Hiba update

Khaled Budeir, + 972 599 29 4988 (international calls), 0599 29 4988 (national calls), email:Budeir@hotmail.com

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADear 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 (7) and Yara (5) to play in the park, to bake cakes for family and friends. She enjoys doing the traditional embroidery that Palestinian women are famous for, going 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:

Dear Friends,

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.

Regards,

Khaled Budeir

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

Israel

Fax: +972 3 608 0366; +972 3 569 4526

Email: arbel@mail.idf.il; avimn@idf.gov.il

Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi

OC Central Command Nehemia Base, Central Command

NevehYaacov, Jerusalam

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

Tel: 972-3-5692010

Fax: +972 3 691 6940 / 696 2757

Email: minister@mod.gov.il

Col. Doren Ben Barak

Legal Advisor of Judea and Samaria

PO Box 5

Beth El 90631

Fax: +972 2 9977341

Tel: +972-2-997-7071

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.

Warm regards,

Trisha

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 had 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. 

 

9 April 2013—Khaled has been in touch with many organizations. I know the Red Cross, Hamoked, and the Women’s Prisoner Society have helped. I think there are two lawyers helping her, maybe three. I know Khaled has been in touch with a man lawyer who saw Hiba in Askalon on Saturday night. I don’t know his name. He has also been talking with two woman lawyers one whose name is Ahlamo–don’t know the rest of her name– and with Tagmeed Jahshan (spelling?). Two activist groups were able to see the conditions she was being kept in at Ashkelon (solitary confinement and the only woman there) and got her moved to the woman’s prison.

Yesterday they brought her to the military court in Ofer. Intelligence is charging her with being in the presence of activists when she visited her family in the fall (she was there when the bombing began in November). Supposedly they are trying to get her father. They have been calling her family in Gaza almost every 2 hours since they arrested her, threatening to hurt her if her father doesn’t turn himself in (as far we all know, he also has done nothing wrong and he is ill). They have also tried to manipulate Hiba 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 won’t let her take the 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.

When they brought her into the courtroom yesterday, 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 women everywhere are writing letters to support her. That knowledge helped her more than anything. It has given her hope.

The judge told the intelligence lawyer (officer?) that he doesn’t have a good case, and unless he can provide sound evidence, he will release her.

29 April 2013—Hiba is still in prison. Her next hearing is May 20th. My understanding is that at the last hearing it came out that Hiba’s father, a former guard for Arafat, belongs to a Fatah activism group (non violent). When Hiba visited her family in Gaza last fall (she was there in November when Israel started bombing), her father tried to coerce her into asking people in the West Bank to join the group. She refused at first because she is not political and didn’t want to be involved in anything. Eventually her father and another man talked her into doing this. Her family is Bedouin and the society is patriarchal-women don’t have a voice, and it is very difficult for a Bedouin woman to refuse her father’s command. Her father’s friend taught her how to create a secure internet connection, set up an email account for her, and gave her a flash drive. I think the flash drive was used to secure the connection. When she returned home, she logged into the email account and received a warning that it was under surveillance. She shut it down and destroyed the flash drive. She didn’t tell her husband about any of this. The Shabbat traced the connection to her computer and now she is in jail. Hiba didn’t do anything illegal or threatening. I feel she is a pawn in this game. Now I’m trying to raise money for the lawyers’ fees and for Khaled to give her to buy food in the prison. The food that they feed the prisoners is substandard and they have to purchase their own food from the canteen if they want decent food. The whole occupation is a huge moneymaking scheme for the Israelis.

Yesterday I went with Khaled to meet Hannah and Sylvia from Machsom Watch. They told us that Hiba’s lawyer should contact the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel as the IDF’s treatment of her is considered torture by international law. We were also advised to contact Physicians for Human Rights to ask their help (which Khaled and I both did, but neither of us received a response). As I mentioned in the call to action letter, Hiba’s health is bad. The prison doctors took away her medicine and gave her different medicine, which made her more ill.

2 June 2013—Hiba has been in prison for two months now. She had another hearing on May 20 and the next is scheduled for June 25.  The first judge she saw felt security did not have a strong case against her; successive judges have been harsher even though they still do not have a real case against her.

In the meantime, Khaled’s permit to go into Israel has been revoked and he has been blacklisted. Hiba is being held in an Israeli prison in Haifa. Because of Israel’s strict restrictions on who can visit prisoners, Hiba is allowed no visitors. All her immediate family is in Gaza. No one from Khaled’s family is allowed to visit her—only Khaled, who has been blacklisted, and her daughters who cannot visit the prison without their father. It is a crime to keep her children and husband from visiting her.

Khaled Budeir, + 972 599 29 4988 (international calls), 0599 29 4988 (national calls), email:Budeir@hotmail.com

Trisha Terwilliger,  +972 568 26 8876, email: innerscapes@downeast.net

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Comments
2 Responses to “Hiba update”
  1. I write on Feb , 2015 concerning this story from 2013. What happened to Hiba Budeir? . . . to her husband . . . her children? Thanks for any update you can provide.

    • bapagrama says:

      Hello Richard,

      Thank you for checking up on Hiba and her family. Hiba was finally released on August 12 (I think), 2013. Khaled and Hiba had a baby girl, Farah, last summer. Malak and Yara are doing well now that they have their mother back. Hiba is still suffering from health problems, though she is much better.

      Warm regards,
      Trisha

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