Independent Media Center, Israel

basic rights denied to an international
author: Laura

During the detention in Ariel rights were denied to Lorenza Erlicher , italian citizen.Though she couldn't speak nor hebrew and english they tried to make her sign papers in Hebrew.They never provided her a translator and denied her to see her lawyer.She was charged with violent resistance on the basis of footage done by the police and never shown to anybody including lawyers and representatives of the italian embassy.She was deported on the 7th of august after spending two nights in Hadera prison.

If this is the routine with international citizens, i am afraid to think what happens with palestinians.

The following petition was presented by italian citizes to the italian counsolate in jerusalem on august the 8th 2003: 8th August 2003

We, group of italian citizens represented by the signatories respectfully ask

the Italian Rapresentations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to intervene with the

Israeli competent authorities in order to clarify the following issues

concerning the detention of Ms Lorenza Erlicher between the dates 5th August

and 7th August, viz:

1) not having adequate legal assistence as in her rights.

2) not having received adequate translation for legal documentation she was

asked to sign.

3) Her lawyers not having access to footage filmed by the police before her

detention ( which is subsequently being used as evidence by the State of Israel

against her ).

The Facts

Lorenza Erlicher was with a group of peace activists trying to save a familyís

property from demolition ad effective entrapment between two parts of the ď

security fenceĒ.

She arrived in Masíha in the morning of Sunday 3rd august 2003. During her stay,

she witnessed soldiers and other security personnel entering and leaving the


Tuesday, 5th August, at approximatly 6.30 am police and military approched the

group .A short discussion ensued and soldiers and policemen adviced the group to

vacate the area.

About five minutes later, the group set down in a circle and linked arms.

At about 7.00 am, soldiers returned and ordered the group to move out.

Five minutes after this members of the group carrying recording equipment were

arrested. Immediately after, the peaceful demonstrators were forcibly and

violently removed-dragged over aproximatly 250 meters over concrete,

rubble,glass and barricades.

At about 7.35 am , Lorenza, two Palestinians, one Israeli,and one Uk national

were put into a small van away from the rest of the group.

At approximately 9.00am, the jeep carrying Lorenza arrived at Ariel police


Lorenza was held in the van for two hours.Then she was taken inside the police

station where she waited for at least an hour. She was brought beforea senior

police officer . He tried to make her sign a statement but she refused ,

saying she didnít understand what she would be signing .The officer got one of

the other deteined peace activists ( a female Italian national with some

knowledge of English) to come and translate from English into Italian on his

behalf. He had acting translator read Lorenza her rights and informed her she

was being charged with kicking a police officer in the stomach .He once again

asked her to sign the paper but she refused, as the didnít understand what she

was signing. She asked to see her lawyers. Since one of the lawyers was able to

speak Spanish, they were able to communicate to her that as the police station

was not a suitable place to detain her, if a suitable detention center could

not be found, she would be released with the rest of the group.

At about 5.00 pm , Lorenza was allowed to rejoin the other members of the group

in another part of the police station.

At about 9.00 pm , Lorenza was escorted with the same female Italian national

who had previously acted as her translator. She was interrogated again, on this

occasion with officials from the Ministry of the Interior. One of the officials

, a woman, told Lorenza she was being held because she had been in ďa closed

military zoneĒ, and that when a military official had shown the group a notice (

written in Hebrew) proclaiming this , she had ignored the notice and violently

resisted removal by attacking an officer . Lorenza stated that she had never

been made aware of the declaration.The officials requested that she sign the

statement admitting that she:

1) Had been in a closed military zone

2) Had failed to vacate the premises

3) Had attacked a police officer or a soldier (it was not clear to the acting


Lorenza stated that she was not going to sign anything in a language she did not

understand. They showed her a statement in English, and because she could not

speak any English she refused to sign this .

She asked to see legal counsel .They said the lawyers had said they were not

going to come because it was night time and they didnít want to enter the

Occupied Territories at this time of day.

The acting translator suggested that it would be better to wait for day-time,

when the lawyers would be able to come. The officials rejected this, saying

this interrogation was legal, as the lawyers 'had refused' to come.

The senior police officer explained to Lorenza that since she had committed 'a

crime,' it was as if she had entered the Occupied Territories illegally, and she

was in custody of the police from 7.00am, 5th August, until 7.00am, 6th August.

The police would be holding Lorenza in custody until the Ministry of the

Interior had decided what to do with her.

The acting translator and Lorenza therefore understood that she would be staying

at Ariel police station until 7.00am, 6th August.

At around 10.30pm, the acting translator was escorted back to the main group of

activists who were being held. Lorenza was still held in separate quarters,

where she waited for approximately another hour. They tried to make her

understand that she would be going to Hadera detention centre.

At that point, she asked for her lawyer once again. The officers told her they

would be available to her tomorrow. Sometime after 11.00pm, she arrived at

Hadera detention centre. Upon arrival, she understood that the police were

registering her personal details, and she asked to see her lawyer once again.

Again they answered, "tomorrow."

They made her give up her mobile phone, and when she asked if she could make a

phone call, they told her she could make it the following day with a telephone


She was led into a detention cell, which was already inhabited by seven other


6th August, in the morning an official brought Lorenza a statement written in

Hebrew, and attempted to make her to sign it. When she refused, the official

got angry with her and she left shortly afterwards.

Lorenza once again asked for permission to make a phone call, to which the

answer was that she must wait until 10.00am. When she asked again, they told

her to wait till 11.00am. At 11.00am, they told her to wait until 1.00pm.

Only at 2.30 pm was she allowed to queue up with several other detainees to make

her phone call. However, while she was waiting, she was called away, because

representatives from the Italian Embassy were waiting to talk to her. The

representatives advised her to sign papers which said she was expelled from the

country. The aim of the representatives was to get her out of the detention

centre as soon as possible. She was not informed of the possibility of

appealing against this. When Lorenza complained about her lack of access to

legal counsel, the representatives told her that she had not been arrested, but

only detained. It seemed to Lorenza that they were suggesting that for this

reason, she did not have the right to see a lawyer.

7th August

Lorenza was taken to the airport in the morning and put on a flight to Italy.

Laura Zanardi


Simone Brocchi


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