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News :: Human Rights
Israel's Gag Order On Abnaa elBalad Members Lifted
06 Mar 2004
What is Abnaa elBalad? Harakat Abnaa elBalad (Sons of the Country Movement) is a Palestinian Progressive Patriotic movement active within the areas that are occupied by Israel since 1948. The movement started in 1969 as part of the rising of palestinian resistance. After the mass strike and demonstrations of The Day of the Land (30.3.76) it converged from local cultural clubs and students' groups to a country-wide political movement.
Abnaa elBalad calls for the return of all Palestinian refugees, and end to the Israeli occupation and the Zionist appartheid, and the establishment of a democratic secular Palestine.
4 March 2004

Gag Order Imposed on the Prolonged Detention of Four Abna al-Balad
Political Activists Lifted
Adalah: The GSS and the Police Violated the Detainees' Basic Rights during Interrogation
Today, 4 March 2004, the gag order placed on the month-long detention of four members of the extra-parliamentary political movement, Abna al-Balad, was lifted. Mr. Mohammed Kannaneh, the General Secretary of Abna al-Balad, and Mr. Majed Kannaneh, both from Arabeh, were indicted today before the Haifa District Court for alleged security offenses. The Court has extended their detention until 9 March 2004. Two other Abna al-Balad political activists have been released without charge: Mr. Malek Abu-Ali from Sakhnin was released today, and Ms. Sahar Abdu from Haifa was released on 29 February 2004.
The four Abna al-Balad political activists, all Arab citizens of Israel, had been detained without charge, subjected to intensive interrogation by the General Security Service (GSS), and prevented from meeting with their families or with their attorneys since their arrest. At the request of the GSS, Acre Magistrate Court Judge Shimon Sher issued a total gag order on the cases, preventing the publication of any details about their arrest or detention.
Mr. Mohammed Kannaneh, Mr. Majed Kannaneh, and Ms. Abdu were arrested by the police on 7 February 2004, followed by the 12 February 2004 arrest of Mr. Abu-Ali. The police conducted violent and sweeping searches of their homes, as well as of the Abna al-Balad offices in Haifa and Arabeh. During the search of Mr. Mohammed Kannaneh's home, the police beat his son, wife, and mother. Police searches of the Abna al-Balad offices included throwing books and other publications on the floor and pouring oil and bleach over them, tearing posters from the walls, and writing offensive statements on various items in the office. One of the police officers that searched the Haifa offices stated to an Abna al-Balad movement member who was also present, that if it were up to him, he would “put a bullet in your [his] head right now.”
Adalah Attorneys Orna Kohn and Abeer Baker as well as private lawyers Wakim Wakim, Moanis Khoury, Salim Wakim and Ibrahim Kannaneh have represented the political activists since their arrest, appearing before the Magistrate Court, District Court, and Supreme Court of Israel almost twenty times. At these hearings, the attorneys attempted to secure the political activists' release from detention, to obtain information about the conditions of their detention, and to try to lift the orders prohibiting meetings with counsel and publication about the cases. The only information provided by the GSS to the attorneys were the penal code provisions relating to various security offenses allegedly violated by the political activists; notably, this information must be disclosed with every request for the extension of detention. The Abna al-Balad movement members were prevented from meeting with their attorneys for 18-21 days.
During the court hearings held over the last month, the attorneys argued that the GSS severely violated the political activists' basic rights, especially during the interrogations. The unreasonably, lengthy prohibition on meeting with lawyers and receiving legal counsel violated their right to representation. The methods utilized by the GSS during the questioning of the political activists included tying them to their chairs; depriving them of sleep; failing to give one of them essential medical treatment, when needed; preventing them from bathing for long periods of time; and providing them with inaccurate, misleading information about their basic legal rights. These GSS actions violated the political activists' rights to due process, life, privacy, and dignity. In addition, the GSS and the police refused to reveal the location of one of the political activists during his detention. Only after appealing to the Supreme Court did the Attorney General's Office inform the attorneys about where he was being held.
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