood pressure and diabetes despite his weakened state. After three days, he was transferred to Ofer Prison.
At Ofer, Ahmad’s interrogators claimed they were in possession of five confessions incriminating him for allegedly helping a fugitive. Ahmad denied all the charges and refused to sign the papers laid out before him. Subsequently, he was forced to give his fingerprints and to take a DNA test. He was interrogated only one more time following his original interrogation.
Ahmad received an administrative detention order on 18 January 2011, which was confirmed by the military court on 23 January 2011 for a period of six months. On 7 July 2011, the administrative detention was renewed for another period of six months and it is due to expire on the 6 January 2012.
As with all other administrative detainees, Ahmad’s file remains secret, available to the military judge but not to Ahmad or his lawyer. This practice violates international human rights law, which permits some limited use of administrative detention in emergency situations, but requires that the authorities follow basic rules for detention, including a fair hearing at which the detainee can challenge the reasons for his or her detention. These minimum rules of due process have been clearly violated in Ahmad’s case, leaving him without any legitimate means to defend himself. Despite the lack of publicly available evidence, the review hearings in Ahmad’s case and his history of arrests and detentions have exposed further information about his case.
When the administrative detention order was confirmed, Military Judge Shimon Ashoel justified his decision by citing Ahmad’s arrest by the PA and alleged offenses committed before that arrest. Despite using these arguments, Judge Ashoel himself acknowledged that all of the suspicions occurred before his arrest in September 2008 and had never been proven. However, he still confirmed the military commander’s order for the full period requested by the prosecutor. This decision is in direct contravention of the basic regulation for administrative detention by military order, as there was no evidence presented that Ahmad posed a threat to public security. The order also violates Article 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that administrative detention cannot be invoked for an alleged past offense or replace regular criminal court procedures. Noting that the information used against Ahmad was from more than three years prior, it is clear that the military commander arrested Ahmad and issued his administrative detention order as added punishment, and without legal foundation. Judge Ashoel’s decision did not take into consideration that Ahmad had spent three years in prison, during which he could not have done anything to affect public security. If the court wished to charge Ahmad with a past offense, his case would have had to be brought before a regular court, as administrative detention cannot apply to these cases.
Ahmad’s lawyer appealed the administrative detention order on 6 March, but the appeal was rejected.
DETENTION BY THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY AND OTHER PREVIOUS ARRESTS
Ahmad has spent the majority of the past five years in prison. Before his most recent arrest, he was in Israeli prison from 27 September 2006 to 29 October 2007, and then arrested by the PA less than a year later. After being arrested by PA forces on 15 September 2008, Ahmad spent two months in interrogation. During this period, he endured physical and psychological torture at the hands of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service, as he was beaten, deprived of sleep, prevented from using the bathroom, and his arms tied above his head for extended periods. Following his interrogation, Ahmad spent 6 months in the Palestinian Intelligence prison in Hebron. Along with the four other men who had been arrested at the same time, he was then transferred to the Military Intelligence headquarters in Jericho. After the group of five began their hunger strike in November 2010, the Prison Authority responded by transferring them to different prisons.
Ahmad was taken to the Palestinian Intelligence prison in Qalqiliya for one week, before being placed in a hospital due to the deterioration of his health from the hunger strike. He was soon moved to the Palestinian Intelligence prison in Bethlehem, before once again being transferred to a hospital for a period of two weeks. He was then taken back to the Palestinian Intelligence prison in Hebron, and was released one week later, along with the other four men. The same day he was released, he went to Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron for immediate treatment due to his hunger strike. That night, he was arrested by the IOF.
Ahmad’s family consists of his mother, father, seven brothers, and five sisters. Ahmad has a twin brother, Mahmoud, who was arrested on 16 November 2009 and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and with whom he now shares a cell in Ofer Prison. Another of Ahmad’s brothers, Soufan, who is 29 years old, is also currently in Israeli prison. Soufan was arrested on 29 April 2002 and sentenced to two life sentences plus 25 years, which he is currently serving in Ramon Prison.
During his time in the PA prison, Ahmad’s family was permitted to visit him once a week, supervised by guards at all times.Now, Ahmad’s family is not allowed to visit him, but occasionally get permission to visit his brother Mahmoud, although not on a regular basis.