At 3 am this morning, 11 December 2012, the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights office was raided by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). Four laptops, one hard disk and a video camera were taken among other materials. The IOF destroyed the office; desks, ransacked filing cabinets and files and scattered files around the office. At this moment, we are not clear as to what has been confiscated, but in the coming days we will know more about the level of destruction and damage. This is the first raid by the IOF since 2002, when the Addameer office was raided during the invasion of Ramallah.
The offices of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committee and the Palestinian NGO Network were also raided and ransacked last night. Addameer condemns this attack on human rights and civil society organizations, and sees it as an attempt to cripple solidarity with the prisoners
12 The Israeli Occupation Forces raided three non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Ramallah at 3 am this morning, including Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. Five computers and a camera were stolen from Addameer, as well as a number of legal files, pictures and posters of prisoners and detainees on hunger strike. Ironically, this attack coincides with the 64th anniversary of the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Addameer believes that this brutal assault is part of the constant targeting of the association’s staff and mission to defend Palestinian political prisoners. Since 2002, Addameer has been subjected to raids and attacks and arrest campaigns of staff members in past years. Most recently, Addameer’s researcher, Ayman Nasser, was detained on 15 October 2012 and is charged for supporting Palestinian prisoners and detainees and calling for their freedom. Similarly, in midst of the prisoners’ hunger strike between 17 September and 13 October 2011, the IOF issued an arbitrary order that bans Addameer’s chairperson Abdullatif Ghaith from entering the West Bank, a ban that is still in effect.
The work of Addameer’s lawyers was hindered by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) during the past two years and during the hunger strikes, as two lawyers have been repeatedly banned from visiting Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons. In addition, and as part of the occupation’s ways to restrict Addameer’s work, the IOF banned a number of Addameer’s staff from travelling for “security” reasons, which severely restricts our ability to attend international events and speaking tours to provide a voice for Palestinian prisoners rights in the international arena.
Addameer believes that these ongoing attacks aim to destroy the legitimacy of non-governmental organizations, and by disregarding our status as human rights defenders, raiding and ransacking resources and arresting staff members, they delegitimize human rights work and normalize the attacks on our offices. We see a similar trend in the attacks on the Gaza Strip in November 2012, where the international protection and immunity of journalists was denied and they became legitimate targets for the IOF.
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association reiterates its firm commitment to support the Palestinian detainees and prisoners rights at any cost, as Addameer’s researcher Ayman Nasser proclaimed in the military court: “I will support the prisoners’ issue even if the cost is my freedom.”
We will provide more information in the coming hours as the situation develops. Follow our Twitter account at @addameer_ps and ourFacebook page for the latest news.