Editor’s Note: The following statement was issued today following the police crackdown Friday night on a protest in Haifa against the Israeli massacre in Gaza.
Haifa. Saturday, 19 May 2018.
In light of recent barbaric and inhumane military actions carried out against unarmed protesting Palestinian civilians in Gaza by Israeli forces, culminating in the killing of 106 Palestinians, 15 of whom were children, and injuring more than 12,000 innocent civilians, and with the merciless excessive and unnecessary use of force, such as the use of live ammunition (over 3500 rounds), protests have erupted all over the world and in Israel in solidarity with Gaza and its victims. Amongst the many hotspots, Haifa experienced the highest number of Police brutality cases and arrests of activists and high school students. Demonstrators have been gathering daily to peacefully express their right to protest and stand by the “March of Return” victims. Police have escalated their intervention and use of violence against protesters each day culminating in the mass arrests and brutality witnessed on Friday night.
There is no doubt the Police and Special Forces on site were well equipped and prepared to disrupt the peaceful demonstration in Haifa. On Friday night it did not take long for the Police to barge in and charge the crowd, beating and making sporadic arrests clearly shown on all documented videos and pictures from the scene.
The Police brutality didn’t end here. Many of the detainees, if not all, reports are still incoming, were brutally beaten by the arresting officers while in custody in the Police station and interrogation rooms; moreover, some of the victims were rushed to the Emergency Room (ER) and even hospitalized for serious injuries. Amongst the hospitalized, Jafar Farah, Director of the Mossawa Center, who was rushed to the ER for a broken knee and severe chest and abdomen blunt trauma, following a brutal attack on him by Police officers while in custody.
And here he is, director of Mussawa Center, Ja'far Farah, on his two legs, as police searched for a car to take him to station for over ten minutes.
Talking, walking calmly. Sometime between then and this morning his knee was broken and he was taken to hospital.#Haifa pic.twitter.com/KTR7xLa7d3
— Nadine Nashef (@nanninenashef) May 19, 2018
We, at the Mossawa Center and Civil Society Organizations (signed below), express our deepest concerns and outrage at Police brutality and behavior against civilians, and demand the immediate release of all detainees. We request a full and independent inquiry into the unjustified arrests and the circumstances that led to beating handcuffed protesters while in Police custody.
The right to assembly, protest, and freedom of expression, some of the most basic of human rights, are systematically being suppressed at an alarming rate lately; furthermore, it is the state’s responsibility to protect those rights, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Moreover, if a state cannot protect the most basic of human rights of its citizens, the international community has the duty to intervene and take a firm and decisive stand.
Below is the list of detainees reported:
- Bilal Zidani
- Mahmood Taha
- Said Swidan
- Yoram Bar Chaim
- Jafer Farah
- Naif Shaquor
- Bisan Farah
- Majd Azzam
- Ali Mawassi
- Ammar Abu Qandeel
- Maher Salamy
- Mohammad Kayal
- Majd Kayal
- Anan Odeh
- Bashar Ali
- Fadi Andraus
- Najwan Abu Alala
- Oz Marinov
- Shady Kassis
- Osama Tanous
Women Against Violence
Al Tufula Center
Kayan – Feminist Organization
The Arab Association for Human Rights
The Arab Center for the Development of Social Media
Ad’ar – Forum of Professionals to Oppose the Murder of Women
Al Sewar- Feminist Arab Movement
Masar Instiute for Education
Entema wa Ataa
AWC – Arab Women in the Center
Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced (ADRID)
The Follow Up Committee of Arab Education Issues
Muntada – The Arab Forum for the Sexuality of Individual and Family
Tishreen – Al-Muthalath
Aswat – Palestinian Feminist Center for Sexual and Gender Freedoms
I’lam – Arab Center for Media, Freedom, Development, and Research
Baladna – Arab Youth Association
Al-Zahraa – The Organization for the Advancement of Women
Ma’an – The Forum of Arab Women’s Organizations in the Negev