Hamdi al-Ta’mari freed, thanks Amnesty members

14 January 2010  

On December 14, 2009, 17 year-old Palestinian student Hamdi al-Ta’mari was released from prison after nearly one year. He is now at home with his family. The Israeli military had held Hamdi al-Ta’mari without charge from July to November 2008 and again since December 2008.

At the time of his first arrest, Hamdi was not yet 16 years old. He was beaten, kicked and asked about his alleged membership of a Palestinian militant organization, Islamic Jihad, which Hamdi has denied.

After his second arrest he was brought before a military judge without the presence of a lawyer or family members, and issued with a four-month ‘administrative detention order’, which was twice renewed.

 Such detention orders can be prolonged indefinitely without charge or trial, and violate the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Hamdi al-Ta’mari’s case was featured in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights global letter-writing marathon in December 2009. Amnesty supporters from around the world wrote letters of support and encouragement to Hamdi.

 Hamdi al-Ta’mari has passed on this message to Amnesty supporters: “I received one letter from Amnesty International members, at the beginning, that was the first one. Later the guards refused to pass on the letters to me, they just asked, ‘Where are you getting all these letters from?’

“That way I knew I had many letters and that people knew about me, which made the guards pay attention. I wish I could receive those letters now. When I was released, the guard said ‘You will just be out for a couple of weeks, then you’ll be back’ – maybe he was just kidding.”

 Hamdi plans to resume his studies and apply for the Palestinian secondary school final exams.

Then he hopes to study at university and travel abroad. His whole family is rejoicing and he has been seeing his friends, who organized a party for him.

 

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