Ghassan Zawahreh ordered to military courts after 18 months in administrative detention

Ghassan Zawahreh, 36, Palestinian activist from the Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, whose brother Moataz was killed by Israeli occupation forces in 2015 as he protested in the city, has been held without charge or trial under administrative detention since 17 July 2016. His imprisonment with no charge or trial is, unfortunately, nothing new; he has spent 12 years in total in Israeli prisons, most of that time under administrative detention orders.

In the past year and a half, four administrative detention orders have been issued against him. Now, he is suddenly being moved to the Israeli military courts in order to face more charges in a system that convicts and sentences 99.74 percent of the Palestinians that appear before them.

During his times in Israeli prison, Zawahreh has been a part of collective and group hunger strikes for prisoners’ rights and against administrative detention. Zawahreh was jailed while occupation forces killed his brother; he won his release in December 2015 as part of a group hunger strike against administrative detention.

Zawahreh is one of several former hunger strikers currently being brought before Israeli military courts. Khader Adnan, the baker from Arraba whose 2012 hunger strike against administrative detention drew global support and solidarity, was seized by occupation forces on 11 December 2017. He immediately began a hunger strike upon his arrest as he had previously been ordered repeatedly to administrative detention; now, he will be brought for his next hearing to the Salem military court on 28 February.

Lawyer Muhammad Allan, who carried out a 65-day hunger strike in 2015 to win his release from administrative detention, was sentenced on 4 February by the Salem military court to one year in Israeli occupation prison.  He has been imprisoned since July 2017, when he was seized by occupation forces from his family home in Einabous. In Allan’s case, dubious charges like “incitement” for posting political views on social media are being used to remove active Palestinians from their communities.