Support Hana ShalbiHANA YAHYA SHALABI
Date of birth: 2 July 1982
Place of detention: Hasharon prison
Date of arrest: 14 September 2009
Place of residence: Burqin, Jenin
P.O. Box 7
Expected end of administrative detention order: 13 March 2010
ARREST AND INTERROGATION
Hana Yahya Shalabi was arrested from her family home on 14 September 2009. At
approximately 1:30 a.m. that morning, Israeli soldiers in 12 military jeeps surrounded her
house in Burqin village, near the West Bank town of Jenin. The soldiers ordered Hana’s entire
family outside of the house and demanded Hana give them her identity card. They then
proceeded to conduct a thorough search of the family’s home. During the search, one of the
soldiers forcibly removed framed pictures of Hana’s brother Samer, who was killed by the
Israeli army in 2005, tore them apart and walked over the pieces in front of the entire family.
The soldiers then started shouting and cursing at Hana and her family members. When Hana’s
father, aged 63, attempted to intervene and protect his daughter from continued verbal abuse,
one Israeli soldier pushed him in the chest with the butt of a rifle. Clearly distressed, Hana’s
mother fainted at this scene. The soldiers then handcuffed Hana in painfully tight shackles
around her wrists and placed her under arrest.
Hana was then transferred by military jeep to Salem Detention Center. During the transfer,
Hana’s abaya, a traditional Muslim religious dress covering the entire body worn by women
over home clothes, came open, uncovering her clothes and parts of her body. Some of the
male soldiers accompanying her in the jeep took pictures of her at this point, consciously
exploiting her situation, knowing she would feel offended and humiliated by such photos.
Upon arrival to Salem Detention Center, a doctor gave Hana a quick physical examination.
Immediately after the examination, Hana was transferred to Kishon Detention Center inside
Israel where her interrogation formally began.
Solitary confinement and abuse
Hana was held in solitary confinement at Kishon Detention Center for eight consecutive days,
in a cell measuring six square meters that contained no windows or natural sunlight. The cell
contained only a mattress and a bathroom, and was reportedly very dirty. Hana was subjected
to exhausting interrogation sessions every day, which lasted from 10:00 a.m. until the late
evening hours. The lack of natural sunlight during this period caused her to lose all sense of
time and she was often unable to determine whether it was night or day. As this period of
isolation and disorientation coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, Hana was unable to
monitor time in order to respect her fast. As a result, she decided not to eat at all, refusing
meals and drinking water only during the entire eight day period.
Hana was also subjected to sexual harassment and physical violence during her interrogation.
Hana told Addameer attorney Safa Abdo of an incident that occurred at end of an
interrogation session, in which she did not confess to committing a crime, as her interrogators
had expected. In a move that Addameer contends was an effort to provoke Hana, one of the
Israeli interrogators called Hana “habibti” (Arabic for “darling”) in a provocative manner.
Feeling humiliated and angry at the interrogator’s offensive use of an intimate term, Hana
started shouting at him. The interrogators responded by slapping her on her face and beating
her on her arms and hands. The guards then took her back to her cell where they tied her to
the bed frame and continued humiliating her by taking pictures of her laying in that position.
Addameer is greatly concerned by the verbal abuse Israeli detaining authorities display
towards Palestinian female prisoners by directing sexual threats towards them and using
inappropriate, vulgar language. Addameer contends that this behavior is done in a deliberate
effort to exploit Palestinian women’s fears by playing on patriarchal norms as well as gender
stereotypes within particular customs of Palestinian society.
After Hana’s interrogation period concluded, she remained in Kishon Detention Center for
nine additional days, which Israeli authorities claimed were necessary for the purpose of
On 29 September 2009, Israeli Military Commander Ilan Malka issued a six-month
administrative detention order against Hana on the premise that she posed a threat to the
“security of the area”. The order was set to expire on 28 March 2010. At the judicial review of
the order, which took place on 5 October 2009 at the Court of Administrative Detainees in
Ofer Military Base, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, military judge Ilan Nun confirmed
the order for the entire six month period, but agreed to count the two weeks Hana had already
been detained towards her detention period. In his decision, Nun alleged that, based on the
“secret information” made available to him by the military prosecution, Hana was intending
to carry out a “terrorist attack”. The judge further claimed that Hana had already undertaken
initial steps in preparation for the attack, though he provided no proof to support this
Addameer contends that the judge’s decision raises serious questions and fair trial issues.
Seventeen days of investigation by the Israeli Security Agency, including eight days of
consecutive interrogation did not prove the suspicions against Hana and no evidence of the
alleged “intention” was brought before the court. Moreover, at no point did the court establish
Hana’s affiliation with a Palestinian political party or armed group, nor did it establish
whether Hana planned to carry out the alleged attack by herself or in partnership with anyone
else. Additionally, the nature of a possible partnership was never investigated. Importantly, all
suspicions directed towards Hana remained vague and general, leaving her without any
legitimate means to defend herself. Although administrative detention orders issued by the
Israeli military commander are the subject of review and further appeal by a military court,
neither lawyers nor detainees are permitted to see the ‘secret information’ used as a basis for
the detention orders, rendering any possible legal defense meaningless.
Hana’s attorneys filed an appeal against her administrative detention order, but the appeal was
refused. Hana is now set to be held without charge or trial until 13 March 2010.
Prior to her transfer to HaSharon Prison, Hana spent a total of 17 days in Kishon Detention
Center, where she was not once given a change of clean clothes. Hana continued to be
detained in interrogation-like conditions for three days after her administrative detention order
was issued. On 1 October 2009, she was eventually transferred to Section 2 of HaSharon
Prison, where, due to overcrowding, she was placed in the same section as female Israeli
criminal offenders. This placement is a direct violation of Israeli Prison Service Regulations,
which stipulate that administrative detainees are to be held separately from all other detainees
and prisoners, including those who have been convicted of a crime. Moreover, while detained
in the same sections as Israeli criminal offenders, Palestinian female prisoners are almost
always discriminated against, enjoy fewer recreation hours and are often subjected to
humiliation and abusive language from Israeli prisoners, who threaten them of physical
attack. As a result, Palestinian women live in constant fear and often experience insomnia,
and other psychological problems for the entire time they are detained in the same sections
with Israeli women.
Addameer attorney Safa Abdo filed a complaint with the HaSharon Prison administration
regarding Hana’s detention conditions. On 25 October 2009, after being held for 25 days
among Israeli criminal offenders, Hana was finally moved to Section 12 of HaSharon Prison
with the other Palestinian female prisoners.
Hana remains held in Section 12 of HaSharon Prison, one of Israel’s largest facilities, together
with approximately 18 other Palestinian female prisoners. The building which now constitutes
the prison complex served as the headquarters of the British Mounted Police during the
British Mandate in Palestine and, as such, was never designed for the incarceration of women.
As a result, Hana suffers from the harsh detention conditions and complains of overcrowding,
humidity, lack of natural sunlight and adequate ventilation, as well as poor hygiene
1 Please refer to “In Need for Protection: Palestinian Female Prisoners in Israeli Detention” for detailed
information on Palestinian women prisoners’ detention conditions in Israeli prisons. Available at:
Prior to her arrest by the Israeli authorities, Hana was arrested and held by the Palestinian
intelligence forces for a week in 2009 for the purpose of interrogation. During this period,
Hana was permitted to sleep at home and was kept in detention from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00
p.m. each day.
Hana is one of nine children in a family of farmers in Burqin village, next to Jenin. On 29
September 2005, Hana’s brother Samer was killed by Israeli forces during an incursion in the
village. Although Hana never intended to pursue university studies after completing her
secondary education, she now vows to study journalism after she is released to advocate for
the rights of Palestinian prisoners.
Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold detainees
indefinitely on secret evidence without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. In the
occupied Palestinian West Bank, the Israeli army is authorized to issue administrative
detention orders against Palestinian civilians on the basis of Military Order 1591. This order
empowers military commanders to detain an individual for up to six month renewable periods
if they have “reasonable grounds to presume that the security of the area or public security
require the detention.” On or just before the expiry date, the detention order is frequently
renewed. This process can be continued indefinitely.
Here is how you can help Ms. Hana Shalabi:
• Send Hana letters of support to her postal address in prison
• Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that Hana be
released immediately and that her administrative detention not be renewed.
• Write to your own elected representatives urging them to pressure Israel to release Hana
and to put an end to Israel’s unlawful, arbitrary and cruel system of incarceration without
For more information about administrative detention and Addameer’s Campaign to Stop
Administrative Detention please visit our website: www.addameer.info