RAMALLAH, June 18, 2014 (WAFA) – Head of the Prisoner Club Association, Qaddura Fares, urged, in a fact sheet Wednesday, the international community to uphold its political and legal obligations and to take a strong stance against administrative detention.
Fares said the urgency for such a stance intensifies given Israel’s recent decision to dangerously escalate the situation notably by enacting laws allowing force-feeding the prisoners.
He said: “Administrative detention is the arrest of a person by the occupying forces following orders issued by the military commanders in the occupied Palestinian territory and based on so-called « secret evidence ». The detention lasts six months renewable indefinitely.” Fares added: “No accusation is communicated to the detainee or his lawyer, and no evidence whatsoever is disclosed. The occupying power resorts to administrative detention as a punitive measure.”
He underscored that administrative detention takes place based on the Emergency law of the British Mandate (occupation) era and of military orders issued by the occupying power, yet “during the 2nd Intifada, Israel, the occupying power, arrested thousands of Palestinians under administrative detention.”
“Israel, the occupying power, issued, during the years of the 1st Intifada (1987-1994), 19,000 administrative detention orders, and 23,000 administrative detention orders since the year 2000,” he underscored.
“The occupying power has resorted to administrative detention since the early years of its occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, reaching a peak during the first Intifada in 1987. In 1997, Palestinian prisoners’ undertook actions against administrative detention which led to a drop in the number of administrative detainees.”
“Today, there are around 200 Paletinians held under administrative detention, including 8 Members of Parliament: Mahmoud Al Ramahi, Abdel-Jaber Fuqaha, Yasser Mansour, Mohammed Abu Teir, Mohammed El-Natsheh, Hatem Qufaisha, Nizar Ramadan, Mohammad Badr.”
He said: “Administrative detention as practiced by Israel is in fact one of the worst forms of arbitrary detention and completely disregards the relevant provisions of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law, as well as contravenes universal principles.”
“Israel committed several times to re-examine and reconsider its policy of administrative detention, notably following the massive prisoners’ hunger strike in 2012. However, it is clear it failed to fulfill its commitment with a military apparatus that has pursued violations of international law, including through the use of administrative detention, completely disregarding international law, political agreements, and even decisions by the Israeli High Court of Justice, even though Israeli courts’ decision are more pre-occupied by securing the occupation than securing justice.”
“In October 2013, Palestinian prisoners decided to undertake new steps against administrative detention, starting with a boycott of the Israeli military courts. The boycott stopped following a new commitment by the Israeli Prison Service to revise the administrative detention policy. Following Israel’s failure once again to honor this commitment, Palestinian prisoners launched a hunger strike against administrative detention on the 24th of April 2014.”
“As the hunger strike reaches its 50th day, 300 prisoners are taking part in it on a continuous basis, including 130 administrative detainees. Hundreds of prisoners have undertaken partial hunger strikes in solidarity. 100 prisoners among the hunger strikers are now in Israeli hospitals due to the deterioration of their health condition.”
“Since the first day of the hunger strike, Israel undertook punitive measures against the prisoners including seizing their belongings, placing them in solitary confinement, prohibiting them from receiving family visits, putting restrictions on lawyer’s visits. Israel has refused to engage in dialogue with the prisoners’ movement leading to a situation where some of the hunger strikers may die in prison, with all the political, human and security implications of such a tragic event.”
“We urge the international community to uphold its political and legal obligations and to take a strong stance against administrative detention, especially in view of Israel’s decision to dangerously escalate the situation notably by enacting laws allowing force-feeding the prisoners. In 1980, force-feeding led to the death of Rasem Abu Halawa and Ali Al-Ja’fari.”
Finally, Fares said “We consider Israel’s actions as an attempt to murder Palestinian prisoners in cold blood and call on the international community to intervene before it is too late.”