On the night of the 28th to 29th of April 2014, the Israeli army raided the village of Kafr Qaddum to arrest five people, among them Murad Eshtewi, the media coordinator of the weekly Friday demonstration in Kafr Qaddum. 12th May 2014 | International Solidarity Movement
Nablus Team, Kafr Qaddum | Occupied Palestine

The four other young men who where arrested are Reslan Joma, Ream Harham, Mustafa Eshtewi and Ahmad Hassan Eshtewi.

At this time, all five are still imprisoned by Israeli forces in Meggido prison. This prison is located north of the West Bank and thereby contradicting Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which states that “Protected persons accused of offences shall be detained in the occupied country, and if convicted they shall serve their sentences therein”.

Murad is being charged with stone throwing and organizing the demonstration, while the remaining four youth are also charged with stone throwing.

Witnesses from the village state that the Israeli army, numbering approximately 100 soldiers, raided the different houses at approximately 2:30 am. Murad was arrested at his house, however the Israeli army used unconventional methods to arrest him. The soldiers climbed into Murad’s bedroom window, using ladders, and took him out of the window.

Although no tear gas or stun grenades were used during the arrests, the other four houses that were raided in Kafr Qaddum suffered serious property damage.

According to Murad’s attorney, two youth from Kafr Qaddum were arrested 12 weeks ago. They were held in custody and interrogated for a month and forced to give out names of people participating in the weekly Friday demonstration in their village. The lawyer suspects that Murad Eshtewi and the four youths arrested during the night raid were on the list.

Murad Eshtewi was ambushed and arrested by Israeli forces on December 2013, but he was released on bail four days later. His attorney at the time stated that: “Contrary to the fundamental principles of due process we have not been presented with the accusations against Murad nor has he been interrogated since his arrest.”

Currently, Murad and the other villagers from Kafr Qaddum have been in custody for 12 days. During this period, they have had two court hearings in which their sentences were postponed, allegedly to collect more evidence.

The weekly Friday demonstrations in Kafr Qaddum started in 2011 to reopen the road to Nablus and against the illegal Israeli settlement of Qedumim. The Israeli army responded with systematic arrests.

In some cases, the detainees would be under custody for one or two days and then released on bail.

According to the former mayor of Kafr Qaddum, this has had an important economic impact: approximately 250,000 shekels (almost 52,000 euros) have been paid by local villagers to release their detainees.

As of today, there are 155 villagers from Kafr Qaddum detained in Israeli prisons out of a total population of approximately 4,500.

See related link: ‘Israel to Expand Megiddo Prison’