Occupied East Jerusalem – The 4 Palestinian prisoners who have been rearrested after breaking out of an Israeli jail final week are more likely to face extra years on their preliminary sentences in addition to harsh punitive measures, based on legal professionals.
The 4 prisoners appeared individually on Saturday earlier than the Israeli Justice of the Peace Courtroom in Nazareth, which agreed to increase their detention till September 19 to “full the investigation”, based on a press release from the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Fee of Detainees Affairs.
Israeli authorities introduced the rearrest of Mahmoud Abdullah Ardah, 46, and Yaqoub Mahmoud Qadri, 49, on the southern outskirts of Nazareth metropolis late on Friday. Zakaria Zubeidi, 46 and Mohammad Ardah, 39, have been arrested close by early on Saturday, within the Palestinian village of Shibli-Umm al Ghanam.
Together with two others, Ayham Nayef Kamanji, 35, and Munadel Infai’at, 26 – whose whereabouts stay unknown – the six males broke out of Israel’s Gilboa jail at daybreak on September 6.
The prisoners uncovered a slate on the bathroom flooring of their cell that gave them entry to the sewage pipes the place they dug a tunnel by means of the bottom that funnelled them just a few metres past the jail wall.
Israeli forces launched an infinite manhunt to seek for the six males, discovering the primary pair 5 days later.
On the court docket listening to on Saturday, based on the PA fee, a number of preliminary expenses have been offered in opposition to the rearrested prisoners: “Escape, aiding and abetting in an escape, conspiracy to commit an assault, and membership in a hostile organisation and offering companies to it.”
Khaled Mahajneh, the lawyer for a number of of the prisoners on behalf of the fee, stated authorities refused to offer info surrounding the “conspiring to commit an assault” allegation.
“I requested the interrogation officer in court docket what they’re basing this declare on, however we received no solutions. They stated it’s a secret file. We don’t know the place that declare got here from, or what it has to do with the escape from jail,” he advised Al Jazeera.
Trial proceedings might final no less than a 12 months, stated Mahajneh. Whereas an official indictment has not but been offered, he stated his workforce expects the prisoners might face an extra 4 to 5 years on their sentences based mostly on the preliminary expenses.
Earlier than breaking out from jail, 4 of the six prisoners had been serving life sentences, whereas two have been being held in detention awaiting navy trial. These sentenced have been convicted of finishing up assaults in opposition to Israeli navy and civilian targets between 1996 and 2006. 5 of them are affiliated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, whereas one is a senior member of the armed wing of Fatah, a Palestinian group that dominates the PA.
Beneath worldwide legislation, a prisoner of struggle who escapes from jail “shall be liable solely to a disciplinary punishment”, which means that no extra years ought to be added to their preliminary sentence, even when it’s a repeated try.
In earlier incidents the place Palestinian prisoners escaped from Israeli prisons and have been rearrested, a number of confronted punitive measures equivalent to lengthy durations in solitary confinement, however didn’t obtain longer sentences, based on legal professionals.
On Saturday, a spokesman for Hamas, the Palestinian group that guidelines the besieged Gaza Strip, stated in a televised assertion it could place the six prisoners on the prime of any future prisoner alternate take care of Israel.
The 4 prisoners are being held on the Jalama Interrogation Facility close to Haifa and, based on their legal professionals, have undergone interrogation by the Israeli intelligence companies and the Lahav 443 unit of the police. The interrogation interval might final for as much as 45 days, legal professionals stated, throughout which era they are going to stay on the Jalama facility.
The prisoners have been banned from accessing their legal professionals beneath an order from the Israeli intelligence companies efficient till September 14, and which is more likely to be renewed, based on Mahajneh. Because of the ban, the legal professionals haven’t been capable of communicate to the prisoners and have little details about the character of the interrogations and potential violations being carried out in opposition to the prisoners.
In related high-profile instances that Israel has categorized as security-related, detainees could be blocked entry to a lawyer for as much as 21 days. The prisoners’ legal professionals have submitted an attraction in opposition to the ban that can be heard in court docket on Monday.
Mahajneh stated that the knowledge blackout, and the dearth of restrictions on interrogators, is trigger for fear. “I feel the intelligence companies will do the whole lot – all that they’ve and haven’t accomplished earlier than – to acquire info from the prisoners.”
He stated authorities are anticipated to be utilizing “ugly ways” together with lengthy interrogations that exceed 20 consecutive hours, prevention from sleep, offering them with low quantities and dangerous high quality meals, in addition to bodily assault and torture.
Whereas the Israeli Supreme Courtroom outlawed the usage of torture in 1999, interrogators – notably the intelligence companies – have continued to make use of violence in opposition to Palestinian detainees, which courts have retroactively sanctioned.
Zubaidi, one of many prisoners, appeared in court docket with extreme bruising on his face. In accordance with native media, Israeli forces beat him throughout his arrest, and he was transferred to a hospital early on Sunday for therapy.
Mahajneh stated Israeli jail authorities claimed to be making ready fortified solitary cells throughout the nation’s southern prisons for the 4 prisoners. Detention centres within the south are infamous for being badly maintained, and are notably troublesome throughout the winter and summer season seasons due to the dearth of air flow and heating.
Sahar Francis, a lawyer and director of the Ramallah-based Addameer Prisoner Assist and Human Rights Affiliation, advised Al Jazeera she expects the prisoners can be put in whole solitary confinement, together with a ban on household visits and restrictions on lawyer entry.
Francis stated Palestinian prisoners are normally allowed between three to 4 hours within the jail yard throughout the day however expects the prisoners will “solely be allowed one hour a day within the yard, and they are going to be alone”.
“They gained’t be allowed to combine with the opposite prisoners. They’ll be fully remoted from the world. They might get a go to from their lawyer or from a Pink Cross consultant, however that’s it,” stated Francis.
She added the prisoners can be shackled from their legs, and probably from their arms too, throughout their hour within the yard.
Khaled Zabarqa, a lawyer and human rights defender who represents Palestinian political prisoners, described solitary confinement as “essentially the most troublesome punishment that may be imposed on a prisoner”.
He advised Al Jazeera he believes Israeli forces are more likely to launch an arrest marketing campaign within the coming weeks in opposition to people suspected of getting aided the prisoners.
“They’ll take anybody who offered the prisoners with meals, shelter, or some other assist,” he stated.