Urgent action requested-my friend Hiba arrested!
UPDATE 12 April: Hiba is still in prison. She had a closed secret hearing (her lawyer and family were not allowed) last weekend. On Saturday evening 6 April she was finally allowed to see her lawyer. She told him that the Shabak tried to manipulate her through psychological methods–feeding her only coffee and chocolate for 3 days to keep her awake and disoriented, threatening to keep her imprisoned, to exile her to Gaza away from her husband and children, etc. They coerced her to sign a document written in Hebrew (which she doesn’t understand). They won’t let her take her medications given to her by her doctor. They gave her other medication but she had an allergic reaction and now she refuses any of their medications even though she is suffering extreme pain.
She a hearing with both her lawyer and husband present on Monday 8 April at Ofer military court. When they brought her into the courtroom, she was handcuffed and shackled. Khaled said she was dragging heavy chains on her ankles. She was very depressed and feeling very alone and frightened until he told her that her story is all over facebook and that people everywhere are writing letters to support her. That knowledge helped her more than anything. It has given her hope.
Hiba had yet another hearing on Wednesday 10 April. Again, nothing was decided and another hearing is set for this Sunday 14 April.
I met with Khaled yesterday. He is sad and exhausted and worried about his wife. He said she has lost more weight, but her spirits remain buoyed by your support. Malak and Yara cannot be consoled. They miss their mother so much! They still spend most of their awake hours crying for their mom. At night they are awakened by nightmares. This is a terrible and frightening thing for children to be exposed to.
Please, please, please continue writing letters to the contacts below and sharing Hiba’s story. Insha’Allah, with your influence, Hiba will be released.
Dear friends, colleagues, fellow activists, and people of conscience:
Many of you who work for human rights and social justice are probably aware of the actions of the Israeli army in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Every night the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) conduct raids in Palestinian villages and refugee camps even though, as per the Oslo Agreements, the Palestinian Authority is responsible for the security inside the Palestinian cities. Soldiers pound on people’s doors in the middle of the night, rousing them from their beds, waking children at 2 a.m. to photograph them, ransacking homes, arresting family members.
According to successful businessman and activist Sam Bahour, “The routine then goes something like this. Within eight days he [the arrested person] will be brought before an Israeli military ‘judge’ for the sake of processing only, not deliberating. The entire kangaroo court then, without sharing the reason why the Palestinian detainee is being held, flashes the security card to justify not sharing information on why they have acted against a specific individual. Then the court slaps an Administrative Detention Order on the detainee. That means he sits in prison for no reason at all.” (Bahour)
On April 2, the family of my friend Khaled had such a visit. Imagine my horror and surprise when Khaled called to tell me the news! I was even more horrified when Khaled told me that the soldiers had arrested his lovely wife Hiba who is very ill with undiagnosed stomach problems. Hiba is a sweet, very shy young woman. She lives for her family, for taking her daughters Malak and Yara to play in the park, to bake cakes for family and friends. She enjoys doing the traditional embroidery that Palestinian women are famous for, to go shopping with her friends.
Khaled and Hiba have a simple lifestyle that revolves around family and friends.Malak and Yara have never been without their mom. They are traumatized by this situation.
Below is a letter that Khaled wrote describing what happened:
At 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, 2 April 2013, we were surprised to see Israeli soldiers surrounding our house in Beit Jala and knocking loudly on the door. I was shocked when the intelligence captain asked, “Where is Hiba, your wife?”
“My wife, Hiba? Why do you want her? She is a mother to two little girls, Yara who is 5 years old and Malak who is 7 years old. She hasn’t had any problems with the Israel security and her files are clean, she’s a housewife, her life is normal, she doesn’t have any political activities or any doings against the occupation, absolutely she does not belong to any violence groups. She doesn’t even work and she has nothing to do with politics!”I told the captain, “You know that I am a peaceful person who has nothing to do with politics. I’m not an activist and I never will be. All that I care about is my family! I need to tell you that my wife suffers from health issues.”
For the past month I have been trying to get a permission from the Israeli office for my wife to go to Al-Makassed hospital in Jerusalem because she’s sick. She has a lot of pains, hard pains in her stomach. She has lost nearly 10 kilograms of her weight. She’s now just 49, less than 49 kilograms. The doctors we have seen have not been able to diagnose her illness, so we were going to go to the hospital in Jerusalem for more testing.
My wife and I endeavor to teach our daughters the language of peace: love thy neighbor. We teach them that it is important to work to achieve peace. Hiba was shocked when the soldiers said that she had to go with them. She even laughed not believing that this was happening to her!
I will never forget that moment when the soldiers arrested my wife, handcuffing her, and starting to move out of the house with her. I felt paralyzed—unable to give her my hand, unable to defend her. I am her man, her husband completely unable to protect her. At that moment I wished the ground would open to swallow me.
During the arrest the soldiers acted politely. When I told the captain that my daughters were asleep, he asked the soldiers to be quiet so as not to wake them.
In the morning when I woke up my daughters, I told them that their mom had travelled to Jordan to bring them gifts and that she would return soon. They didn’t believe me and began to cry and ask for their mother who usually wakes them up and fixes their breakfast.
At 10 a.m., the Red Cross and Hamoked notified me that Hiba was in Ashkelon investigation center. Since her arrest my wife has not been allowed contact with her family or her lawyer. On Thursday she had a secret closed hearing. Again, she was not allowed legal counsel.
We are a family that believes in peace and creating and strengthening ties with our neighbors. We are simple people. My wife Hiba has never harmed anyone. Please help us to get her released; to send her back
home to her daughters Malak and Yara. Before they went to sleep that awful night, she had promised to take them to the park. Instead she was arrested and I took them to the park to try to ease their crying. My daughters are waiting for their mom. I whisper to them, “Don’t be scared. Your mom will be home soon.”
I am much obliged to you for reading this letter. Please feel free to contact me for more information if needed at: + 972 599 29 4988 (international calls), 0599 29 4988 (national calls) or by email:Budeir@hotmail.com.
We very much appreciate your help.
I ask you to join us in our efforts to free Hiba and all the Palestinian prisoners who are being held without charges. Please consider contacting your local Israeli Embassy (embassy info may be found at http://www.science.co.il/embassy.asp and foreign embassies in Israel at http://www.science.co.il/embassies.asp) and the following offices demanding Hiba’s immediate release. Reference her name, Hiba Bahjat Mahmoud Budeir, and her ID# 801589250. We would appreciate it if you would act quickly as there is another hearing scheduled for Wednesday, 10 April 2013. We hope your letters will influence the hearing. We are also worried about her health. The prison authorities have changed her medication and she is having allergic reactions to the new medicine.
Brigadier General Dani Ephroni
Military Judge Advocate General
6 David Elazar Street
Harkiya, Tel Aviv
Fax: +972 3 608 0366; +972 3 569 4526
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi
OC Central Command Nehemia Base, Central Command
Fax: +972 2 530 5741
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon
Ministry of Defense
37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
Fax: +972 3 691 6940 / 696 2757
Col. Doren Ben Barak
Legal Advisor of Judea and Samaria
PO Box 5
Beth El 90631
Fax: +972 2 9977341
For more information on Administrative Detention see ADDAMEER (Arabic for conscience)Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association at http://www.addameer.org.
Thank you for your support.