World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Farhan Alqam, Mayor of Beit Ommar, freed

From: Peace Movement Aotearoa

Farhan Alqam, Mayor of Beit Ommar, freed.

By Christina Gibb

18 September 2006

On 12 September, CPT learned that the Mayor of Beit Ommar, Farhan Alqam was back home after 15 days detention by the Israeli Defence Forces - see release 27 August, Palestine Mayor abducted, at

CPTers Christina Gibb, Cynthia Burnside and Char Smith visited him in his office at the Beit Ommar Municipality on 13 September. The Mayor greeted them with his usual warmth. He said that during the first few days he had been very badly treated.

He had refused to be handcuffed in his house in front of his wife, but he was beaten up in the jeep that took him away, and a soldier had sat on his head and shoulders as they took him to Gush Etzion Police station. He was kept standing outside, blindfolded and with his hands tied with tight plastic, for about 3 hours until sunrise. He compared the beating and humiliations to conditions at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. He was kept in isolation, unable to speak to any other detainees for the whole day. 16 hours after his violent arrest, they took him to Ofer prison near Ramallah.

The conditions in Ofer, where there are many detainees, were poor. The food was very inadequate in quantity and quality. It is very hard for lawyers to gain access to their clients. Visiting conditions for families are appalling – rare visiting opportunities, long waits, strip searches, very short visiting times, with double plastic and mesh barriers between visitors and detainees. After a week, he was taken to see the investigator. They all had to wait for 9 hours, with no food and no access to a toilet. Their hands were tied in front of them with painfully tight plastic, and they were each shackled by the leg to another detainee. The guards shouted at them often. He had only half an hour with the investigator.

When he appeared before the Military Court, after 14 days, he was accused of ‘illegal activities’ which were a threat to security. He only saw the lawyer, who had been contacted by the Beit Ommar Municipality lawyer, for a few minutes as they were going in to court. Farhan was allowed to speak in his own defence, and explained about his duties and responsibilities to serve his people as Mayor, which took all his time and energies. He said he had taken part in no illegal activities, and asked what these activities were supposed to be. The security services would not disclose this, but asked for a sentence of 2 months imprisonment for him. The judge said if he was a threat to security, the sentence should be longer. After further deliberation the judge showed he believed Farhan, by cancelling the order for his detention. The detective did not appeal this decision, and he was released the next day..


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news