A former Soviet refusenik and dissident Vitaly Vovnoboy was arrested in Israel. His arrest took place at dawn, in the best traditions that Vitaly and other refuseniks thought was firmly behind them. Vitaly’s crime – hosting website www.baitle.org .

Vitaly Vovnoboy, 49, is a computer programmer. He made aliyah to Israel with his family in 1991 and has lived in Karney Shomron since then. For many years he has been active in the struggle for the Land of Israel.

 

Here is what can be done to help Vitaly.

Please call the police the following places and inquire about Vitaly, his arrest (which took place without the proper warrant), his health (he was denied medical attention despite the heart trouble during the arrest), and the cause of his arrest (after all, freedom of speech is something that must be practiced by a democracy)

 

        Former Soviet refuseniks and dissidents, presently Knesset Members Yuly Edelshtein and Yury Shtern have already submitted their protest to the Minister of Internal Security

 

        02-539-1111 - investigative unit of the Russian Compound (the police station where Vitaly is held)
02-539-1340 – Preliminary holding cell (???)
02-539-1346 – parcels for the prisoners

        Write, call and/or fax the Ministry of Internal Security and its Complaints Department

o       Minister

§         Email: Applications@mops.gov.il
phone: +972-2-5308003
fax:     +972-2-5847872

o       Complaints:

§         Email: mevaker@mops.gov.il
phone: +972-2-5308014/7/8
fax:      +972-2-5308266

        Contact  Israel’s Consul General to New England Meir Shlomo.

Tel: (617) 535-0200

Fax: (617) 535-0255

Email: information@boston.mfa.gov.il

 

        Also email/call/fax Likud’s Members of Knesset and Members of Government, and express your opinion and concern about the increasing abuse and violations of the norms of a democratic society, in which a member of the Center of Likud, their own party, is arrested for political motives.

o       Haim Katz
Likud
Telephone: 02-6753874
Telephone 2: 02-6753875
Fax: 02-6496525
Email: hkatz@knesset.gov.il

 

o       Tzipi Livni
Telephone: 02-6753225
Fax: 02-6753709
Email: zlivni@knesset.gov.il

o       Dan Naveh
Likud
Telephone: 02-6753439
Telephone 2: 02-6753394
Fax: 02-6753750
Email: dnaveh@knesset.gov.il

o       Benjamin Netanyahu
Likud
Telephone: 02-6753383
Telephone 2: 02-6496431
Fax: 02-6496421
Email: bnetanyahoo@knesset.gov.il

o       Reuven Rivlin
Likud
Telephone: 02-6753444
Fax: 02-6496193
Email: rrivlin@knesset.gov.il


        Email other Ministers and Members of Knesset. Their emails, fax and phone numbers can be found at:
http://www.knesset.gov.il/mk/eng/mkindex_current_eng.asp?view=0  
and http://gov.il/firstGov/topNav/OfficesAndAuthorities/OAFList

Also contact your local media and tell them about the story.

 

        Here is also a  PETITION TO FREE VITALY VOVNOBOY. Feel free to use it in your contacts above.

 

o       PETITION TO FREE VITALY VOVNOBOY

In the Soviet Union a man could be arrested just because someone had used his typewriter for typing a call to protest against the Communist regime.
Nowadays, in Israel, armed plain-clothed policemen burst in a man's bedroom at dawn time, handcuff him, deny him medical care for his heart problems and take him away to an unknown location without showing an arrest warrant – all this simply because the victim owns a web server, which among many
websites created by various people hosts one advocating a non-violent protests against the planned expulsion of Jews from Gush-Katif and Northern Samaria. This is what has happened to Mr. Vitaly Vovnoboy, a 49-year old computer programmer. The wild and cruel arrest of Vitaly Vovnoboy has become another case of intolerable police brutality, which is being increasingly used by the regime in order to keep its opponents silent.

We demand to free Vitaly immediately and to punish those who are responsible for his arrest as well as the policemen who carried out the arrest rudely and cruelly. We call upon everyone to whom freedom is dear to raise up the voice against the police abuse - if people get arrested for such a thing today what will they be arrested for tomorrow?

 

 - Sample letter:

 

The purpose of this letter is to express our concerns with the totalitarian methods the Israeli government uses to subdue the opposition to Ariel Sharon’s Gaza withdrawal plan, and to request that the [leaders of your organization] voice its opposition to the use of such methods.

 

Contrary to the basic democratic principles, the Israeli government has systematically attacked and arrested those, who have dared to express their peaceful objection to the withdrawal plan. Thus, the government has systematically detained individuals for nothing more than wearing orange – the color that has become the symbol of settlers’ peaceful resistance movement.

 

It has made multiple arrests of peaceful demonstrators against the withdrawal. In the latest feat of lawlessness, the officers of the Israeli secret service have searched and arrested Vitaly Vovnoboy, a Russian-speaking settler and one of the leaders of anti-withdrawal movement. The arrest was performed without the proper arrest warrant, and the arrestee was denied the medical help he needed.

 

According to the government, Vitaly Vovnoboy was arrested solely for being the host to the anti-withdrawal web site, which advocated peaceful opposition to the withdrawal plan. This arrest is in direct violation of the freedoms of speech and the press, and contravenes every right and freedom to which any Israeli citizen is entitled.

 

Indeed, such acts are far more worthy of the KGB or the Iraqi secret service than a state that, having proclaimed itself the only democracy in the Middle East, enjoys ample financial and political support from the United States.

 

We hope that you will take the appropriate measures to convey to the Israeli government that such abuses of power and violations of human rights are unacceptable in a country that claims to be a democracy, and strives to maintain a good relationship with the United States.