May 17, 2010
Following Ameer Makhoul's arrest by Israeli General Security Service (GSS or the "Shabak") in the early hours of May 6, 2010, two detention hearings have been held at the Petah Tikva court extending his detention. At both of these hearings, the detention was extended without Mr. Makhoul having the right to meet his lawyers, not even at the hearings; this is accomplished by not having both in the court room at the same time. Mr. Makhoul has been charged with “contact with a foreign agent” on the basis of “secret evidence”.
Mr. Makhoul is a political activist and serves as the General Director of Ittijah – The Union of Arab Community-Based Associations and Chairman of the Public Committee for the Protection of Political Freedoms in the framework of the High Follow-up Committee for the Arab Citizens of Israel.
All appeals against the prohibition of meeting with a lawyer have been rejected by the courts. Therefore, Mr. Makhoul's legal defense team, comprising of Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein (HRA Board Member and Ittijah Chairperson) and Adalah Attorneys Orna Kohn and Hassan Jabareen, has declared that they will not participate in his detention hearing today, 17 May, unless he is allowed to meet his lawyers. This prohibition seriously violates Ameer Makhoul's basic freedoms and legal rights to meet with his lawyers, and prevents from fair legal proceedings. The legal team is convinced that due to the prohibition and the total lack of respect for due process, representing Ameer Makhoul in the detention hearings has become meaningless.
At the hearing today, May 17, the lawyers submitted a motion to the court asking it to inform Ameer Makhoul of their decision. A demonstration was also held before the court protesting the continued detention of Ameer Makhoul and prevention of meeting with his lawyers.
As a result, the court decided it would extend Mr. Makhoul's detention until 9 pm this evening, at which point he will be allowed to meet with his lawyers and a hearing will be held to discuss his case.