by Hanin Nadja Othman
May 22, 2003
On May 21, 2003, Palestinian parliamentarian Hussam Khader’s detention was once again extended for the sixth time since his arrest by Israel. It was now extended another 15 days and he has been transferred back from Akko to the Petah Tikva jail.
Although he has been subjected to constant questioning by the Israelis for 66 days, the secret service feels it will need another two weeks to try and press a confession from him that would confirm the false accusations still upheld against him.
Khader’s lawyer Riad Al-Anees demanded that Khader either be released or officially charged, but the court refused to comply.
Al-Anees emphasized that his client maintains his innocence and denies all the charges brought against him. Khader thinks his arrest is a direct result of his political opinion, his rejection of the Israeli occupation and his ambitions for the freedom and independence of the Palestinian people.
Before being transferred back to Petah Tikva, Khader was held for a week in absolute isolation in his cell. He was not allowed to see anybody, not even the guards. After this week of absolute isolation he was questioned for 60 hours (2 ½ days) without break. In this time he was not allowed to sleep or eat. His family fears that this method may be repeated in an effort to break him. They are also extremely worried about his health, especially because he suffers from a heart problem and has not been able to take his medicine since he was arrested.
Tayseer Nasrallah, the coordinator of the Popular Committee for the Release of Khader and Soliadrity with Political Prisoners, criticised the indifference of Human Rights Organisations, especially the Red Cross which has so far made no effort to visit Khader who was arrested on March 17th 2003.
Through his lawyer Khader sent his greetings to the Palestinian people asking them to solidarize with the political prisoners and to resist the occupation.
Hanin Nadja Othman is of Palestinian-German descent, and is currently studying Latin American Sciences at the University of Cologne. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org