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Protest demands UK Government act to free British father Fayez Sharary from Israeli dungeon and for HP to stop complicity in torture
20 December 2016
On 9th December 2016 Inminds human rights group held a vigil outside the British Foreign Office to demand that the British government act to free British citizen Fayez Sharary who has been imprisoned by Israel and who according to the Israeli judge's own admission has been tortured and should be released. The judges ruling was quickly overturned by the military court and Fayez Sharary remains caged, now for nearly 3 months.
Fayez Sharary's military court hearing is next week on 14th December, its imperative that representatives from the British government attend the hearing. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has described the farcical court proceedings "as if the courtroom were a fully-automated conveyor belt" observing that "every file [case] got a minute to a minute and a half of discussion". In 2010 the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers found that the "legal foundations and practices of the military justice system [in Israel] do not comply with international standards". It is not surprising then that Israel military courts have a 99.74% conviction rate for Palestinians.
Inminds chair Abbas Ali said "Its shocking that the British government is silent about the plight of a British citizen who has been abducted by a foreign power who admits that they have tortured him and that he has no case to answer. The British government has shamefully left Fayez Sharary to rot in an Israeli dungeon. Why is the government doing nothing to secure his release? We demand that the British government put pressure on the Israeli regime to immediately and unconditionally release Fayez Sharary so he can be reunited with his family."
Fayez Sharary's wife Laila Sharary addressed the protest, she pleaded with the government: "While my husband languishes in Ofer prison, the only response I get from the British Consulate in Palestine is that they have no news for me. I urge you treat my husband like you would any other British Citizen and send someone senior from your department to oversee the court case on December 14th, and make absolutely sure that everything that can be done, is being done to facilitate my husband's release."
The protest also highlighted the role HP plays in Israel's torture and caging of Palestinians.
Inminds chair Abbas Ali said "Its unacceptable that just one street away, here in London, HP is selling its printers and laptops; and in Palestine the same company, HP, is assisting in the torture of a Londoner. When Londoners are made aware of HPs dirty secrets they will rightly reject this company."
The protest ended with a projection on the walls of the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the British government.
Protest call out: http://inminds.com/article.php?id=10734
More on HP: http://inminds.com/article.php?id=10730
UPDATE 15th Dec 2016
Following the protest outside the foreign office, the British government, for the first time, sent a representative from the embassy to Fayez Sharary's military court hearing on 14th December 2016, and it made a huge difference. We learnt that the whole proceeding was conducted differently when compared to the previous hearings where there was no observer from the British embassy. The judge's behaviour and the conduct of the prosecution was markedly different, acknowledging the existence of a defence lawyer and a modicum of respect for the process. Unfortunately the judge is now insisting that the next hearing, on 8th January 2017 where testimony from the Israeli secret police Shabak will be heard, will be a closed session where representatives from the British embassy will not be permitted to attend.
VIDEO: DEMAND UK GOV ACT TO FREE BRITISH CITIZEN FROM ISRAELI DUNGEON
SPEECH - FREE FAYEZ SHARARY
We are here today outside the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office to demand that the British government act to free British citizen Fayez Sharary who has been languishing in an Israeli dungeon for nearly 3 months now. The presiding Israeli judge admitted that Fayez Sharary has been tortured by the Israeli military in order to obtain a false confession; he has categorically said the forced confession is of zero value and that Fayez Sharary should be released. This was in October, but today Fayez is still imprisoned and the British government has shamefully done nothing to secure his release.
Fayez Sharary is of Palestinian origin, he was born in a refugee camp in Lebanon. He is a British citizen who has lived in this city of London for over 23 years. Fayez is a father of five children, his wife Laila and their daughter Aya are here with us today.
In September he travelled to the West Bank with his wife Laila and their 3 years old daughter Aya to spend the festival of Eid Al-Adha with their elderly parents in Palestine and to fulfil their dream of praying in the sacred Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
On their way home to the UK they were stopped by Israeli soldiers. At gunpoint the family were taken to an interrogation facility on 15th September 2016. The soldiers interrogated Fayez for 5 hours, keeping his family just outside the interrogation room in the corridor to intimidate him. They were denied food and water for 5 hours and when his 3 year old daughter Aya wanted to use the toilet they refused at first, and then insisted her mother first submit to a degrading strip search, before her daughter could use the toilet. After her mother submitted, they still refused Aya the use of a toilet. Instead they brought a plastic tray which is used for passing bags through the x-ray machine, and told her to do it in there.
After the five hours they took Laila's mobile phone and said she and her daughter could go but that they will be detaining Fayez. When Laila insisted that she will not go without her husband the soldiers got very abusive with her, shouting at her.
Fayez was taken to Petah Tikva Interrogation Centre in Israel and tortured for 3 weeks until he broke. He was denied a lawyer for these 3 weeks until he signed their forced confession on 6th October. Soon after that he was moved to Ofer prison in the West Bank where he is still caged today.
Fayez managed to get a message out to his wife via another prisoner. Laila finally managed to speak to her husband on the phone for the first time on 17th October, over a month after he was taken.
At his military court hearing on 26th October even the Israeli judge, Judge Lt.-Col. Azriel Levi, admitted Fayez had been tortured and ordered his release, saying that "There's no doubt that the defendant's confession, which was given an hour after the end of his Shin Bet interrogation, was dramatically influenced by the method of interrogation, which also included pained and prolonged shackling, threats, and a blatant exploitation of the defendant's demonstrated weakness." Keeping prisoners shackled in back breaking stress positions for hours on end is standard practice in Shin Bet interrogations. He pointed out that "Shin Bet’s own record of the interrogations included multiple statements by Sharary that he was downcast and ready to admit to whatever they asked him to admit to". In light of the torture, Judge Azrieli said Fayez’s confession was “not given voluntarily” and its “value was zero.” The Judge added that several of the crimes attributed to Sharary did not even fit the definitions of crimes under the IDF’s West Bank laws.
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel responded to the story noting “using torture happens and is not exceptional in interrogations.." It stated that over a 1000 complaints of torture have been submitted but not a single complaint has led to a criminal investigation, let alone a trial or a conviction. Israeli law has never criminalized torture and whilst Israel is a signatory to the UN Conventions Against Torture it insists that it doesn't apply to Palestinians. United Nations funded Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture for Occupied Palestinian Territory, in 2014, treated 845 Palestinian victims of torture including 317 women and 135 children.
Despite the judge’s ruling Fayez Sharary was never released and is still caged at Israel's notorious HP powered Ofer prison in the West Bank.
We are honoured to have Fayez Sharary’s wife Laila Sharary here; she has a short message to read out:
MESSAGE FROM LAILA SHARARY, WIFE OF PRISONER FAYEZ SHARARY
My name is Laila Sharary. I am the wife of Fayez Sharary, who was unlawfully arrested on September 15th 2016.
We had travelled to Palestine to be with our respective families for Eid el Adha, and as we were leaving, Fayez was arrested.
My husband has never in his life participated in any political activity. Even an Israeli judge declared that the confession that the police obtained is null and void, and that it was forced out through torture and duress!
My husband is the gentlest of men, he wouldn’t hurt a fly, and the children and I miss him terribly, especially our three year old daughter, Aya, who always asks where her father is; I am afraid this episode has traumatized her.
Fayez was imprisoned without being allowed to consult a lawyer.
Among our confiscated personal luggage, was Aya’s security blanket; a small square soft towelling pink blanket, with a rabbit image printed on it; Aya has been missing that blanket terribly, but she takes comfort, even at her young age, that the blanket has stayed behind with her father, giving him comfort and keeping her close to his heart.
That this can happen to someone who’s merely visiting Palestine is astounding; that this happens to someone with a British nationality and no British institution has resolved this yet, beggars belief!
While my husband languishes in Ofer prison, the only response I get from the British Consulate in Palestine is that they have no news for me.
I urge you treat my husband like you would any other British Citizen and send someone senior from your department to oversee the court case on December 14th, and make absolutely sure that everything that can be done, is being done to facilitate my husband’s release.
I am also pleading with the world’s human rights activists to help free my beloved husband, and return him safe and sound to the bosom of his family back here, in London.
Freedom to my husband, freedom to all Palestinian political prisoners, free Palestine!
Thank you Laila, I just want to finish by saying that Fayez Sharary and his family are all British citizens, an Israeli judge has gone on record to admit that a British citizen has been tortured and that there is no case to answer, yet the British embassy has done nothing to secure Fayez's release! Admission by an Israeli judge that a British national has been tortured in Israel and is being caged for no legal reason should have raised alarm bells in the foreign office. Yet no action has followed.
We are here to ask the British government not to abandon one of their citizens to an Israeli torture den. Fayez Sharary's military court hearing is next week on 14th December, its imperative that representatives from the British government attend the hearing. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has condemned the farcical court proceedings saying its "as if the courtroom were a fully-automated conveyor belt" observing that "every file [case] got a minute to a minute and a half of discussion". Israeli human rights groups have indicated that the presence of international legal observers at military hearings does make a difference to how the court is conducted. We ask the British government to send senior representatives from the British Embassy to attend Fayez Sharary's hearing and to lobby the Israeli government to release him.
Free Fayez Sharray!
Free Fayez Sharray!
SPEECH - ROLE OF HP IN TORTURE & CAGING OF PALESTINIANS
We are also here today to condemn the role of the technology company Hewlett Packard in the torture and caging of this British citizen by Israel and in its wider complicity in Israel's war crimes against the Palestinian people, in particular the 7000 Palestinian political prisoners caged by Israel.
Hewlett Packard provides the essential IT services and infrastructure that enable the Israeli Prison Service to function. Their prisons and interrogation centres where Palestinian children are caged and tortured are powered by HP.
Last year between Oct 2015 and Aug 2016 Israel abducted and caged 2,320 Palestinian children, some as young as 11 years old - that's more than one child taken from their parents every 4 hours! Figures for Jerusalem show that 40% of the children were sexually abused by Israeli soldiers during arrest or interrogation. During interrogation 75% of Palestinian children detained by Israel are physically tortured.
The United Nations "Rights Of The Child" report documents the brutal torture of Palestinian children as standard practice during interrogations in order to coerce confessions, usually to stone throwing which carries a sentence of up to 20 years' imprisonment.
72 Palestinian prisoners have been tortured to death in Israeli prisons since 1967. The latest being father of five young children, Raed Abdul-Salam al-Jabari, who died following interrogation at Eshel prison on 9th Sep 2014. He had been arrested over a simple car accident involving an illegal Israeli settler. The IPS claimed he had committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell but the autopsy revealed he had been savagely tortured with repeated blows to the head and face causing brain haemorrhage. His neck showed no signs of hanging.
In an on-going contract, worth millions of dollars, HP provides the Israeli prison service the systems and servers needed to keep it operational. In 2012 HP provided the central servers for the operational system of the Israeli prison service ("Tzohar") and its on-going maintenance. In a contract worth $35 million, HP has also executed a project for e-mail storage and archive for the Israeli prison service.
HP developed the Kidma information system for the Israeli Prison Service which includes the prisoners management system and intelligence subs systems, helping the occupation keep illegal records on Palestinians it has abducted and their families.
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Children has reported that Palestinian child prisoners are often coerced to confess by sexually threatening their family members or themselves. One such case is that of Ali Shamlawi. At age 16 he was abducted from his home by Israeli soldiers. He was caged in solitary confinement for two weeks in a filthy 1m x 3m windowless underground cell 3 floors below the surface, and then violently tortured. Then the interrogator, having looked up Ali's family details realised he has a younger sister, so he sexually threatened Ali’s younger sister to coerce a confession out of Ali of throwing stones. Once they had the false confession they sentenced Ali to 15 years imprisonment. Ali has been in prison for over three and half years now.
HP is fully complicit in these crimes. We ask the British public to show your support for justice and boycott HP products.
Shame on you HP! Shame on you HP!
Also Of Interest
Page URL: http://www.inminds.co.uk/article.php?id=10737