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ISRAEL: Update on imprisoned conscientious objectors

Alert:

War Resisters' International learned today about new and repeated imprisonments of conscientious objectors in Israel. To WRI's knowledge, there are at present 18 conscientious objectors in prison in Israel.

Itai Svirski (ISR12133) was sentenced on 20 January 2003 to 28 days imprisonment. Itai Svirski, who refused to serve in the Occupied Territories, already spent 21 days in Military Prison No 6 in June 2002 (see co-alert 20/06/02 - http://wri-irg.org/news/htdocs/20062002a.html). He is again imprisoned in Military Prison No 6, and is due out on 17 February 2003.

Jonathan Ben-Artzi (ISR12371) is still serving his 7th prison term. He is due to be released on 20 February 2003 - and it can only be hoped that he will finally be exempted from serving, as he will by then have spent 196 days in prison - 100 days more than was standard practice in the past.

Dror Boimel (ISR12373) is presently serving his sixth prison term. He was sentenced on 19 January to 35 days in prison, bringing his total prison time up to 168 days. He is due out on 23 February 2003 - and again, it can only be hoped that he will finally be exempted. Dror Boimel is held in the isolation ward of prison no 6, because he is refusing to wear a uniform. The prison conditions are very bad (see below - Hillel Goral).

Haggai Matar (ISR12701) was sentenced to a fifth prison term on 10 February 2003 - bringing the total up to 136 days. He is due out on 1 March 2003.

Matan Kaminer (ISR12840) was sentenced to a third prison term on 5 February - this time 28 days. He already spent time in prison in December 2002 (28 days) and in January 2003 (14 days). He will have spent 70 days in prison when he will be released on 5 March 2003 - and he probably will be re-imprisoned shortly after.

Hillel Goral (ISR12841) is spending his second prison term (42 days) in the isolation ward of Military Prison No 6. Hillel Goral was first imprisoned on 10 December 2002, and spent most of his time in prison ever since. He started a hunger strike on 16 January 2003, together with Noam Bahat (ISR12842 - see co-alert 18 January 2003, http://wri-irg.org/news/htdocs/18012003a.html). Hillel Goral is now due to be released on 25 February 2003, but reimprisoned is very likely. The prison conditions in the isolation ward of Military Prison No 6, which Hillel Goral and Dror Boimel have to cope with, are very bad. The toilet facilities are open, so there is no privacy. It is very cold in the cells, there are no heaters of any kind, and rain gets through to the cells. Hillel Goral's blankets were taken from him, because he refused to fold them in a military fashion. There is also no hot water in the showers, so that they have to bath in freezing cold water. They are not allowed any writing materials, and only a handful of books. They only get one hour of sunlight per days, and a neon light is put on in their cells for 24 hours per day. These conditions don't meet the minimum standards for prisons.

Noam Bahat (ISR12842) too was first imprisoned on 10 December 2002, and spent most of his time in prison since. Together with Hillel Goral he began a hunger strike on 16 January. Noam Bahat decided to end his hunger strike after 16 days, but he still is in the isolation ward of Military Prison No 4 for refusing to wear a uniform. He too is due to be released on 25 February, and will probably be reimprisoned shortly after. All his writing material was taken from him, and the prison authorities are preventing him from sending mail, although, according to the regulations, he should be allowed to send one postcard every day. Noam Bahat was told that two family visits were denied because of "misbehavior": One of the soldiers has asked him, in a friendly tone, how he was, and when Noam replied , he was blamed for not answering with "Sir". When Noam complained that this is a mean thing to do, he got another complaint, again for not saying "Sir" , and so two family visits were denied of him. There is no doubt that this harsh and abusive treatment in intentional and unjust, and we recommend that you send letters to the commander of the prison, protesting this treatment.

Adam Maor (ISR12843) was also first imprisoned on 10 December 2002. He was again sentenced on 14 January 2003 to 42 days in Military Prison No 4. He is due out on 25 February.

Shimri Tzamaret (ISR12847) was sentenced to a second prison term of 28 days on 21 January 2003. He was first imprisoned in December 2002. He is due out on 18 February 2003, but is likely to be reimprisoned again.

Yoni Kozlovsky (ISR12876) was sentenced on 19 January for refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories. He is due to be released on 16 February.

Shachar Ben-Haar (ISR12879) was sentenced to a second prison term on 3 February - this time 28 days. He notified the IDF in December that he discontinues his service as a conscript and was sentenced to 14 days in prison in January 2003.

Dan Tzahor (ISR13063) was sentenced to 28 days in prison for refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories on 21 January 2003. He is due out on 18 February.

Alon Ben-Ezer (ISR13066) was sentenced to 28 days in prison for refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories on 3 February. He is due out on 3 March 2003.

Tzachi Salonim (ISR13067) was sentenced to 21 days in prison for refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories on 27 January. He is due out on 17 February.

Nir Rechev (ISR13068) was sentenced to 28 days in prison for refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories on 4 February 2003. He is due out on 4 March.

Dan Shahaf (ISR12069) was sentenced to 21 says in prison for refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories on 28 January. He is due out on 18 February.

Eliav Zacharovitch (ISR13070) was sentenced to 28 days in prison for refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories on 21 January. He is due out on 18 February.

Nadav Shlomot (ISR13071) was sentenced to 28 days in prison for refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories on 3 February. He is due out on 3 March 2003.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to all imprisoned conscientious objectors:

Jonathan Ben-Artzi (Mil ID 7169436)
Dror Boimel (Mil ID 7282965)
Matan Kaminer (Mil ID 7176324)
Adam Maor (Mil ID 7246176)
Noam Bahat (Mil ID 7165951)
Hillel Goral (Mil ID 7269230)
Military Prison No 4
Military postal code 02507
IDF, Israel

Alon Ben-Ezer
Haggai Matar (Mil ID 7281989)
Shimri Tzamaret (Mil ID 7305627)
Yoni Kozlovski (Mil ID 5035744)
Itai Svirski
Eliav Zacharovitch
Dan Tzahor
Dan Shahaf
Tzachi Salonim
Nadav Shlomot
Nir Rechev
Shahar Ben-Haar (Mil ID 7198994)
Military Prison No 6
Military Postal Code 01860
IDF, Israel

War Resisters' International calls for protest letters to the Israeli authorities, and Israeli embassies abroad.

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of all imprisoned conscientious objectors and an end to repeated imprisonment of COs.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International
ADDRESSES
Shaul Mofaz
Minister of Defence,
Ministry of Defence,
37 Kaplan st.,
Tel-Aviv 61909,
Israel.
e-mail: mailto:sar@mod.gov.il or mailto:pniot@mod.gov Fax: +972-3-696-27-57 / +972-3-691-69-40 / +972-3-691-79-15

Commander of Military Prison No. 4,
Military Postal Code 02507
IDF, Israel
Fax: +972-3-957-52-76

Commander of Military Prison No 6
Military Prison No 6
Military postal number 01860,
IDF, Israel.
Fax: +972-4-869-28-84

Addresses of Israeli embassies can be found at http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/israel1.htm

Addresses of Israeli media:
Ma'ariv:
2 Karlibach st.
Tel-Aviv 67132
Israel
Fax: +972-3-561-06-14
e-mail: editor@maariv.co.il

Yedioth Aharonoth:
2 Moses st.
Tel-Aviv
Israel
Fax: +972-3-608-25-46

Ha'aretz (Hebrew):
21 Schocken st.
Tel-Aviv, 61001
Israel
Fax: +972-3-681-00-12

Ha'aretz (English edition):
21 Schocken st.
Tel-Aviv, 61001
Israel
Fax: +972-3-512-11-56
e-mail: letters@haaretz.co.il

Jerusalem Post:
POB 81
Jerusalem 91000
Israel
Fax: +972-2-538-95-27
e-mail: news@jpost.co.il or letters@jpost.co.il

Jerusalem Report:
Fax: +972-2-537-94-89

Radio (fax numbers):
Kol-Israel +972-2-531-33-15 and +972-3-694-47-09 Galei Tzahal +972-3-512-67-20

Television (fax numbers):
Channel 1 +972-2-530-15-36
Channel 2 +972-2-533-98-09