Free Dareen Tatour Site – Detention

20 September 2018 – Dareen is FREE

A small crowd of supporters and the media waited for Dareen in front of the Damoun prison, until she finally walked out of the small blue iron door. Everybody was so happy, hugging and kissing and chatting.

You can see images and read reports about her release in +972HaaretzTeleSUR and PEN International. TeleSUR also published a special video for the occasion.

Activists in Reineh organized an official festive reception for Friday, September 21, at 19:00.

You can watch this video from the celebration, where writer Ofra Yeshua Lyth is handing and reading to Dareen a letter signed by 5000 supporters worldwide through Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).

19 September 2018 – Dareen’s release brought forward to tomorrow

This evening the Tatour family received an unexpected telephone call from the Damoun prison – informing them that Dareen will be released tomorrow morning (Thursday, September 20) around 8:00 am.

5 September 2018 – First family visit in prison – Dareen promised release on September 21

Dareen’s family was allowed to visit her in prison – and we learned that she was promised release on September 21! On Tuesday, September 4, lawyer Amnon from Gaby Lasky’s office visited Dareen Tatour in Damoun prison. He was told that Dareen would not be allowed a visit this week, but maybe the next. So it came as a surprise when, on the morning of the next day, the family’s request for visiting Dareen was approved.

On Wednesday morning, September 5, Dareen’s mother and father travelled to the Damoun prison to meet their daughter for the first time since she was imprisoned on August 8. They found that she was doing well, in spite of the harsh conditions, keeping high morale and writing new poems.

Through these two visits we also learned that the prison authorities informed Dareen that she would be released on Friday, September 21. Dareen was sentenced to 5 months of imprisonment. She spent more than 3 months in prison just after her detention in October 2015. So she had less than 2 months left to complete the 5. Now, due to the general overcrowding in Israeli prisons, almost all prisoners are released a few days or a few weeks before their scheduled release time, in what is called “administrative release”. This should now reduce about two weeks from Dareen’s period and we hope that she will really be released on the promised date (or, better, before it).

Also, on the occasion of the family’s visit, they were allowed for the first time to enter some extra clothes to Dareen, so she will be change clothes.

30 August 2018 – Dareen denied family visits

Since her new imprisonment, on August 8, Dareen’s family is not allowed to visit her. Usually family visits to prisoners are allowed about two weeks after they are imprisoned. From the declarations of the “Israeli Prisons Service” it seems that they intend not to let the family visit Dareen for the two months that she has to spend in prison to complete her 5 months prison sentence.

As another form of abuse, the Israeli Prison Service also prevents the family from entering to Dareen even the most basic clothes that she needs.

Read more about it here (and in Hebrew here).

8 August 2018 – Dareen started prison sentence

On the morning of August 8, two dozen supporters accompanied Dareen to the Jelemeh detention center, where she had to give herself up to spend the last 2 months of the 5 months of imprisonment to which she was finally sentenced. We later learned that Dareen was transferred to the Damoun prison on Mount Carmel (near Haifa) where she is held with Palestinian “security” women prisoners.

Free Dareen Tatour - Detention Jelemeh

Poet Dareen Tatour entering Jelemeh detention center on August 8, 2018

31 July 2018 – As Dareen was sentenced to prison the house arrest was abolished

In the last hearing of the trial, judge Adi Bambiliya-Einstein sentenced Dareen to 5 months in prison plus 6 months of suspended prison sentence. At the same hearing she ordered Dareen to give herself up at the Jelemeh detention center on August 8, at 10:00. For the remaining 8 days until her imprisonment, the judge abolished the house arrest, but left all other restrictions on Dareen in place, including the ban of any access to the internet.

4 December 2017 – The judge refused to release Dareen from house arrest!

Today, December 4, Judge Naaman Idris announced his decision to reject the appeal to end Dareen Tatour’s house arrest. As explained below, Judge Idris heard Dareen’s appeal on November 20. So today he had only to announce his decision. Even though the announcement itself took less than a minute, he let us (ten supporters and family members of Dareen and advocate Haya Abu Warda) wait from 14:00 till 15:30 before he took a small break between his other duties to make the announcement. It was another blow to justice and logic, as there is no date set for the verdict yet, and the trial is expected to last many more months, and those years spent in house arrest are not counted against any possible “punishment”.

The judge agreed to add 3 hours a day to the time that Dareen is allowed to be out of her house. It is now 9am till 10pm (after being set to 9am till 7pm in May 2017). But she still must be accompanied by an authorized supervisor at every step, so she can’t hope to work or lead anything that resembles normal life. All other restricting conditions remain in force, including total ban on connecting the internet. It is also significant for Dareen as an artist that she is not allowed to publish any of her works.

Judge Idris is the same judge that ordered Dareen’s detention “until the end of legal procedures” in December 2015.

Relief of detention conditions as time passes is a regular routine in courts. Most time it is done with the prosecution’s consent. In this specific case the prosecution continues to resist any relief.

The defence team led by lawyer Gaby Lasky is expected to file an appeal in the Nazareth district court soon.

20 November 2017 – hearing to consider abolishing house arrest

Hearing held on Nov 20 to consider request to abolish #DareenTatour house detention…

The Israeli law requires that significant time will pass before you can appeal for another relief in the pre-trial detention conditions. Last time when the conditions were somewhat adjusted (see below), on May 22nd, the judge said that she is pretty confident that the trial will end before the court’s summer vacation.

But time is passing fast and the trial can easily drag for a few more months, to say nothing about a possible appeal. Currently the next hearing in the main trial is set for December 28 for “oral summaries” on top of the written summaries – at the request of the prosecution. There is no date for the verdict yet.

Advocate Gaby Lasky and her team filed a request to take account of the long time that Dareen has already spent under detention and the fact that the evidence that was presented during the trial doesn’t justify in any way the “high dangerousness” that the prosecution attributed to Dareen. They request the abolition of the house detention.

Judge Naaman Idris held a hearing to consider this appeal on Monday, November 20th, at 10:00, in the Nazareth Magistrate Court. The small courtroom was full with Dareen’s supporters. As both sides presented their arguments in writing in advance, there was no much arguing. Advocate Lasky stressed the fact that as Dareen is not allowed to go out of the house without a “supervisor” and not allowed any access to the internet she can’t work or hold any normal life. When the judge asked the prosecutor (not the same Elina Hardak that is responsible on the trial) she simply said that they object to any relief.

The judge postponed his decision to December 4, at 14:00.

11 October 2017 – already 2 years under detention for a poem

While the verdict is going to be postponed, Dareen Tatour “celebrated” on October 11, 2017, the second anniversary of her detention.

The happy news of that day was the publication in ArabLit of another poem by Dareen Tatour, “Rebellion of Silence”, both the original Arabic and an English translation by Andrew Leber. On the same day, also, a group of artists visited Tatour to discuss the production of a play about her trial that may be displayed in the United States.

The restrictions imposed on Dareen are still very severe.

  • She is allowed to get out of the house only between 9am to 7pm. At home and while going out, she should be accompanied at every step by a licensed “supervisor”. Under these conditions she can’t work neither lead any semblance of normal life.
  • She is not allowed any access to the internet, not even reading news. She has never seen this site.
  • She is not allowed to publish anything “directly or through others”.
  • She is not allowed to attend any political gathering.

1 August 2017 – Adding 3 Supervisors

Dareen Tatour’s detention will complete full 2 years on October 11, before the end of the trial.

Since May 22, 2017, she is formally allowed to get out of her house between 9am and 7pm, but only if accompanied by a certified supervisor at any moment. The “justification” for this restriction is that, because Dareen is prevented from any access to the internet, there should be someone to supervise her at any moment.

The result is that she hardly could use this new partial relief. It certainly doesn’t allow her to work or enjoy normal life.

So some of her friends volunteered to join as guardians… but the court requested the prosecution’s response. And the prosecution delayed, and negotiated, and finally refused any new guardians!

After long delays, the appeal was heard in the Nazareth court on August 1. You can read in detail about this hearing here, and, in Hebrew, here. Finally, the three new supervisors were approved.

On August 8, Dareen was visiting friends in Yaffa and went for the first time in two years to see the sea that she was so missing.

22 May 2017 – Allowed to get out, but only accompanied

As the trial is unlikely to finish before September (and might easily drag on, including an appeal, into 2018), Defence lawyers Laski and Ramati appealed for an end to Dareen Tatour’s house detention until the end of the trial. In a hearing on May 22, the prosecution strongly objected to any significant alleviation of the harsh house detention conditions under which Tatour is held since her arrest on October 2015 (after initial 3 months in different prisons).

In the end the judge allowed Tatour to get out of her house each day from 9:00 am till 17:00 pm – but she still have to be accompanied by her supervisors at any step, what means that she will not really be able to get out of the house most of the time. There is no easing of the decision banning Tatour from any access to the internet. And there are new conditions: The family had to deposit another 6000 shekel and Tatour is prevented from attending any political gathering or activity.

Detailed reports in Hebrew about this hearing were published in Free HaifaLocal Call and Ha-Gada Ha-Smalit (the Left Bank).

14 November 2016 – Allowed to work under impossible conditions

As the trial dragged on, lawyers Lasky and Ramati requested that most restriction on Tatour will be removed. The prosecution, as always, strongly objected to any relief.

The detention file was transferred to another judge, Lili Jung-Goffer, who held two hearings to reconsider the detention conditions, on October 31 and November 14.

Finally, she decided to remove the electronic bracelet from Tatour’s ankle, which was a significant improvement in her quality of life.

Tatour’s previous employer, a woman that owns a small beauty salon in Nazareth, agreed to accept her back to work. The judge agreed but on condition of full house detention.  That meant that the employer will be a certified supervisor, and will be obliged to stay with Tatour all the time as the small beauty salon will become another location for her detention.  This proved impractical and soon Tatour was closed for the whole day in her house again.

You can read about these hearings here (and in Hebrew here).

26 July 2016 – Allowed to return home

After the drama of her renewed imprisonment, Tatour was finally allowed to continue her house detention at her home in Reineh.

Just before she went home, the judge decided that it is too dangerous to let her go home (with the supervisors) to wait for the operators of the electric bracelet to connect it, so he ordered the police to keep her in custody until everything will be in place. After some hours waiting for the technicalities to be fixed, the police prisoner-guards decided to return Tatour to the Damoun Prison on Mount Carmel. The reception at the prison refused to accept her, as, according to their computers, she was not a prisoner any more. The policemen wanted to go home, so they just left Tatour, unaccompanied, in the middle of the nowhere, with no phone or money, near the prison gates.

Anyway, there were big celebrations in Reineh that night as Tatour came home after nine months in prison and forced exile.

You can read more about it here.

25 July 2016 – Back to prison

After a prolonged legal struggle to be allowed to continue her house detention at her home in Reineh, Tatour informed Judge Hana Sabagh that she is totally unable to go back to her exile in Kiryat Ono. Even though all the conditions for her transfer home were fulfilled, with only some paper work missing, and even though she already was allowed to spend a night at home on the holiday, he promptly order her arrest and sent her to prison.

13 January till 25 July 2016 – house detention with forced exile in Kiryat Ono

After two appeals by the prosecution to the district court, Dareen was finally transferred to house detention on January 13, but under much more severe conditions. She was declared too dangerous to stay anyway near her home town, so her brother had to rent an apartment in Kiryat Ono, near Tel Aviv, especially to be the site for her detention. She also had to wear an electric bracelet on her ankle 24 hours a day, to supervise her movements any moment. She was completely forbidden to access the internet and the house where she would stay had to be disconnected from the net also.

11 October 2015 till 13 January 2016 – Three months in three prisons

Dareen was interrogated only four times, all about her poems and her Facebook posts. Her interrogation was held by the Nazareth police, not the security services that usually handle “security” cases. On November 2 she was indicted for “incitement” and “support of a terrorist organization”. You can read more details about the indictment in the “trial” page of this site.

With her indictment, the prosecution applied to the court to remand Dareen’s detention until the end of the trial. On November 12 judge Naaman Idris agreed to the remand request but requested a report by the parole officer to check whether the detention can be substituted by house arrest. On December 15 judge Idris ordered the transfer of Dareen to house detention in her home in Reineh, but postponed the actual transfer pending appeal by the prosecution.

During her interrogation Dareen was held in the Jelemeh interrogation center. After her indictment she was transferred to the Women’s Ha-Sharon prison, where she was held with the Palestinian “security” prisoners, between them administrative detainees like Parliament Member from the Palestinian Authority Khaleda Jarar. Later there was not enough room in Ha-Sharon and Dareen was transferred with other Palestinian women prisoners to Damoun prison.

11 October 2015 – Pre-Dawn Arrest

At 3:00am before dawn, on October 11, 2015, patrol cars from Nazareth police, escorted by a unit of Israel’s notorious “Border Guards”, surrounded a quite house in the nearby village of Al-Reineh. They broke in and waked up the terrified family. Their target was Dareen Tatour, 33, a Palestinian poet, photographer and activist. They didn’t have a search order, neither an arrest warrant, but they carried the astonished Dareen with them anyway.

The immediate reason for the detention was a profile picture that Dareen published initially on June 2014, in response to the murder of Palestinian teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir, saying “I’m the next martyr”. It meant to be a protest against the killing of innocent Palestinians, stating that in current conditions any Palestinian can be killed for no reason.

Someone mistranslated the status to Hebrew as if Dareen wrote “I want to be the next martyr”, and the police misinterpreted it as if Dareen announced that she wants to make a suicide attack. After a few hours the interrogators in the Nazareth police understood their initial mistake, but they decided to criminalize Dareen by any means possible.

You can follow the link to read more about Dareen’s detention.

 

The Israeli Prisons Authority prevents family visits from the poet Dareen Tatour

(This article was also published in Hebrew. An edited version of it appeared today in +972.)

On the morning of August 8, we accompanied the poet Dareen Tatour to the detention center in Jalameh (Kishon), where she had to report to undergo a “screening” to determine where she would spend the remaining two months out of the five-month prison sentence imposed on her. The next day we learned that she had been sent to Damoun Prison, to be in the special ward for Palestinian “security” women prisoners.

Damon_prison from Wikipedia

Damoun prison on Mount Carmel (from Wikipedia) – old damp buildings

Despite the harsh conditions in which “security” prisoners are held, staying with them is preferable for a prisoner like Dareen. The solidarity between the prisoners and the fact that this is a population that is not part of a “delinquent” marginal culture are more important than all the difficult physical conditions and restrictions of basic rights. However, by the standards of the Prisons Authority, her classification as a “security” prisoner constitutes a green light for abuse and denial of her basic human rights, even if all she is actually accused of is publishing a poem.

The women “security” prisoners (as all Palestinian “security” prisoners) have no right to a telephone, no access to a social worker that may help to handle sensitive personal problems and there is no rehabilitation process to prepare them for life after prison. Even the meeting with the lawyer representing them is not an open meeting but through a glass partition. Any “security” prisoner, even one accused of writing a poem, is considered, a priori, according to the apartheid system of the Israeli prisons system, more dangerous than any violent rapist or criminal murderer, and has less basic rights in prison.

Damoun Prison on Mount Carmel is located in damp buildings in a place that served as a tobacco warehouse for the Palestinian Karaman family before 1948. In 2000 the Israel Prisons Authority admitted that the prison was not suitable for human habitation and closed it. However, shortly after the outbreak of the second intifada in the same year, Damoun was reopened as a prison for incarcerating “illegal aliens” – the Palestinian “bread prisoners” who risk their lives and freedom by crossing the Apartheid walls that surround the Occupied West Bank in search for work. Later on, more Palestinian prisoners were brought to Damoun, including a new special section for female prisoners.

On Monday, August 27, I visited Dareen’s family in their home in Reineh (near Nazareth) to ask what they knew about her conditions in prison.

Dareens father Tawfiq Tatour (Abu Yamen) -at home

Dareen’s father Tawfiq Tatour (Abu Yamen) at the family’s home in Reineh

When Dareen separated from the escorts and entered the iron gate of the detention center, her father, Tawfiq Tatour (Abu Yamen), entered with her, along with a bag of clothes she had prepared in advance. Now he continued the story of the abuse of Dareen and the family from the moment of her entry to the detention center with this clothes’ bag. After Dareen was taken away, the guards told him to wait until they check the bag. After a long wait, perhaps an hour or so, they returned the bag full and swollen. He doesn’t know what was entered, or if anything was allowed in from all the clothes she packed.

The difficulties in bringing clothes to prisoners are a well-known and widely used form of abuse during the interrogation period. The father recounted how, after Dareen’s arrest, taken from her home in the middle of the night without any extra clothes, she spent many days under interrogation before the family was allowed to bring in clothes. But now, as she entered prison in a planned and orderly way after being sentenced, you wouldn’t expect that there would be such a problem. All the more so since Dareen was already familiar with the prison’s rules and packed exactly those clothes that prisoners are allowed to hold. No need to say that the bag with her clothes was returned without any explanation.

Visits to the “security” prisoner, the family was informed, can only be arranged by fax. They should submit the visitors’ names and wait for approval. In any case, for “security” prisoners only first-degree relatives might apply for permission to visit. Dareen’s father told me how he sent a request for a visit and received a negative answer: “She does not deserve a visit.” Again, no explanation was given. Several additional requests were not answered at all.

Dareens Cat named Cadi waiting impatiently

Dareen’s cat “Cadi” is waiting impatiently for her release

Last Wednesday, August 22, at the time of the families visits at Damoun, the father went to the prison, even though he knew he could not visit Dareen, hoping, at least, to be allowed to deliver some clothes. The guard at the gate refused his request. When he requested to speak with the responsible officer the guard refused and he remained behind a locked gate.

Prior to the publication of this article, we sent some questions to the Israeli Prison Service for their response. They stated that “according to the Prisons Service Ordinance, it is permitted to authorize visits to convicted prisoners at the end of three months from the day they enter the prison.” Lawyers who know the subject closely from their daily work told me that this is not the usual practice and that visits usually start about two weeks after the start of the sentence. But even if we take the words of the Israeli Prison Service as they said, Dareen was already in prison for more than three months at the beginning of her detention before being transferred to house arrest. Do they start counting the three months every time from scratch?