Palestinian student ordered to administrative detention on scheduled day of release

Her family was awaiting the release of Palestinian prisoner Fidaa Akhalil, from the village of Beit Ummar near al-Khalil on Friday, 17 August. However, instead of being released after serving a 95-day prison sentence, she was ordered to six months in administrative detention without charge or trial. Her family waited in Tulkarem at an Israeli roadblock for her release, only to be told by an occupation army officer that their daughter would be jailed arbitrarily for at least six months.

She was seized from her family home by Israeli occupation forces on 29 May; she had previously been jailed by the Israeli occupation for six months in 2015. On both occasions, she was accused of “incitement” for posting about politics on Facebook and other social media accounts. In her most recent arrest, she was ordered jailed for 95 days, with note made of her status as a former political prisoner.

She is a third-year student at the Open University and is currently being held in HaSharon prison. Akhalil is one of nearly 450 Palestinians held without charge or trial under administrative detention, out of approximately 6,000 Palestinian political prisoners. She and Khalida Jarrar, Palestinian leftist, feminist parliamentarian, are two women administrative detainees.

Administrative detention orders are issued from one to six months at a time and are indefinitely renewable. This means that Palestinians can spend years jailed without charge or trial under repeatedly renewed administrative detention orders.

Since 15 February, Palestinians have boycotted the occupation military courts issuing administrative detention orders, demanding that the practice be abolished. Several Palestinians are currently on hunger strike against administrative detention, demanding their freedom. Abbas Abu Aliya, Saddam Awad and Khaled Battat are all on hunger strike since 12 August and now entering their second week without food.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges the escalation of protests and actions in solidarity with the struggle to end administrative detention. Administrative detention is a colonial weapon used to separate effective leaders from the Palestinian people through arbitrary imprisonment without charge or trial. It is also a form of psychological torture for both prisoners and their families, denying them even the knowledge of when or if they will be released. We urge the immediate end of the practice of administrative detention and the release of all Palestinian prisoners. As the prisoners boycott the military courts, it is our responsibility to escalate boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns to isolate the Israeli state that confiscates Palestinian land, rights and freedom.