Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

Adalah updates on Makhoul and Said, and on torture methods used against Makhoul

27 May 2010

Gag order lifted, Adalah releases updates  on Makhoul and Said, and on torture methods used against Makhoul

Adalah’s Press Release

News Update
27 May 2010

Ameer Makhoul and Omar Saeed Vehemently Deny  Charges against Them

Adalah: “Trumped-up accusations made in  indictments have become alarmingly common practice in security cases in  Israel. They aim to justify the complete isolation and use of illegal  methods of interrogation against detainees, and the imposition of gag  orders on their cases.”

(Haifa, Israel) Today, Thursday, 27 May 2010, the  Israeli State Prosecutor
will submit indictments against Dr. Omar  Saeed, a political activist who
also runs a leading company in natural  medicine, and Mr. Ameer Makhoul, the
Director of the Arab NGO network,  “Ittijah” and a human rights defender.

The indictment against Dr. Omar Saeed is being  filed before the Nazareth
District Court and includes the alleged  offenses of contact with a foreign
agent and the delivery of information  to an enemy. The indictment against
Mr. Ameer Makhoul will be submitted  before the Haifa District Court.
Makhoul is being accused of the  charges of assistance to the enemy in a
time of war, conspiracy to  assist an enemy, aggravated espionage, and
contact with a foreign agent.   Dr. Saeed and Mr. Makhoul have both informed
their attorneys that they  vehemently deny these charges.

The arrests and interrogations of Dr. Saeed and Mr.  Makhoul were conducted
in gross violation of their fundamental rights  to due process. Moreover,
total gag orders were immediately imposed on  the cases, which prevented
disclosure of the illegal acts committed  against them by the General
Security Services (GSS or Shabak).

Dr. Saeed was arrested on 24 April 2010. He  provided a clear statement to
his interrogators that he had never acted  on behalf of the Hezbollah, and
that his political activities were legal  and transparent. Dr. Saeed was
allowed to meet his attorneys for the  first time only on 10 May 2010,
sixteen days after his arrest and  detention, due to a court order depriving
him of any access to legal  counsel. He was interrogated for prolonged
stretches of time and allowed  a very limited amount of sleep.

Mr. Makhoul was arrested at his home in Haifa on 6 May 2010 at 3:10 am. He
was immediately held in isolation and prevented from meeting his  lawyers
for twelve days following his arrest. During this period he was  subjected
to harsh interrogation methods by the GSS. Mr. MakhoulPetakh Tikvah that
severe interrogation  methods had been used against him, which had caused
him both  psychological and physical harm, and as a result of which he had
admitted under duress to false allegations made by the GSS interrogators
regarding acts he did not commit. stated  before the Magistrates’ Court in

The illegal methods employed against Ameer Makhoul during the initial  days
of his interrogation include protracted sleep deprivation and  continuous
interrogation, while being shackled tightly to an under-sized  chair that
was bolted to the floor to prevent it from moving. His hands  were cuffed to
the back of the chair in a way that stretched his arms  and shoulders
sharply backward. His legs were folded backwards flanking  the chair, with
his knees turned toward the floor. When, after hours of  being bound in this
stress position while under intense interrogation,  Makhoul complained of
being in excruciating pain, the GSS interrogators  proceeded to cuff his
legs to the chair. They also threatened that he  would be permanently
crippled from the interrogation.

Mr. Makhoul’s legal defense team, consisting of Attorney Hussein Abu
Hussein and Adalah Attorneys Orna Kohn and Hassan Jabareen, has not been
able to discuss the illegal interrogation methods to date due to the
court-imposed gag order on the case.  Until 26 May 2010, repeated  requests
submitted by Adalah and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel for  access to
Mr. Makhoul’s medical reports and for an independent doctor to  be permitted
to examine him were all denied. Following the submission  of a petition to
the District Court, Mr. Makhoul’s medical records will  be released, and an
independent doctor will visit Mr. Makhoul shortly  once he is transferred
from the GSS detention center.

Adalah is gravely concerned over the severe infringements of the rights  of
Dr. Saeed and Mr. Makhoul, which stand in violation of Israeli and
international law. On the issue of safeguards against the torture and
ill-treatment for detainees, the UN Committee Against Torture, in its
Concluding Observations on Israel of 2009 (para. 15), emphasized that,
“detainees should have prompt access to a lawyer, an independent doctor  and
family member, these are important means for the protection of  suspects,
offering added safeguards against torture and ill-treatment  for detainees,
and should be guaranteed to persons accused of security  offenses.”

For  more information on the cases, see:

The complete IOA coverage of the arrest of Ameer Makhoul and Omar Said

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