Israel defy UN Conventions to extend persecution of human rights lawyer
Since February 2017, Israeli human rights lawyer Zvi Zer has been under arrest, spent 10 months in prison, and 6 months on house arrest, under strict conditions.
His crime? To have allegedly conspired to help two bloggers, also in detention, to promote articles criticizing judges and public officials. Over a dozen urgent requests were sent to human rights sections in the UN, especially over abuse in detention.
The trial has just begun, a huge one which could take another year or more to conclude. After already being acquitted of writing, or any social media impersonations, he is facing indictments of a law that is not even on the Statute books in the State of Israel.
A trial of this nature with activists involved can result in a 'trial by social media'. Unfortunately, this is common.
Days before the trial was due to commence, a 'malicious tip' to the police resulted in his home being raided, (the home of his parents who supervise his house arrest), and all electronic equipment was removed. All the defense materials prepared with this team were also seized. He was accused of breaking his house arrest terms by allegedly sending an email and using social media. The events provided to the UN are:
The investigating officers are Dror Buzaglo and Eli Lurya. Their boss is Yaron Ben Zvi. The Case number is 52689-04-18 at Hashalom Trial Court, Tel Aviv, 1 Weitzman Street.
The Judge who signed the order was Alaa Masrawa. He allowed both seizure of computer properties to be executed in front of 2 witnesses and extraction of computer data without witnesses in "laboratory conditions".
Both orders were violated, there was only one witness and the extraction of data happened at home with a "Magnet mobile unit", which extracts the entire computer and enters into emails, clouds, facebook, whatsapp etc, The order was signed on April 29, 2018 and the search was performed on May 3, 2018 at 10:00 am.
This was approved by Tel Aviv Deputy District Prosecutor Rafi Levy.
Various threats were made in a 5 hour interrogation, suggesting a presumption of guilt, not innocence. Despite court appearances, and a surge of activity to have equipment returned for trial preparation, Attorney Zer did not see the evidence against him.
Almost 3 weeks later, he was presented with 35 pages of evidence of Facebook entries. So miniscule that it was impossible to read. When finally getting the pages enlarged for legibility, it was discovered the use was of the owner of the computer when the lawyer had been incarcerated. Once the equipment was loaned in December, all facebook activity ceased from that date.
One could hope at this stage, that the investigation would be closed. However, it appears the Israeli police do not like to admit their mistakes. The pressure continued and extended to the entire family - parents and siblings. They insisted and pushed for interrogations, claiming if they did not attend, they would be accused of 'hiding' something.
One sibling was interviewed brutally, and another accused today of not preventing Attorney Zer from using the internet. This is in fact permitted. His family and friends are being made to feel as if they are criminals.
The intense stress and pressure caused his own mother to need hospital treatment, but still the authorities insist she is interrogated to answer questions. This is despite proof that no terms had been violated, and the computer was used by its owner last year!
This results in a number of human rights treaties being violated, and the need to send yet another urgent request for action to the UN.
Attorney Zer has been targeted for almost a decade for his work on defending human rights of victims of judicial procedures and his connection to the civil society Ccf (Coalition for Children & Families).
The constant abuse of family members defies all conventions and dignity of human rights.
The most ironic statement made by the arresting Judge Avraham Heiman was that he and the bloggers were
“worse than ISIS or Hamas, having an ideology of evil and the worst people on earth”, for the indictments of insulting public officials and judges.
Given the latest military action of the Israeli IDF, it is a definite exaggeration that a couple of bloggers and a human rights lawyer could be compared to ISIS and Hamas.
However, using all the connections possible, he was indicted with the help of the USA, under the Patriot Act, which has meant this whole trial comes under the label of the Cyber Terrorist Blogger Affair.
Loose talk is a dangerous thing in Israel. Most activists know there are 'agents' planted by the system to disrupt any movements and to infiltrate into groups. It looks likely this was one of those occasions, with the consequence being a risk to life of innocent family members.
The authorities operate on a totalitarian method, the definition being - a system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state.
Efforts to shut down opposition to current methods are highlighted by the Ministry of Justice: -
Appeals to the UN Human Rights Committee against the State of Israel, including the filing of false reports to these committees; filing lawsuits in Israel and abroad against judges, religious judges, legal advisors, ngos, government ministers and other functionaries. In accordance with a directive of the of the Ministry of Justice, in May 2014, an interministerial team was set up to coordinate and integrate the information and activity in various aspects, and to examine how it is possible to promote and make it more efficient to deal with the phenomenon, using the various tools available in the criminal, civil and administrative fields.
Coordination and guidance with regard to the representation of the State in the various UN committees - The ngo’s mentioned above appeal regularly to UN bodies involved with the implementation of the conventions on human rights including the covenant on Economic, social and cultural rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, etc. These petitions include the filing of distorted shadow reports, including the distribution of most blatant statements against the State of Israel, the court system, and the welfare services. Representatives of the organizations come to the committees in Geneva, pass among the members of expert committees various materials and work to influence the recommendations of various committees. The State is required to defend itself against these claims before the committee, which requires a great deal of preparation and the Ministry of Justice employees in charge of this field are being attacked and blatantly threatened by activists in that field. Moreover, the members of these organizations and their representatives appear in various forums in Geneva and denigrate the state, by presenting the "modern Holocaust in the State of Israel" with regard to the "divorced fathers". ". It should be noted that in these performances, they present themselves as members of organizations with consultative status in the UN - and this is not the case. The team has been coordinating diplomatic activities with the representatives of the state in the United Nations and the embassies. There have been several discussions in these committees and in various forums of the UN, which are accompanied by various activists who submit particularly harsh reports against the state, and intensive preparation is required in order to protect the country and present the facts as they are. In addition, there are also diplomatic activities in an attempt to prevent the various organizations from misleadingly presenting themselves as consultative status in the various UN committees or using official logos illegally.
The facts as they really are, according to the Ministry of Justice, are not the facts on the ground, with lawyers, professionals, videos, and a huge cry for international help from Israelis. The cost of prevention of news is far higher than the cost of reforms. It leaves citizens wondering exactly what the agenda can be in the Democratic State of Israel.
An urgent request was filed and received today to the UN, with over 3 treaties violated. Given the millions of shekels spent to defend what the State calls a lie, the mother of the Attorney can testify otherwise.
How long will it be before the supporters of the State understand that the system and authorities within are destroying up to 40% of their citizens.
If the reader has not heard of the largest trial in Israel's history from the mainstream news, especially given the title of terrorism, it is testimony of the Ministry's desperate efforts to prevent the truth being told.