Detention of New Profile activists
Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Attorney General Menachem Mazuz). You can add your own notes in a separate box after the standard text, if you wish. You must include a name, address, and email address; a copy will be sent to you with a cc to the WRI office (so we have a record of how many email letters have been sent out for this particular case).
Dear Attorney General Menachem Mazuz,
On 26 April 2009, five members of WRI's Israeli affiliate New Profile were detained by Israeli police, their homes raided, and their computers, and also computers of partners, seized. Among those detailed was also Sergeiy Sandler, a member of the WRI Council and Executive Committee. All those detained were interrogated at Ramat Hachiyal police station in the Yarkon Region of the police. After the interrogation, all five were released, but only after agreeing to bail conditions which do not allow them to contact each other in the coming thirty days. The computers of partners were returned, but not the computers of those detained. Other Israeli activists have been summoned to report to the same police station on 27 April 2009.
The reason given by the police is an investigation against the website of New Profile (http://www.newprofile.org) and Target 21 (http://www.target-21.h1.ru/), a Russian language website for violations to article 109 of the Israeli criminal law, incitement to draft evasion. The investigation had been opened in September 2008, following an order of Israel's Attorney General Menachem Mazuz. This followed the declaration of a “war on draft evasion” by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi in summer 2008.
New Profile is an Israeli feminist organisation for the civil-ization of Israeli society, established ten years ago. The movement has been warning for years of the exaggerated and destructive influence of Israeli militarism on civilian life, and provides legal aid and social support to young people desiring not to do military service, both for political and personal reasons. New Profile provides information about different options, enabling young men and women to make a conscious choice, but does not advocate any specific course of action.
While New Profile is now the target of a criminal investigation, aimed at shutting down the organisation and its website for incitement to draft evasion, it has to be pointed out that not New Profile, but the state of Israel is violating international law by not providing for the right to conscientious objection (Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). This has been repeatedly stated by several United Nations bodies (I.e. Human Rights Committee: Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee: Israel. 21/08/2003. CCPR/CO/78/ISR. (Concluding Observations/Comments), http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/CCPR.CO.78.ISR.En?Opendocument; Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: OPINION No. 24/2003 (ISRAEL), 28 November 2003, http://wri-irg.org/node/6481).
If the Israeli government is concerned at the extent of rejection of military service by Israeli youth, then it should not harass those who offer good counsel but rather recognise the growing revulsion at the role the Israeli Defence Forces play – using criminal methods to maintain an occupation that is itself illegal.
I strongly condemn the present investigation against New Profile, and the detention of New Profile activist. I strongly condemns the bail conditions that were imposed on their release, which are aimed at disrupting the important work of New Profile.
I demand an end to the investigation against New Profile and its activists, and the immediate lifting of bail conditions, and the return of all properties seized.