International lawyers’ association demands freedom for Maher al-Akhras

The calls for freedom for imprisoned Palestinian hunger striker Maher al-Akhras are growing as he enters his 92nd day of hunger strike against his imprisonment without charge or trial under Israeli administrative detention. An international day of action and symbolic global hunger strikes is being organized for 28 October, and United Nations Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk called for the immediate release of al-Akhras and an end to administrative detention.

“Administrative detention is an anathema in any democratic society that follows the rule of law,” Lynk said. “When the democratic state arrests and detains someone, it is required to charge the person, present its evidence in an open trial, allow for a full defence and try to persuade an impartial judiciary of its allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Administrative detention, in contrast, allows a state to arrest and detain a person without charges, without a trial, without knowing the evidence against her or him, and without a fair judicial review,” he said.

There are currently approximately 350 Palestinians jailed by Israel under administrative detention orders, out of a total of 4,400 Palestinian political prisoners. Administrative detention was first introduced to Palestine by the British colonial mandate and is routinely and systematically used by the Israeli occupation to imprison Palestinians, especially community, student and union leaders. Detention orders are issued on the basis of so-called “secret evidence” and can be renewed indefinitely. Palestinians – including Maher al-Akhras in two past periods of imprisonment – often spend years jailed without charge or trial under repeatedly renewed administrative detention orders.

At its Council meeting on 25 October, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers adopted a resolution calling for the immediate release of al-Akhras, an end to administrative detention and an end to U.S. and European support of Israel.

IADL is a non-governmental organization with consultative status in ECOSOC and UNESCO. Founded in 1946 to promote the goals of the United Nations Charter, IADL and its affiliated organizations throughout the world have consistently fought to uphold international law, promote human rights and address threats to international peace and security. The statement concludes:

“The International Association of Democratic Lawyers reiterates its position urging freedom for Palestinian prisoners, and:

    1. Demands the immediate release of Maher al-Akhras and other Palestinians jailed without charge or trial under Israeli administrative detention.
    2. Demands the release of all other Palestinian prisoners jailed by Israel. The Israeli military courts, “security” prisoner regulations and administrative detention system are attempts to impose a legal fig leaf on illegal occupation and colonialism.
    3. Demands an end to the practice of administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial.
    4. Calls for the end of the E.U-Israel Association Agreement and other free trade agreements with the Israeli state that serve to support and legitimize torture, occupation and colonization.
    5. Calls for the end of U.S. aid to Israel, which encompasses $3.8 billion in direct military aid to perpetuate the ongoing occupation of Palestinian and Arab land, including the occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights.
    6. Urges the U.N. Secretary General and all U.N. committees and agencies to take all available procedures and steps to bring to an end Israeli apartheid, war crimes and crimes against humanity in occupied Palestine, including the exclusion of the Israeli state from participation in the U.N. General Assembly as well as other committees and bodies.
    7. Demands that the Israeli Ministry of Public Security, including the Israeli police and the “Border Police” in occupied Jerusalem, be excluded from research programs and joint initiatives funded by the European Union.
    8. Stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle for national liberation, self-determination, equality and return.”

Read the full statement below:

IADL Resolution on Maher al-Akhras