Palestinian civil society leader Eteraf Rimawi’s administrative detention extended for fifth time

eteraf2The administrative detention of Palestinian civil society leader Eteraf Bajes Hajjaj Rimawi was extended by occupation forces for an additional four months on 1 February 2016, with a new Israeli military order. Rimawi, Executive Director of Bisan Center for Research and Development, has been imprisoned since 15 September 2014; his administrative detention has been extended five times, all without charge or trial.

Eteraf stated in his hearing that, “the intelligence did not interrogate me. They only asked me one question that I couldn’t really understand. A short while later, a six-month administrative detention order was issued against me. This detention affects me, my family and work heavily.”

He was arrested five times previously – held for two months in 1995, for over a year in 1996, and in 2000 and 2003 he spent 6 months and 4 months, respectively, in administrative detention without charge or trial. In 2008, once again he was held in administrative detention for over a year before his release on October 7, 2009. Rimawi was born on April 30, 1976, is the father of three children, and lives in Ramallah. He has boycotted the military courts since 27 October 2014 and refuses to appear before them in protest of the policy of administrative detention.

Rimawi’s case was highlighted in a recent European Union statement of “concern” over administrative detention, in which over 670 Palestinians are currently held, alongside those of Palestinian circus school teacher Mohammed Abu Sakha and hunger-striking journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq.

Solidarité Socialiste, a Belgian organization that partners with Bisan on projects in Palestine, also issued a statement condemning the detention of Eteraf Rimawi, noting that this arrest is an attack on Palestinian civil society and its support for the Palestinian people, and calling for international action.

In addition to Rimawi, former Palestinian Minister of Local Government Issa al-Jabari was also ordered to four months administrative detention without charge or trial; al-Jabari was last released after 14 months of administrative detention in April 2015. Hani Shalash of al-Khalil was also ordered to four months administrative detention without charge or trial, the sixth time his detention has been renewed; while Hashem Mahmoud Azzam from Bethlehem’s detention was renewed for the third time for six months.