Palestinian prisoner and former hunger striker Sami Janazrah has joined fellow administrative detainee and professor Imad Barghouthi – facing charges for so-called Facebook “incitement” following international campaigns to end their administrative detention without charge or trial.
Despite earlier reports that charges of “incitement” against Janazrah had been denied, the military prosecution is now charging Janazrah over alleged Facebook comments. He had been imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention since 15 November 2015, and engaged in a 70-day hunger strike against his imprisonment. Following a hearing at the Israeli Supreme Court, Janazrah’s case was transferred to the military courts, where over 99% of Palestinians are convicted. As in Barghouthi’s case, it was initially stated that there was insufficient evidence to mount an “incitement” charge even within the Israeli military courts.
Janazrah will face the military court in Ofer next Thursday, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society reported. Janazrah, 43, is a Palestinian refugee who lives in Al-Fuwwar refugee camp near al-Khalil; he is married with three children.
Barghouthi, the Palestinian astrophysicist whose detention since 24 April sparked protests by world-renowned scientists and academics, will also face Ofer Military Court on Thursday in relation to Facebook “incitement” charges filed suddenly against him after he won his release from administrative detention on appeal.
729 orders for administrative detention without charge or trial have been filed against Palestinians by the Israeli occupation military since the beginning of 2016. In addition, approximately 150 Palestinians have been arrested for postings on social media, including journalists Sami al-Saee and Samah Dweik, beautician Majd Atwan, and several Palestinian university students.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network notes that the Israeli occupation is now developing a pattern of diverting Palestinian prisoners held without charge or trial under administrative detention – particularly those whose cases garner international attention, like parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar, professor Barghouthi and hunger striker Janazrah – to bogus charges of “incitement” in Israeli military courts. Despite the appearance of a “trial,” the Israeli military courts also rely on evidence obtained through torture, false confessions, and “intelligence information” in order to convict 99% of the Palestinians that come before them. Both administrative detention and the Israeli military courts are illegitimate regimes that in no way reflect “justice” or a “fair trial,” but serve only to facilitate the mass imprisonment of Palestinians and repression of any and all Palestinian resistance. The expression of sentiments shared by the overwhelming majority of Palestinians – such as mourning for Palestinians killed by the Israeli army or supporting Palestinian resistance – on social media is being used as a means to persecute and imprison Palestinians arbitrarily and to divert attention from the fact that this imprisonment remains just as oppressive and unjust as it is under administrative detention. We demand the immediate end to administrative detention as a policy – but also an end to the prosecution of Palestinians for posting political opinions on social media, and an end to the system of occupation, apartheid and oppression that imprisons not only 7,000 Palestinian prisoners but the Palestinian people and land as a whole.