Women Political Prisoners in Israel
Women’s Organization for Political Prisoners (WOFPP)
P.O. Box 31811, Tel Aviv
Tel and Fax: +972-3-5227124
Newsletter January 2005
There are at present about 90 women in Hasharon Prison, after another 30 women were transferred from Neve Tirza at end of November 2004.
In the wake of the incidents at the end of November 2004, the women had to remain without electricity in their rooms for ten days. The electrical appliances that were confiscated have been returned in mid-January. Manal Ghanem, the mother of Noor, received a room heater after three weeks but the hotplate was only given back with the rest of the electrical appliances, which means that Noor had been without heating for three weeks and without hot food and drink for six weeks. During this whole period the baby was sick.
Following the list of the punishments meted out after the incidents of November:
Names: Period of visit refusal: Fine:
Fyrouz Merahi 6 months NIS 470
Su’ad Ghazal 2 470 + 100
Aisha Abaiyat 2 470
Abeer Nada’a 3 470
Asmah Hasin 3 470
Tehani Khaleil 3 470
Rab’a Hamayel 3 470
Amne Mouna 2 470 + 200
Ferial Ja’ara 2 470
Sana’a Omer 3 470
Arin Ahmed 2 470 and no letters
Manal Ghanem 3 470
Suna Beni ‘Uda 2 200
Nasreen Abu Zina 3 200
Su’ad Abu Hamed 1 200
Maysoun Abu A’ishah 2 470
Nariman Hesis 2 350
Hawla Hashash 2 350
Iman ‘Azawi 2 470
Do’a Aljiusi 3 470
Hala Jaber 2 470
(US$ 1.— = NIS 4.40
The electrical heaters that the women who are transferred bring with them from Neve Tirza do not fit the electric system in Hasharon Prison. This is particularly hard for Wael, the baby of Marvat Taha.
The women from Neve Tirza have to buy new heaters in the Hasharon prison canteen.
Toys for the two toddlers are not permitted to be brought to the prison, either by the families or the Red Cross.
Searches: When searches are undertaken in the rooms, which happens arbitrarily, and a woman refuses a body search, the wardens threaten to take her to the courtyard and there undertake a body search in the nude.
The waiting rooms where the prisoners wait to be taken to court or to meet the lawyer are tiny 1 x 1 meter. During waiting time that may last hours they are not allowed access to the toilet. Sometimes there are chairs, at other times they have to stand while waiting.
Ahlas Al Sa’ud cannot meet her son who is also imprisoned in Hasharon.
Su’ad Ghazal’s release is supposed to take place in February after six years in prison.
One day, when she was still in Neve Tirza about 1 1/2 years ago, a warden tried to handcuff her for some purpose or other. She resisted and was severely beaten and injured in one eye, which caused her to lose sight in that eye for 20 days. She lodged a complaint against the warden. Two months ago she was informed that there was a complaint against her for attacking the warden. She had to appear in court at the beginning of December and has to go to court again at the end of February.
Suna Rhai who was sentenced to 12 years in 1997 requested to be released early, but in November her request was rejected by the Parole Board.
Marvat Taha’s baby Wael is going to be two years old. At that age the toddlers are handed over to the relatives of the prisoner. In November she requested to be released with the baby. The Parole Board rejected her request. She appealed to the Tel Aviv District Court about this rejection. The hearing was set for 17 January. As there were no arrangements made for her to take the baby with her to court, she refused to appear. The judge ordered proper arrangements to be made for her next hearing which will take place on 31 January.
NEVE TIRZA PRISON
There are now 30 women prisoners in Neve Tirza Prison, five in each room, after another 30 women were transferred to Hasharon Prison at the end of November 2004.
The three representatives of the prisoners met the director of their wing and discussed the following issues:
· The covering over the courtyard to protect from the rain in winter and from the sun in summer. At present they cannot go outside when the heavy winter rains pour down.
· The representatives asked that all three of them be permitted to be present at the meetings with the prison authorities, and not just one of them.
· Permission to bring clothing: Quite often, when the families bring the clothes that have been authorized, the women do not receive them. Also, new clothing can be brought only once every two months.
· Permission to hand over all the handicraft to the family of the woman who has made them. Until now they could only hand over embroidery, and only one piece at a time.
· Permission to meet the representatives of the male political prisoners in nearby Ramle prison. This request was denied on the spot.
· Permission to visit each other in the rooms, something which is allowed in other prisons where political prisoners are held.
They were told that their requests will be forwarded to the prison authorities, and they will get the answers from the prison director.
Dental care: A prisoner is allowed to bring a dentist from outside, but the dentist is permitted to treat only the one patient at this particular visit. No dentist would be prepared to come all the way with all the equipment in order to treat one single patient.
Body searches: Each time a prisoner has to go to court, she has to submit to a body search in the nude when going out and when coming back.
Studies: Theoretically, the prisoners are allowed to undertake academic studies, but in practice the prison authorities put so many obstacles in their way that at this moment none of the prisoners avails herself of the possibility to study. – Matriculation exams are permitted, but they can receive books for their studies only from their families or the Red Cross. Contrary to conditions in criminal cases, they do not have access to teachers. A number of the young women learn together when they meet in the courtyard for their daily walk.
Photographs, handicrafts: Once every half year they are allowed to be photographed, and once every two months the families are allowed to bring material for handicrafts.
Iman Abu Husa was allowed to be photographed with her parents because they are over 60 years old, but Iman and the parents could not avail themselves of the prison’s permission because the parents do not have a permit to enter Israel.
Families who have no permit to enter Israel and therefore cannot bring clothes to their relative in prison, can have clothing and letters brought by the Red Cross. The Red Cross comes to the prison at the most four times a year.
Ne’ima Nahle suffers from diabetes and has to receive insulin injections twice daily. She also suffers from mental problems and had been hospitalized in a mental hospital in Bethlehem. She was arrested after she had left the hospital. But she is still in a very bad state. She disturbs the other women by shouting and singing day and night. She is helpless in many ways, and the women have to take care of her, feed her, even wash her, which is particularly difficult because she also suffers from obesity. Therefore she changes room every month in order to make it easy for the women.
The information about the Prisons Hasharon and Neve Tirza is based on reports by the WOFPP lawyer Taghrid Jahshan.
Tali Fahima. On Sunday, 26 December 2004, Tali Fahima was indicted in a Tel Aviv District Court on the following charges: “Assisting an enemy in wartime; passing information to the enemy and for the latter’s benefit; contact with a foreign agent; illegal handling of a weapon; supporting a terrorist organization; violating a legal order.”
Tali Fahima’s trial began on Tuesday, January 11, with a procedural hearing in which the judge stunned those present by asking whether the prosecution intended to seek the death penalty. One of the charges brought against Tali Fahima – “aiding and abetting an enemy in wartime” – may be punishable by death. In the event the prosecution seeks the death penalty, the hearing would have to be brought before a High Court justice. It is practically unheard of – even in the Israeli legal system – for a judge to ask such a question so bluntly in the presence of the public, the press and the accused herself, thereby fueling the fire of public incitement against Tali Fahima.
There was a new hearing on 19 January. The defense pleaded that there had been no evidence and for this reason she was not put on trial but put into administrative detention, and no new evidence has been presented since. The accusation maintains that they cannot reveal their secret material, but that new evidence justifies her being put on trial. The judge will give the decision on 30 January on what issues the trial will be based.