(Haifa, Israel) Yesterday, Wednesday 12 May 2010, the Petah Tikvah Magistrate Court held two separate hearings on requests by the General Security Services (GSS or Shabak) to extend the detention of Arab political activists, Ameer Makhoul, who is also a human rights defender and the director of the Arab NGO network in Israel, “Ittijah,” and Dr. Omar Saeed, who also runs a leading company in natural medicine.
In the case of Dr. Saeed, the GSS asked for an extension of detention for eight days, while in the case of Mr. Makhoul, they requested 12 days. Both hearings took place behind close doors; the public was barred from the hearing. Since the prohibition on meeting with lawyers was lifted in the case of Dr. Saeed, he was present at the hearing; however, because Mr. Makhoul is still under prohibition of meeting with lawyers, the hearing was conducted without his presence. The court extended the detention of Dr. Saeed until Sunday 17 May; a further hearing will be held on that date at 10 am, unless he is released prior to 17 May. The court extended Mr. Makhoul’s detention until Monday 18 May; a further hearing will be held on that date at 10 am.
The state claims that Mr. Makhoul and Dr. Saeed have been detained for security reasons. Mr. Makhoul has been held in incommunicado detention since his arrest on Thursday 6 May.
The defense team also submitted an appeal yesterday 12 May before the Petah Tivah District Court against the prohibition on meeting lawyers on Ameer Makhoul. This hearing was also held behind closed doors, and due to the prohibition order, Ameer Makhoul was also not present. The District Court rejected the appeal and the prohibition order was extended until at least Friday 14 May.
Sixteen days after his arrest on 24 April 2010, during which time he was subjected to continuous interrogation and allowed a very limited amount of sleep, the GSS permitted Dr. Saeed to meet with his lawyers. As noted in Adalah’s press release dated 10 May 2010, Dr. Saeed emphasized that he stated during all of his investigation that he has never been recruited to or worked for any organization, defined as a terrorist organization by the State of Israel, and he has never had any contact with such organization.
Both Ameer Makhoul and Dr. Omar Saeed are represented by the defense team of Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein, and Adalah Attorneys Orna Kohn and Hassan Jabareen.
For more information on the cases, see: