Thursday, April 25, 2013

Video: Ouda Tarabin, an Israeli Arab, Held in Egypt on Espionage Charges Without Due Process

Ouda Tarabin is an Israeli Arab who has been imprisoned in Egypt since 2000 when he went to visit his sister in El Arish -- but without proper papers. Tarabin was charged with espionage, but was never given an opportunity to defend himself. It is questionable at best whether he got a fair trial and is currently on a hunger strike.

His story is not getting much of a hearing.

Ouda Tarabin

דויד הירשפלד‎ posted a video from yesterday's Channel One in Israel that discussed the case [Hebrew]

Here is an excerpt he quoted in Hebrew:
במקור עודה טרבין נולד בשטח המצרי, כבדואי... אחרי שהשטח חצי האי סיני הוחזר למצרים, בעקבות הסכמי השלום, המשפחה עברה לצד הישראלי - בנגב, לאיחוד משפחות, וכך הפכו לישראלים... המצרים [לא ברור איך] תפסו אותו לפני 13 שנה - והם רואים בו אוייב, בוגד - בדואי שנולד במצרים ועבר עם משפחתו לישראל, לנגב... הם גם ממשיכים בכליאתו בגלל הרצון לנקמה פוליטית בישראל, או כי חיי אדם, גם כמוסלמים, לא שווים בעיניהם - הוא קלף פוליטי בעיני המצרים... שמתעללים בו די בשימחה מוסלמית... הם מאשימים אותו בריגול, מילת הקסם של הערבים... מעניין שמצרים "מומחית" באיתור מרגלים ישראלים, אבל לא תגלה מרגלים סיניים, או רוסים או אמריקאים או צרפתים... רק מרגלים ישראלים נלכדים במצרים. מעניין למה? (שאלה רטורית).
Here is the Google English translation:
Originally Odeh Tarabin was born in Egypt, as a Bedouin ... After the Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt, following the peace agreements, the family moved to the Israeli side - the Negev, family reunification, and the Israelis have ... Egyptians [not clear how] caught him 13 years ago - and they see it as an enemy, a traitor - a Bedouin who was born in Egypt and moved with his family to Israel, the Negev ... They also continue imprisoning political because of the desire for revenge in Israel, or that human life, even as Muslims, not equal to them - is a political card by Egypt ... Quite happily abused Muslim ... They accuse him of spying, the magic word of the Arabs ... Interesting Egypt "expert" Israeli spies locating, but not Chinese spies discover or Russian or American or French ... Only Israeli spies captured in Egypt. I wonder why? (Rhetorical question).
Here is the video:

Wikipedia notes that Tarabin was denied due process:
Tarabin, then aged 19, was arrested in 2000 after he illegally crossed the border from Israel (his brother suggests he went over to visit his sister in El-Arish). Illegal border crossings by the Bedouin residents of Israel and Egypt are not a rarity; Israel also occasionally arrests Egyptian crossers, who are returned over the border after a short interrogation. Ouda, however, was tried in absentia on charges of spying for Israel, by an Egyptian military court though never indicted; when he was arrested the court informed him that he had been sentenced to 15 years before he had entered Egypt and that his father had been similarly sentenced in absentia to 25 years for espionage.

Ouda, therefore, had no chance of defending himself in person, and was convicted under Egypt's emergency law, in effect since 1981, granting police sweeping powers of arrest. The stated basis of the prosecution was testimony given by Ouda's Egyptian cousin, Eid Suleiman, who was arrested for similar charges in 1999 and is also currently imprisoned. According to his family, Ouda he has done nothing wrong other than cross into Egypt without the proper documentation.
The situation of Ouda Tarabin deserves wider coverage.

For more information, see:

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