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, in line with legal professionals.
The 4 prisoners appeared individually on Saturday earlier than the Israeli Magistrate Court in Nazareth, which agreed to increase their detention till September 19 to “complete the investigation”, in line with an announcement from the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Commission 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, in the Palestinian village of Shibli-Umm al Ghanam.
Along 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 rest room flooring of their cell that gave them entry to the sewage pipes the place they dug a tunnel by way of the floor that funnelled them just a few metres past the jail wall.
Israeli forces launched an unlimited manhunt to seek for the six males, discovering the first pair 5 days later.
At the courtroom listening to on Saturday, in line with the PA fee, a number of preliminary prices have been introduced in opposition to the rearrested prisoners: “Escape, aiding and abetting in an escape, conspiracy to commit an attack, and membership in a hostile organisation and providing services to it.”
Khaled Mahajneh, the lawyer for a number of of the prisoners on behalf of the fee, mentioned authorities refused to offer info surrounding the “conspiring to commit an attack” allegation.
“I asked the interrogation officer in court what they’re basing this claim on, but we got no answers. They said it is a secret file. We have no idea where that claim came from, or what it has to do with the escape from prison,” he informed Al Jazeera.
Trial proceedings might final no less than a yr, mentioned Mahajneh. While an official indictment has not but been introduced, he mentioned his staff expects the prisoners might face a further 4 to 5 years on their sentences primarily based on the preliminary prices.
Before 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. Those sentenced have been convicted of finishing up assaults in opposition to Israeli navy and civilian targets between 1996 and 2006. Five 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.
Under worldwide regulation, a prisoner of struggle who escapes from jail “shall be liable only to a disciplinary punishment”, which means that no extra years must 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, in line with legal professionals.
On Saturday, a spokesman for Hamas, the Palestinian group that guidelines the besieged Gaza Strip, mentioned in a televised assertion it will place the six prisoners at the high of any future prisoner alternate cope with Israel.
The 4 prisoners are being held at the Jalama Interrogation Facility close to Haifa and, in line with their legal professionals, have undergone interrogation by the Israeli intelligence providers and the Lahav 443 unit of the police. The interrogation interval might final for as much as 45 days, legal professionals mentioned, throughout which era they are going to stay at the Jalama facility.
The prisoners have been banned from accessing their legal professionals underneath an order from the Israeli intelligence providers efficient till September 14, and which is more likely to be renewed, in line with Mahajneh. Due to the ban, the legal professionals haven’t been capable of converse to the prisoners and have little details about the nature of the interrogations and potential violations being carried out in opposition to the prisoners.
In related high-profile circumstances that Israel has categorized as security-related, detainees might be blocked entry to a lawyer for as much as 21 days. The prisoners’ legal professionals have submitted an enchantment in opposition to the ban that will likely be heard in courtroom on Monday.
Mahajneh mentioned that the info blackout, and the lack of restrictions on interrogators, is trigger for fear. “I think the intelligence services will do everything – all that they have and haven’t done before – to obtain information from the prisoners.”
He mentioned authorities are anticipated to be utilizing “ugly tactics” 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.
While the Israeli Supreme Court outlawed the use of torture in 1999, interrogators – notably the intelligence providers – have continued to make use of violence in opposition to Palestinian detainees, which courts have retroactively sanctioned.
Zubaidi, one among the prisoners, appeared in courtroom with extreme bruising on his face. According to native media, Israeli forces beat him throughout his arrest, and he was transferred to a hospital early on Sunday for remedy.
Mahajneh mentioned Israeli jail authorities claimed to be making ready fortified solitary cells throughout the nation’s southern prisons for the 4 prisoners. Detention centres in the south are infamous for being badly maintained, and are notably troublesome throughout the winter and summer time seasons due to the lack of air flow and heating.
Sahar Francis, a lawyer and director of the Ramallah-based Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, informed Al Jazeera she expects the prisoners will likely be put in whole solitary confinement, together with a ban on household visits and restrictions on lawyer entry.
Francis mentioned Palestinian prisoners are often allowed between three to 4 hours in the jail yard throughout the day however expects the prisoners will “only be allowed one hour a day in the yard, and they will be alone”.
“They won’t be allowed to mix with the other prisoners. They’ll be completely isolated from the world. They may get a visit from their lawyer or from a Red Cross representative, but that’s it,” mentioned Francis.
She added the prisoners will likely be shackled from their legs, and presumably from their arms too, throughout their hour in the yard.
Khaled Zabarqa, a lawyer and human rights defender who represents Palestinian political prisoners, described solitary confinement as “the most difficult punishment that can be imposed on a prisoner”.
He informed Al Jazeera he believes Israeli forces are more likely to launch an arrest marketing campaign in the coming weeks in opposition to people suspected of getting aided the prisoners.
“They will take anyone who provided the prisoners with food, shelter, or any other help,” he mentioned.