Palestinian academics, advocates targeted for imprisonment without charge or trial

The Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition by Palestinian political detainee Dr. Ghassan Thuqan, 57, an academic lecturer in the Faculty of Education at An-Najah University, on Tuesday, 16 December.

Thuqan was arrested on 9 July as part of a wave of mass arrests by Israeli ocupation forces throughout the West Bank; he is held in administrative detention, imprisoned without charge or trial. His administrative detention term will expire on 9 January, but his lawyer informed his family that he expects the term to be renewed, particularly following this court decision. The petition was rejected on the basis of a “secret file” on his case; he has already had his three-month administrative detention order renewed twice. Thuqan, held in the Negev desert prison, suffers from asthma, dental pains and arthritis, and is not receiving appropriate treatment from the prison medical clinics.

imadbDr. Imad Barghouthi, a Palestinian astrophysicist and professor at Al-Quds University who formerly worked at NASA in the United States, is now being held in three months administrative detention (imprisonment without charge or trial.)

Barghouthi, 52, from Beit Rima, has been ordered held without charge or trial from 9 December until 5 March 2015 under a three-month, indefinitely renewable, military court order.

He was arrested on 6 December as he attempted to cross to Jordan at the Karama border crossing in order to attend a scientific conference in the United Arab Emirates. Barghouthi’s scientific work is widely published internationally in academic journals. This is the first time he was arrested by Israeli occupation forces. It was reported that he was investigated for participating in a mass march against the assault on Gaza over the summer.

Also held in administrative detention without charge or trial is Osama Hussein Shaheen, 32, the director of the Prisoners of Palestine Studies Center in al-Khalil. He was arrested on 11 December as he traveled through the Container checkpoint and was taken to Ofer military prison. Shaheen, a prominent activist on prisoners’ issues, was released only 3 months ago from administrative detention without charge or trial. He has spent 7 years total inside Israeli prisons and suffers from several health problems. The Center denounced the arrest of Shaheen, saying that “this action aims to obstruct the center’s work exposing occupation crimes against prisoners of war and documenting them on a daily basis.”

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society reported that 54 administrative detention orders for imprisonment without charge or trial have been issued by Israeli military courts against Palestinians since the beginning of December 2014.