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London HP Protest - Palestinian Father Asks Hewlett Packard To Stop Profiting From His Imprisoned Son's Torture
20 February 2017
I ask Hewlett Packard to show some humanity and stop profiting from my son’s torture and imprisonment..
father of tortured prisoner Mohammed al-Halabi
On Saturday 18th February 2017, Inminds human rights group protested on the Southbank of the river Thames in London to demand the American multi-national Hewlett Packard ( HP / HPE) end its complicity in Israel's war crimes against the Palestinian people, in particular end it contracts with the Israeli prison service which is guilty of torturing Palestinian political prisoners, including young children.
Inminds chair Abbas Ali said "The United Nations Rights of the Child reports that Israel abducts, cages, tortures and sexually abuses young Palestinian children in its military prisons. We are here to expose HP's hidden role in these crimes. They provides the systems and servers that keep these hell holes open. We are also here to demand the immediate release of renowned Palestinian humanitarian Mohammed al-Halabi and British father Fayez Sharary, both of whom have been tortured in HP powered Israeli interrogation centres and are currently languishing in HP powered Israeli prisons."
In 2014 Mohammed al–Halabi was honoured by the United Nations as its “Humanitarian Hero” for his work with traumatised children in Gaza for the Christian charity World Vision. In June 2016, whilst returning from a World Vision meeting, he was abducted by Israel and severely tortured. In a message read out at the protest, Mohammed's father Khalail al-Halabi castigated Hewlett Packard's role in his son's suffering "How can the company Hewett Packard be involved in these crimes? Have they no shame, taking advantage of our prisoners? I ask Hewlett Packard to show some humanity and stop profiting from my son’s torture and imprisonment." He asked for international solidarity for his son's release "We ask all upholders of peace and justice to stand united alongside us, and to demand Mohammed’s immediate release."
Laila Sharary, wife of British citizen Fayez Sharary who was abducted and tortured by Israel whilst visiting his elderly parents in Palestine in September 2016, made a passionate plea for her husbands release "I am pleading with the world’s human rights activists to help free my beloved husband, and return him safe and sound to the bosom of his family back here, in London." She lamented the lack of action by the British government: "While my husband languishes in Ofer prison, the only response I get from the British Consulate in Palestine is that they have no news for me. I urge you treat my husband like you would any other British Citizen.. and make absolutely sure that everything that can be done, is being done to facilitate my husband's release."
Inminds chair Abbas Ali concluded "Today's audience of Londoners and tourists were deeply sympathetic towards the protest, many wishing to donate money, shaking our hands and hugging us to thanks us for exposing Israel's war crimes and HP's complicity in them. All vowing to boycott HP. It was an eye opener for people to learn that their friendly printer company has such a dark secret, and they were eager to learn more - over 1200 leaflets were snapped up in two hours, and many people insisted on taking photos of each of our information banners so they could study them at home. We are succeeding at gradually chiselling away at the PR image HP is projecting."
VIDEO: London Protest - Palestinian father asks HP to stop profiting from son's torture
Hewlett Packard complicity in Israel's war crimes
We are here today on the Southbank of the river Thames in the centre of London to expose Hewlett Packard. When we think of HP we think of it as a simple printer and office supplies company. Many of you will have HP printers, HP ink, HP paper, HP laptops and HP monitors in your homes and offices. But HP is much more that an office supplies and printer company. Did you know that HP is one of the top 20 defence contractors in the US, an arms dealer with arms sales worth $3 billion in 2011? These figures for arms sales are from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. They clarify what they mean by arms sales - Arms sales are defined as goods & services designed specifically for military purpose and doesn't include general purpose equipment like office computers. Further they state that theses figure may be underestimates as it doesn't include classified contracts.
HP might not make bullets, what they make is far more deadly. They specialize in developing the IT infrastructure that is essential for a modern military to function. And who do they make these specialised killing systems for? Well Hewlett-Packard operates in 178 countries around the world, but in HP's own words "Israel is one of the few countries where HP has a massive presence.. In the past decade, HP has invested over $6 billion in the acquisition of Israeli companies, including the establishment of production plants.. HP is the second largest investor in Israeli IT."
In 2011 HP won Israel's largest ever servers tender, worth an estimated $140 million. Under the tender HP implements and manages the entire server farm of the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the Israeli army. Those HP servers form the IT backbone of the entire Israeli war machine making HP complicit in Israel's war crimes.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has found Israel guilty of war crimes when in 2014 its attack on Gaza resulted in the slaughter of nearly 1,500 Palestinian civilians, over a third of whom were children. Unicef reported that apart from murdering over 500 children it left well over a thousand children with permanent disabilities and more that 1500 children were orphaned.
Shame on you HP! Shame on you HP!
Hewlett Packard is thoroughly nasty company that supports the illegal Israel occupation in many, many different ways from the biometric access control systems used by Israel at illegal checkpoints deep inside occupied territory; to producing the apartheid colour coded ID cards that Israel uses to discriminate against non-Jews; to directly supporting Israel’s illegal settler colonies on the West Bank.. but today I just want to focus on one area.. their support for Israel’s torture dens and dungeons!
HP - Israel Prisons
Hewlett Packard also provides the essential IT services and infrastructure that enable the Israeli Prison Service to function. Their prisons and interrogation centres where Palestinian children are caged and tortured are powered by HP.
Last year between Oct 2015 and Aug 2016 Israel abducted and caged 2,320 Palestinian children, some as young as 11 years old - that's more than one child taken from their parents every 4 hours! Just imagine for a second what that means – every 4 hours one child is taken from their parents..
What happens to these children? Figures for Jerusalem show that 40% of the children were sexually abused by Israeli soldiers during arrest or interrogation. During interrogation 75% of Palestinian children detained by Israel are physically tortured.
The United Nations "Rights Of The Child" report documents the brutal torture of Palestinian children as standard practice during interrogations in order to coerce confessions, usually to stone throwing which carries a sentence of up to 20 years' imprisonment.
In the words of the United Nations Rights of the Child report 4th July 2013 children are “systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture.. physical and verbal violence, humiliation, painful restraints, hooding of the head and face in a sack, threatened with death, physical violence, and sexual assault against themselves or members of their family, restricted access to toilet, food and water. These crimes are perpetrated from the time of arrest, during transfer and interrogation, to obtain a confession but also on an arbitrary basis as testified by several Israeli soldiers as well as during pre-trial detention..” That was a direct quote from the United Nations Rights of the Child report 4th July 2013.
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel states that over a 1000 complaints of torture have been submitted but not a single complaint has led to a criminal investigation, let alone a trial or a conviction. Israeli law has never criminalized torture and whilst Israel is a signatory to the UN Conventions Against Torture it insists that it doesn't apply to Palestinians.
United Nations funded “Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture for Occupied Palestinian Territory”, in 2014, treated 845 Palestinian victims of torture including 317 women and 135 children.
Hewlett Packard keeps those torture dens and dungeons where Palestinian children are caged and abused, operational by the IT infrastructure it provides to the Israeli Prison Service. These dungeons and torture dens are where Palestinian children as young as 12 years old are brutally tortured and caged in 1m x 3m dark holes in the grounds for months without charge or trial!
Shame on you HP! Shame on you HP!
HP - Torture
72 Palestinian prisoners have been tortured to death in Israeli prisons since 1967. The latest being father of five young children, Raed Abdul-Salam al-Jabari, who died following interrogation at Eshel prison on 9th Sep 2014. He had been arrested over a simple car accident involving an illegal Israeli settler. The Israeli Prison Service claimed he had committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell but the autopsy revealed he had been savagely tortured with repeated blows to the head and face causing brain haemorrhage. His neck showed no signs of hanging.
HP keeps these hell holes operational with its IT infrastructure, services and servers.
Shame on you HP! Shame on you HP!
HP developed the Kidma information system for the Israeli Prison Service which includes the prisoners management system and intelligence subs systems, helping the occupation keep illegal records on Palestinians it has abducted and their families.
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Children has reported that Palestinian child prisoners are often coerced to confess by sexually threatening their family members or themselves. One such case is that of Ali Shamlawi. At age 16 he was abducted from his home by Israeli soldiers. He was caged in solitary confinement for two weeks in a filthy 1m x 3m windowless underground cell 3 floors below the surface, and then violently tortured. But he still refused to confess to their trump up charges of stone throwing.
Then the interrogator, having looked up Ali's family details, realised he had a younger sister. So he sexually threatened Ali’s younger sister to coerce a confession out of Ali of throwing stones. Once they had the false confession they sentenced Ali to 15 years imprisonment. Ali has been in prison for over three and half years now.
HP is fully complicit in these crimes.
Shame on you HP! Shame on you HP!
Many of you today will be parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts of young children.. We all have a responsibility and choices to make. The clearest message we can send Hewlett Packard that we dont approve of their complicity in the murder and torture of children in Palestine is by boycotting their products and letting them know why. Thank you.
Boycott Israel! Boycott HP! Free Palestine!
Today there are over 6000 Palestinian political prisoners in HP powered Israeli prisons, including women and children, many caged without a charge or trial. One of them is Mohammed al-Halabi. Mohammed is a renowned humanitarian aid worker in Gaza, heading the Christian charity World Vision’s Gaza operation. UNICEF reports that Israel’s attack on Gaza in 2014 left hundreds of thousands of children in trauma. Mohammed works with these traumatised children , creating safe spaces for them to try and rehabilitate them back from trauma. He also helps provide basic humanitarian assistance, under his leadership World Vision provides for 40,000 children in Gaza. In 2014 Mohammed al –Halabi was honoured by the United Nations as its “Humanitarian Hero”. In an interview for his award Mohammed was asked what was his most memorable experience during his work.
He replied “One of the children in our programs in 2009 had lost two of her young cousins and her hair was burnt after a white phosphorous bomb has fallen on her home. She was severely traumatized, was isolated in her room and was not talking to anyone. A few months after she joined our programs, she became a leader for a group of children and I met her while she was educating them about child rights and singing for peace. I was so touched with the experience and will never forget the happiness I felt at this moment.”
Whilst on his way home to Gaza from a World Vision meeting in Jerusalem, Mohammed al-Halabi was taken by soldiers at the crossing to Gaza. He disappeared for 21 days, prevented from seeing a lawyer, he was severely tortured. Bound to a small chair, the Israeli interrogators beat him senseless. But he still refused to sign their ludicrous confession of having diverted $50 million from World Visions humanitarian fund to Hamas.
World Vision International CEO Kevin Jenkins pointed to discrepancies in the Shin Bet charges: "World Vision's cumulative operating budget in Gaza for the past 10 years was approximately $22.5m, which makes the alleged amount of up to $50m being diverted hard to reconcile." He also pointed out that Mohammed al-Halabi "was the manager of our Gaza operations only since October 2014. Before that time he managed only portions of the Gaza budget. World Vision's accountability processes cap the amount individuals in management positions at his level to a signing authority of US$15,000,".
In response to these facts, the Israel foreign affairs spokesman Emmanual Nachshon simply replied it was irrelevant. The reality is that for Israel the facts don’t matter, this is not about Mohammed al-Halabi, it’s part of a carefully planned attack on humanitarian providers in Gaza. A Save the Children staff worker, and also a United Nations Development Programme worker have also been similarly accused of similar baseless charges. With Mohammed al-Halabi’s arrest, Israel has frozen World Visions bank accounts in Jerusalem. This has forced World Vision to closed down operations in Gaza, immediately putting at risk the the lives of the 40,000 children that it provides for in Gaza. Israel is not content with bombing children in Gaza, it is now after those children that survived the slaughter and those humanitarians who care for them.
We have a message from Gaza, from Mohammed al-Halabi’s father Khalil al-Halabi, especially written for todays protest:
I am Khalil Al Halabi, my son Mohammed has been imprisoned by Israel since June of last year.
The injustice that Mohammed faced has been incalculable;
He was arrested whilst returning from a meeting with World Vision colleagues, discussing the provision of aid for cancer patients, and seeking solutions to help the considerable amount of children needing psychological support due to the ten-year siege on Gaza.
Additionally, Mohammed was working to help fishermen and farmers. His mission has always been of a purely humanitarian nature, so how could anyone in their wildest dreams, make a connection between his selfless work and terrorism ?
Those same Gazan children, who have been deprived of Mohammed’s help, are pleading with the whole world and all Human Rights Associations to work to release my son, so he can resume his vocation.
They ask the Israeli children “are we not children, just like you? Do we not have the same rights?”
Mohammed himself, has five children who miss their father. Not a day goes by without them yearning for him, like all other children in the world.
How can the same man, who was awarded “humanitarian Of The Year” by the UN in 2014 be imprisoned and tortured?
How can the company Hewett Packard be involved in these crimes?
Have they no shame, taking advantage of our prisoners?
I ask Hewlett Packard to show some humanity and stop profiting from my son’s torture and imprisonment.
We ask all upholders of peace and justice to stand united alongside us, and to demand Mohammed’s immediate release!
Another Palestinian prisoner who has been recently tortured by Israel in an HP powered interrogation centre is father of 5 children, Fayez Sharary. Fayez Sharary is British citizen, who has lived in this city of London for over 23 years. In September he travelled to the West Bank with his wife Laila and their 3 years old daughter Aya to spend the festival of Eid Al-Adha with their elderly parents in Palestine and to fulfil their dream of praying in the sacred Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
On their way home Fayez was taken in front of his family by Israel soldiers. They abused his wife Laila, shouting at her and forcing her to strip search in exchange for a toilet for her 3 year old daughter which they never provided.
Fayez was taken to Petah Tikva Interrogation Centre in Israel and tortured for 3 weeks until he broke. He was denied a lawyer for these 3 weeks until he signed their forced confession on 6th October 2016. Soon after that he was moved to Ofer prison in the West Bank where he is still caged today.
Fayez managed to get a message out to his wife via another prisoner. Laila finally managed to speak to her husband on the phone for the first time on 17th October, over a month after he was taken.
At his military court hearing on 26th October even the Israeli judge, Judge Lt.-Col. Azriel Levi, admitted Fayez had been tortured and ordered his release, saying that "There's no doubt that the defendant's confession, which was given an hour after the end of his Shin Bet interrogation, was dramatically influenced by the method of interrogation, which also included pained and prolonged shackling, threats, and a blatant exploitation of the defendant's demonstrated weakness." Keeping prisoners shackled in back breaking stress positions for hours on end is standard practice in Shin Bet interrogations. He pointed out that "Shin Bet’s own record of the interrogations included multiple statements by Sharary that he was downcast and ready to admit to whatever they asked him to admit to".
In light of the torture, Judge Azrieli said Fayez’s confession was “not given voluntarily” and its “value was zero.” The Judge added that several of the crimes attributed to Sharary did not even fit the definitions of crimes under the IDF’s West Bank laws.
Despite the judge’s ruling Fayez Sharary was never released and is still caged at Israel's notorious HP powered dungeon at Ofer in the West Bank.
We are honoured to have Fayez Sharary’s wife Laila Sharary here; she has a short message to read out:
My name is Laila Sharary. I am the wife of Fayez Sharary, who was unlawfully arrested on September 15th 2016.
We had traveled to Palestine to be with our respective families for Eid el Adha, and as we were leaving, Fayez was arrested.
My husband has never in his life participated in any political activity. Even an Israeli judge declared that the confession that the police obtained is null and void, and that it was forced out through torture and duress!
My husband is the gentlest of men, he wouldn’t hurt a fly, and the children and I miss him terribly, especially our three year old daughter, Aya, who always asks where her father is; I am afraid this episode has traumatized her.
Fayez was imprisoned without being allowed to consult a lawyer.
Among our confiscated personal luggage, was Aya’s security blanket; a small square soft toweling pink blanket, with a rabbit image printed on it; Aya has been missing that blanket terribly, but she takes comfort, even at her young age, that the blanket has stayed behind with her father, giving him comfort and keeping her close to his heart.
That this can happen to someone who’s merely visiting Palestine is astounding; that this happens to someone with a British nationality and no British institution has resolved this yet, beggars belief!
While my husband languishes in Ofer prison, the only response I get from the British Consulate in Palestine is that they have no news for me.
I urge you treat my husband like you would any other British Citizen and send someone senior from your department to oversee the court case tomorrow 19th February, and make absolutely sure that everything that can be done, is being done to facilitate my husband’s release.
I am also pleading with the world’s human rights activists to help free my beloved husband, and return him safe and sound to the bosom of his family back here, in London.
Freedom to my husband, freedom to all Palestinian political prisoners, free Palestine!
Also Of Interest
Page URL: http://inminds.com/article.php?id=10745