Other Group

Addameer Prison Support and Human Rights Association

Website:

addameer.org

Type:

Palestinian Legal Aid Organization

Formation:

1991

General Director:

Sahar Francis

Location:

Ramallah, West Bank

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Addameer Prison Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer) is a Palestinian organization that advocates for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli custody. The organization was founded in 1991 in Jerusalem and moved to Ramallah in 1998. 1

Addameer provides legal aid and lobbying for said prisoners. Addameer also serves as a watchdog, documenting and reporting on alleged prisoners’ rights violations in Israeli prisons. 2 In October 2021, the Israeli Defense Ministry designated the group as a terrorist organization, alleging that Addameer had connections to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). 3

Activities

In 2009, as part of a testimony delivered before the United Nations Human Rights Office, Addameer director Sahar Francis claimed that more than 750,000 Palestinians had been detained at some point by the Government of Israel since the 1967 Six Day War, including approximately 8,100 Palestinians imprisoned by the Israelis at the time of her testimony. In 2019, Addameer took on 316 new legal clients and counseled 89 additional families. They succeeded in freeing or shortening the sentences of 150 Palestinian prisoners and conducted hundreds of visits to Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) prisons to monitor prisoners’ conditions and defend their legal rights. 4

Addameer produces a yearly report of “Violations” allegedly committed by the Israeli government, which it accuses of occupying Palestinian land. It accuses the government of dozens of racist actions against all Palestinians, particularly those incarcerated in Israeli prisons. It also accuses the Israeli government of torture and inhumane treatment in violation of international law. 5

Israeli Designation

In 2021, the Israeli Defense Ministry designated Addameer as a terrorist organization, alleging that Addameer had connections to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Marxist-Leninist terrorist group that opposes Israeli right to exist and has conducted numerous attacks throughout the West beginning in the 1960s. 6 7

Leadership

Sahar Francis has been the general director of Addameer since 2006.  An attorney by training, she joined the association in 1998, first as a human rights lawyer, then as head of the Legal Unit. 8 After the 2021 designation of Addameer as a terrorist organization, Francis testified in defense of the organization before an international group in Geneva, accusing the Israeli government of multiple violations of human rights and international law. 9 In 2002, Francis faced accusations of helping her clients hide evidence in their criminal trials, although she was ultimately acquitted of the charge. 10

Khalida Jarrar is a former director of Addameer and an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. 11 She played a critical role in the Palestinian Authority’s successful 2015 bid to join the International Criminal Court (ICC). Shortly thereafter, Israeli forces arrested her for disobeying their order to relocate from the city of Ramallah. 12 She was also detained in 2019 along with senior members of PFLP after the PFLP conducted a terror attack that took the life of a 17-year-old Israeli girl. She was released in September 2021. While Palestinian human rights groups decried the Israeli security forces’ decision to hold Jarrar indefinitely without bringing criminal charges, Israeli security officials contend that releasing an indictment in that case would have compromised national security. 13 14

In 2022, the Clarion Project alleged that numerous other current and former board members of Addameer had ties to the PFLP, including several who had served time in prison for terrorism offenses. 15

Israel-Hamas War

Addameer has continued its strong anti-Israel stance through the 2023-2024 Israel-Hamas war. A November 2023 report included information on violence and arrests happening in the West Bank, and accused Israeli forces of occupying the West Bank unlawfully while killing thousands of women and children. The report also referred to several prisoners as “martyrs.” 16

References

  1. Henriette Chacar “‘Change Doesn’t Come from the Courthouses Alone.’” +972 Magazine. February 21, 2019. Accessed March 11, 2024. . https://www.972mag.com/addameer-palestinian-prisoners-sahar-francis/
  2. “Our Work.” Addameer. Accessed March 11, 2024. https://www.addameer.org/about/our-work
  3. U.S. Department of State. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Israel, West Bank, and Gaza. Accessed March 11, 2024. https://www.state.gov/reports/2022-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/israel-west-bank-and-gaza/
  4. Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.”Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories.” September 25, 2009. Accessed March 11, 2024. https://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/12session/a-hrc-12-48.pdf
  5. “Annual Violations Report – 2022.” Addameer. Accessed March 11, 2024. https://www.addameer.org/sites/default/files/publications/damir%20e%20for%20social.pdf
  6. U.S. Department of State. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Israel, West Bank, and Gaza. Accessed March 11, 2024. https://www.state.gov/reports/2022-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/israel-west-bank-and-gaza/
  7. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 5 Mar. 2024, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Popular-Front-for-the-Liberation-of-Palestine.Accessed 11 March 2024.
  8. “Sahar Francis: Biography”. Addameer. Accessed March 11, 2024. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/documents/dplc/dv/cv_sahar_/cv_sahar_en.pdf
  9. “Addameer Submits Testimony During the Commission of Inquiry on the OPT and Israel’s Public Hearings.” Addameer. November 13, 2022. Accessed March 11, 2024. https://www.addameer.org/news/4925
  10. Henriette Chacar “‘Change Doesn’t Come from the Courthouses Alone.’” +972 Magazine. February 21, 2019. Accessed March 11, 2024. . https://www.972mag.com/addameer-palestinian-prisoners-sahar-francis/
  11. Henriette Chacar “‘Change Doesn’t Come from the Courthouses Alone.’” +972 Magazine. February 21, 2019. Accessed March 11, 2024. . https://www.972mag.com/addameer-palestinian-prisoners-sahar-francis/
  12. MEE Staff. “Israel Arrests Leftist Lawmaker Khalida Jarrar.” Middle East Eye. April 3, 2015. Accessed March 11, 2024. https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-arrests-leftist-lawmaker-khalida-jarrar
  13. Al Jazeera Staff. “Palestinian MP Khalida Jarrar Released from Israeli Prison.” Al Jazeera. September 26, 2021. Accessed March 11, 2024. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/9/26/palestinian-mp-khalida-jarrar-released-from-israeli-prison
  14. Aaron Boxerman. “Israel Releases Senior PFLP Member Khalida Jarrar after 2 Years in Prison.” The Times of Israel. September 26, 2021. Accessed March 11, 2024.  https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-releases-senior-pflp-member-khalida-jarrar-after-2-years-in-prison/
  15. Mauro, Ryan, and Alex Vanness. “Appendix 2: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.” In Army of NGOs, 25–39. Clarion Project. Accessed March 29, 2024. https://clarionproject.org/2022/11/16/army-of-ngos/.
  16. “Addameer Reviews the Most Recent Developments Inside the Occupation’s Prisons and the Ongoing Arrest Campaigns in the West Bank and Occupied Jerusalem.” Addameer. November 22, 2023. Accessed March 11, 2024. https://www.addameer.org/media/5240
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