On Thursday, 28 April, Israeli occupation forces renewed the administrative detention of Palestinian leader, lawyer, leftist and human rights defender Bashir al-Khairy for an additional six months. His fellow prisoners have already announced escalating steps of protest to demand his immediate release, and the extension of his detention comes two days after reports that 80-year-old al-Khairy was being subjected to attempts to compel him to plead guilty to a military court indictment against him in exchange for ending his administrative detention. Therefore, the extension of his arbitrary detention without charge or trial is clearly a punitive measure aimed at punishing him for refusing to admit to an injustice or recognize the illegitimate military courts of the occupation.
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society reported that al-Khairy rejected all of these proposals as a form of blackmail, noting that he would continue in administrative detention for years rather than concede to the occupation. Administrative detention orders are issued with no charge or trial for up to six months at a time; they are indefinitely renewable, and Palestinians have spent years behind bars under these orders. They are based on so-called “secret evidence” that neither the Palestinian prisoner nor their lawyer has access to.
Al-Khairy announced his boycott of the occupation military courts immediately following the administrative detention order against him in December 2021, which has now been adopted by the administrative detainees as a whole. His leadership and example sparked the collective boycott of the occupation military courts, and all Palestinians jailed without charge or trial — now numbering over 600, out of over 4,500 total Palestinian political prisoners — have been engaged in the boycott since 1 January 2022.
Addameer reported that al-Khairy was seized by occupation forces on 29 October 2021. While he was originally charged in the military courts for participating in meetings of an “illegal organization,” the charges against him were so old — reaching back years — that even the occupation military court ordered him released on bail. Rather than allowing this respected Palestinian national leader to be released on bail, occupation forces then ordered him, on 7 December 2021, to administrative detention for six months from the date of his arrest, saying that he poses a “threat to the security of the region.”
The Prisoners’ Committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said that this new attack on al-Khairy — which sets his release date in October 2022 — “did not and will not break the will or determination of the comrade leader al-Khairy, and will only increase his insistence on challenging the tyranny of the occupation, hia adherence to principled positions rejecting his arbitrary detention, and his refusal to recognize the illegitimate occupation courts.”
Administrative detention is frequently used to target political, community and social leaders like al-Khairy, in an attempt to isolate them from the Palestinian people and undermine Palestinian resistance and resiliency. However, the administrative detainees have continued to fight back behind bars, launching the boycott of the military courts and repeated hunger strikes for freedom. Currently, two administrative detainees, Raed Rayan and Khalil Awawdeh, are on hunger strike for liberation.
Al-Khairy has spent over 17 years in Israeli occupation prisons. A Palestinian refugee born in al-Ramla, he was forcibly displaced from his home during the Nakba by Zionist forces. He attended law school at Cairo University, where he also became involved in student activism and Palestinian and Arab politics, joining the Arab Nationalist Movement. As a young lawyer in 1968, he and his colleagues, as young Palestinian lawyers, announced that they would boycott the Israeli occupation courts — a practice he has continued since this day.
He was seized by occupation forces in 1968 at the age of 26 and imprisoned for 15 years before being released in an exchange with the Palestinian resistance in 1984. At the dawning of the great popular intifada of 1987, he was once again seized and this time forcibly deported to Lebanon before returning to Palestine in 1993. In 2003, he was jailed without charge or trial for two years under repeatedly renewed administrative detention orders. He was once again arrested in 2011 and then 10 years later, in 2021.
As a national Palestinian figure with broad support and respect among the people, he participates frequently in national events, popular mobilizations and works to support the just cause of the Palestinian people. He also never hesitates to raise his voice in protest against the “security coordination” policies and political repression of the Palestinian Authority, such as the assassination of Nizar Banat.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest support for Bashir al-Khairy and the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, including the hundreds of administrative detainees engaged in a collective boycott of the military courts for nearly five months and the hunger strikers Raed Rayan and Khalil Awawdeh. We urge all supporters of Palestine to raise your voices to free Bashir al-Khairy and support the administrative detainees’ boycott of the military courts. The liberation of the administrative detainees — and of all Palestinian prisoners — is central to the liberation of Palestine from colonization and occupation.
The US Palestinian Community Network has issued a statement and call about the case of Bashir al-Khairy — check this out for an example of how your organization can speak up about this important case:
1. Join the campaign on social media!
Use the following posters (download and print) to take photos of yourself at events and actions for Palestine, or just in your own home. Take a solidarity photo with your group or organization or by yourself and post it to your social media page with the hashtags, #FreeBashirKhairy #FreeThemAll — send us your links on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!
2. Demonstrations, rallies and street actions – including actions to boycott Israel!
Have a protest or action to free Palestinian prisoners, support the Palestinian struggle for liberation, stand with the Palestinian resistance and boycott Israel and its complicit corporations. Join the many protests taking place around the world — confront, isolate and besiege the Israeli embassy or consulate in your city or country of residence. Make it clear that the people are with Palestine and the liberated prisoners! Send us your events at email@example.com.
3. Creative and Direct Actions
Creative actions are a wonderful way to spread the word and highlight the struggle of the Palestinian prisoners. The banner hung by Samidoun España in Madrid at the University metro station highlighted the struggle of Palestinian students, while the campaign to symbolically rename streets after Georges Abdallah internationally commemorated his birthday and amplified the demand for his liberation. Palestine Action is having a major effect on Israeli weapons dealers through their direct action targeting Elbit Systems.
These actions only require one, two or a few people. You can even simply poster and sticker around your neighbourhood. Contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via WhatsApp at +32466904397 if you are looking for image ideas or resources!
4. Demand Your Government Sanction Israel!
The racist, settler colonial state of Israel and its war crimes against the Palestinian people are enabled and backed extensively by the over $3.8 billion each year given to Israel by the United States — targeted directly to support the Israeli occupation military killing children, women, men and elders throughout occupied Palestine. From Canada to Australia to the European Union, Western governments and imperialist powers provide ongoing diplomatic, political and economic support to Israel as well as selling billions of dollars of weaponry to the settler-colonial state. Meanwhile, they also purchase billions of dollars in weaponry from the Israeli state. Governments in league with imperialist powers, such as in the Philippines, Brazil, India and elsewhere, also buy weapons and “security” services — all “battle-tested” on the Palestinian population. Call your representatives, MPs, political officials and demand your government sanction Israel now, cut off all aid, expel its ambassadors, and stop buying and selling weapons!
Please note: Samidoun has speakers that can participate in your events (in-person and virtual) in Arabic, English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish and other languages. Contact us via email at email@example.com or via WhatsApp at +32466904397 to inquire about a Samidoun speaker!