On Tuesday, 7 February 2017, the Israeli Supreme Court upheld a request from the Israeli prosecution to increase the prison sentence of Al Mezan’s client—Palestinian prisoner, Jihad Khalid Abu Hadaid, 28—from six years of imprisonment to eight. The change in sentencing reflected the 14 January 2016 appeal submitted by the Israeli public prosecution against the 30 November 2015 ruling. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns the increase in prison term in a case built on the torture of the defendant, and calls on the international community to intervene.
On 25 July 2014, during Israel’s bombardment on the Gaza Strip codenamed “Operation Protective Edge”, the Israeli forces launched a ground invasion into the area of Al Fukhari, Khan Younis, and arrested Abu Hadaid, among others. In his affidavit to Al Mezan, Abu Hadaid described the use of torture and other cruel and degrading treatment during his arrest and interrogation by Israeli security forces and authorities. Abu Hadaid stated that he was beaten; forced to sit in direct sunlight for several hours; during interrogation his hands were cuffed from behind while he was seated in a “stress position” on a small chair; he was verbally abused; and he was kept in solidarity confinement for several days. In one verbal threat, Abu Hadaid was told by Israeli authorities that his house would be attacked; his home was later attacked by the Israeli air force. Abu Hadaid was prevented from meeting with a lawyer for 21 days after arrest.
Al Mezan asserts that the level of coercion used against Abu Hadaid results in a forced confession, which must not be used as evidence in court. A confession obtained under means of torture, including enhanced interrogation techniques, or other forms of duress is considered a forced confession under international law. The ruling issued by the High Court is dependent on a confession by torture and, as a serious miscarriage of justice, amounts to a serious violation of international law and blatant disregard for justice principles. The ruling violates article (5) of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, article (10) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article (14) of the International Covenant on Civilian and Political Rights, articles (11,12,13, and 14) of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners relating to the conditions in which Abu Hadaid is kept, and the Convention against Torture relating to the absolute prohibition on torture and ill-treatment.
Al Mezan calls on the international community to uphold its moral and legal obligations toward Palestinian prisoners and detainees held by Israel and to exert pressure on Israel to respect international law, in particular the absolute prohibition on torture and ill-treatment and the principles of justice.