Sheikh Raed Salah being denied basic rights in Israel jails, lawyer says

Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, shortly before being imprisoned (Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  July 12, 2021

Sheikh Raed Salah has been in solitary confinement since he was detained in August 2020 and his basic needs, including being provided a blanket family visits, access to the news and books, have been violated, his lawyer has said.

Omar Khamaisi, a lawyer working for Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights in Nazareth, who recently visited Sheikh Salah in isolation, said his client has repeatedly been transferred between Israeli prisons. He is currently being detained at Raymond jail which is three and a half hours away from his family home.

“There are restrictions on Sheikh Raed’s communication with the outside world. He is prevented from watching Arab news stations and newspapers as well,” Khamaisi said.

“Israeli law allows the prisoner’s family to hand a book or two to the inmate during each visit. However, the Sheikh’s right in this regard is being denied, as he is deprived of acquiring books from his family on flimsy pretexts far from logic and the truth.”

Khamaisi also noted that his client is only allowed to go out for a walk for a few minutes in the prison yard, which is completely closed in all directions, even from above, with prisoners unable to look at the sky “without seeing a barbed-wire barrier.”

Prison authorities regularly raid Salah’s cell, even though he is in solitary confinement and is unable to contact any of the prisoners in the jail.

Sheikh Salah, the lawyer said, has said that some prison guards are targeting him because of who he is and because he is determined to defend his rights.

Salah was detained by Israeli forces in August 2017 and indicted for incitement following his criticism of the erection of metal detectors at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

He was sentenced to 28 months in prison by an Israeli court. He served 11 months, half of which was spent in solitary confinement before he was moved to house arrest.

After two years under house arrest, in August 2020, Salah began a 17-month jail term on incitement charges.