Israel/OPT: Palestinian administrative detainees end 100-day boycott of Israeli courts

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The 100-day boycott of Israeli military courts by hundreds of Palestinian administrative detainees – those held without trial or charge – underscores the need to end this cruel and unjust practice that helps maintain Israel’s system of apartheid against Palestinians, Amnesty International said today.

Almost all of the 490 Palestinian administrative detainees currently held by Israel began a collective boycott on January 1, 2022, refusing to participate in military court proceedings that lack due process and serve only to rubber stamp arbitrary detention. Their act of disobedience highlights the longstanding complicity of military courts in the use of administrative detention against Palestinians, where individuals are held for months without charge or trial, often at the whim of military officials or the minister. of the Defense and on the basis only of secret information. information provided by the Israeli security agency.

“Palestinian human rights defenders, journalists, academics and others have suffered from this cruel and inhumane practice and have been protesting for decades, including through hunger strikes. This boycott is another collective call to say enough is enough,” said Saleh Higazi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“This courageous boycott highlights the inhumane treatment and punishment meted out to Palestinians by Israel. The international community, in particular States with close relations with Israel, must now take concrete action and pressure Israel to end its systematic use of arbitrary detention as a step towards dismantling apartheid.

According to the Palestinian human rights group AddamerIsraeli authorities issued 5,728 administrative detention orders against Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories between 2017 and 2021. In 2021, there was an increase of 1,695 orders, linked to a campaign of mass arrests by authorities Israeli forces during weeks of violence in May and June.

For decades, Israel has intentionally used administrative detention to detain individuals, including prisoners of conscience held solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, in order to punish them for their opinions and their activism.

Salah Hammouri, a Franco-Palestinian lawyer, has been in administrative detention since March 7, 2022. For years, Israeli authorities have repeatedly harassed him, forcing him into multiple periods of administrative detention and taking steps to revoke his status. of residing in the East. Jerusalem.

Israeli authorities have increased the use of administrative detention in recent years, systematically detaining around 500 Palestinians, including children. On March 28, 2022, a day after two Israeli police officers were shot dead by two armed Palestinian citizens of Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett order security services to administratively detain anyone suspected of being involved in the attack.

Amal Nakleh, an 18-year-old Palestinian who joined the boycott, has been in administrative detention since January 21, 2021. He suffers from a rare neuromuscular disorder that causes skeletal muscle weakness; he was 17 at the time of his initial detention. He has since had his detention renewed three times, most recently on January 18, 2022, when a military court extended his detention for another four months.

“Amal Nakleh turned 18 after spending nearly a year in detention without charge. It’s torturous enough for a family to worry about their child’s deteriorating health without having to endure the cruelty of administrative detention limbo. He must be released immediately,” said Saleh Higazi.

The international community, in particular States with close relations with Israel, must now take concrete action and pressure Israel to end its systematic use of arbitrary detention as a step towards dismantling apartheid.

Saleh Hijazi, Amnesty International

Islam al-Taweel, a candidate for mayor of al-Bireh, a city in the West Bank, was arrested by Israeli forces on March 21 after a search of his home at 1:30 a.m. On March 27, he received a four-month administrative detention order. His arrest took place five days before the municipal elections, in which his electoral list won the majority of seats in the municipality of al-Bireh.

The widespread and systematic use by the Israeli authorities of arbitrary arrests, administrative detention and torture against Palestinians is part of the policy of state domination and control over the Palestinian population. These actions constitute the crimes against humanity of apartheid, imprisonment and torture.

Background

Israeli authorities have used administrative detention orders since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967.

Israeli military commanders can issue administrative detention orders for up to six months to detain Palestinians if there are “reasonable grounds” that an individual poses a risk to “area security” or to the ” public security “.

The commander can extend detention orders indefinitely, but detainees must be brought before a military judge within eight days of a detention order being issued or renewed – or released.

Although administrative detainees have the right to appeal any detention order and are entitled to a lawyer of their choice, neither the lawyer nor the detainee are told the details of the evidence against them. A military judge has the power to maintain, abridge or set aside the order. If the order is upheld, Palestinian detainees can challenge the decisions of the military judges by appealing to Israel’s Supreme Court.

Israel’s Supreme Court noted the importance of the appeals and said that administrative detention should only be used as a preventive measure against an individual who poses a security threat that no other means will be able to prevent.

The Court, however, has yet to introduce clear rules for reviewing administrative detention, rarely questions the information on which detention orders are made, and generally fails to review decisions made by judges in the courts. military courts.

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