Thaer Halahleh boycotts military courts in protest of imprisonment without charge or trial

Palestinian prisoner Thaer Halahleh, held without charge or trial under an Israeli administrative detention order, is boycotting the Israeli military courts and has been doing so since he was rearrested on 27 April 2017. Halahleh has spent over nine years in Israeli prison, including 6 1/2 years in administrative detention, jailed without charge or trial, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society.

Several days ago, his administrative detention was renewed for another four months, his second since he was seized by occupation forces on 27 April. His lawyer, Mahmoud al-Halabi, said that the number of administrative detainees who refuse to attend the military courts has escalated, especially among those who have spent years in administrative detention.

The orders are issued on the basis of secret evidence and are indefinitely renewable, so Palestinians can spend years at a time held without charge or trial. In Halahleh’s case, he has spent the majority of the past five years in Israeli prisons, with only a few months’ break between his release and a new seizure by occupation forces, only to find himself imprisoned once again with no charges against him and not even the opportunity for a military court trial. He was most recently released in October 2016 before being seized again in April 2017; had been imprisoned without charge or trial since July 2014. Prior to that arrest, he had been released in May 2014 after being held without charge or trial since April 2013.

Halahleh, 35, suffers from Hepatitis C, contracted during a dental operation in Israeli prisons where improper sterilization was used. During his previous imprisonment, Halahleh was denied family visits with his wife and children for seven months, and received only painkillers as treatment for his illness. He previously won his release from an earlier administrative detention in 2012 with a 77-day hunger strike. There are currently nearly 500 Palestinians held without charge or trial, out of approximately 6,200 Palestinian political prisoners in total in Israeli jails.

The use of administrative detention has been widely noted to have grown in August, including its use against both Palestinian youth under 18 as well as Palestinian citizens of Israel. On Sunday, 27 August, the central court in Haifa extended the administrative detention order against Alaa Tawil Jabarin, 22, from Umm al-Fahm, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, for our more months. This is the sixth detention of young Palestinians from ’48 occupied Palestine under administrative detention, without charge or trial, in recent months.

A number of lawyers and political leaders of Palestinian organizations in ’48 Palestine have urged attention to the growing use of administrative detention, especially under the pretext of social media postings.

Meanwhile, Palestinian minors like Nour Issa, 16, are also being held under administrative detention.  He is not alone; there are 320 Palestinian child prisoners currently held in Israeli jails and dozens of Palestinian teens have been subjected to imprisonment without charge or trial in the past year.

Meanwhile, Palestinian political leaders like Khalida Jarrar, Khitam Saafin and other members of the Palestinian Legislative Council are also held under administrative detention alongside human rights defenders like Salah Hamouri.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes Thaer Halahleh and his fellow administrative detainees for their boycott of the occupation military courts and demands the immediate release of all Palestinians held without charge or trial and the abolition of administrative detention, as well as the release of all Palestinians in Israeli jails.