319 orders for administrative detention without charge or trial have been issued by Israeli occupation military courts since the beginning of 2015, reported Riyad al-Ashqar, spokesperson of the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies.
This is an increase of 500% over the same period in 2014, when 51 orders were issued, and is linked to the wide-scale mass arrests in the West Bank in June 2014 and after; hundreds of those arrested were not charged or tried but instead ordered to administrative detention.
45 of the administrative detention orders issued in 2015 have been for newly arrested Palestinian political prisoners, while 274 administrative detention renewal orders have been issued by Israeli military courts in the same period. These orders have ranged in duration from two to six months.
In January 109 administrative detention orders were issued; 89 in February; and 121 in March. Of these, Ashqar reported, 133 of those detained were from Hebron (al-Khalil), the largest single group. There are currently approximately 500 Palestinian prisoners held in administrative detention.
Administrative detention is the imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial and on the basis of secret evidence for up to six month periods, indefinitely renewable by Israeli military courts. The use of administrative detention dates from the “emergency laws” of the British colonial era in Palestine. Israel’s use of administrative detention violates international law; such detention is allowed only in individual circumstances that are exceptionally compelling for “imperative reasons of security.” In Palestine, however, Israel uses administrative detention routinely as a form of collective punishment and mass detention of Palestinians, and frequently uses administrative detention when it fails to obtain confessions in interrogations of Palestinian detainees.
Hundreds of Palestinian detainees engaged in a hunger strike in May-June 2014, demanding the end of administrative detention.
Among those recently issued new administrative detention orders is Ayman al-Tabeesh, 34, from Dura village near Hebron, for a three-month period. This is the sixth administrative detention order that has been issued against al-Tabeesh, all without charge or trial and on the basis of secret evidence. He was arrested on May 9, 2013 and entered an open-ended hunger strike for 105 days that ended with a pledge to not renew his administrative detention, and that he would be released in January 2014.
However, the occupation military courts renewed his detention without charge or trial, provoking a new open hunger strike for 123 days, which ended with a commitment to once again not renew his detention and release him on January 5, 2015; once again, however, the commitment was broken by the occupation military courts and his detention renewed for the fifth time for a three-month period, with a promise to release him after that detention.
However, on April 3, once again his detention was renewed. He has spent over 10 years in total in Israeli prisons, mostly in administrative detention.