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US Citizen Tortured In Israeli Jails

Washington, DC, October 2 –The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the nation’s largest grassroots organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Arab Americans, calls upon the United States Department of State to take the necessary steps in protecting the rights of Luay Abdel-Jaber, an American citizen detained by Israel.
Luay Abdel Jaber, a 21-year old US citizen born in Chicago, is scheduled to appear for trial on Tuesday, October 3, in a military court at the Beit-El Israeli settlement in occupied Palestine. Luay is a student at Bir Zeit University. He was detained at a check point en route to Bir Zeit University on May 15, 1999. He was held, interrogated, and tortured by the Israeli Security Forces at the Moscobiyya prison facility in Jerusalem.
His interrogation included five days in “Shabah” (a method of tying or handcuffing a prisoner in a contorted painful position), sleep deprivation and extreme cold. Following this period of interrogation he was charged with being a member of an illegal organization at age 16 while attending Bir Zeit University in 1996.
Subsequent to Luay’s interrogation, the Israeli Supreme Court in September 1999 ruled that some of the methods of interrogation fit the legal definition of torture. According to Article 6 of the UN General Assembly Resolution 40/144, “No alien shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment . . . .”
Moreover, according to Principle 6 of UN General Assembly Resolution 43/173, “No person under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. No circumstances whatever may be invoked as a justification for torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Also, Principle 11 of that resolution states, “A person shall not be kept in detention without being given an effective opportunity to be heard promptly by a judicial or other authority.”
The State of Israel has routinely violated international law regarding torture. Israel consistently detains American citizens of Palestinian origin on suspicion of security violations and fails to notify the American consular authorities. The 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations states that the “arresting state shall, without delay, inform the consulate that it has arrested one of its citizens.” Israel has not done so and has failed to provide prompt access to the US Consulate by the detainees. Although many American citizens have reported their experiences to the US State Department, US officials appear to have made few efforts either to secure the release of these victims or to vigorously protest their mistreatment.
Palestinian-Americans are entitled to the same rights and have the same responsibilities as all other citizens of the United States. The US Department of State has an obligation to take the necessary steps to protect the rights of American citizens wherever they may be.