Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association – Ad Dameer, reported that ending the military rule over the Gaza Strip should include the release of all of the Gaza Strip detainees since the Israeli withdrawal and “ending the occupation” cannot be considered complete if the detainees remain imprisoned.

Ad Dameer said that Israel is misleading the world by claming that it withdrew from the Gaza Strip, while in fact it is avoiding to implement its obligations and continues to violate the International law and Human Rights agreements.

“Canceling the military court in Eretz, north of the Gaza Strip, and announcing the end of the military rule in the Gaza Strip, cannot be considered as ending the occupation; Israel is still obliged to implement the Fourth Geneva Conventions”.

 Palestinian detainees were arrested for resisting the occupation and the Israeli military rule, the Israeli announcement of ending the military occupation over the Gaza Strip should include the release of the Palestinian detainees who were arrested as a result of this military occupation.

Israel after implementing the Disengagement Plan, evacuated all of the settlements and military camps in the Gaza Strip; settlements and military installation in Gaza were constructed over 39% of the total size of the Gaza Strip.

 Ad Dameer reported that what Israel calls evacuation from the Gaza Strip is only for media consumption; the Israeli military occupation over the Gaza Strip did not end, and Israel is still considered a country which occupies Gaza even after it withdrew from the cities and refugee camps, it is still controlling the lives of the residents who remained imprisoned in a bigger prison.

 The Legal Status of the Detainees:

– All of the detainees where arrested, prosecuted by military orders, therefore ending the military rule should include ending the military orders against them.

– Administrative detainees are detained in military detention camps without charges; they are arrested and transferred to administrative detention by direct orders from the military commander in their area.

– All of the Palestinian detainees, who were sent to court, were prosecuted by military judges and military courts.

– All of the detainees were arrested in the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict which is an outcome of the Israeli occupation.

Therefore, Israel after withdrawing from the Gaza Strip, and officially announcing the military rule there, it continues to violate the international law and the fourth Geneva Conventions by keeping the detainees locked up in its detention facilities.

After the Israeli announcement of ending its military rule over the Gaza Strip, it distributed a leaflet announcing the following procedures:

– Canceling the military court, and military prosecution in Eretz, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. – Transferring all of the files of the Gaza Strip Detainees to Civil Courts and Civil Prosecutor.

 – Israel created a new concept described as “illegal fighters” and arrested two residents of the Gaza Strip who were considered illegal fighters after it withdrew from the Gaza Strip.

The two detainees are Riyadh Saadi Ayyad, 32, and Hassan Mahmoud Ayyad, 32.

 If they were considered fighters against the occupation which “ended” in the Gaza Strip, all “fighters” who resisted the occupation should be released.

Ending the occupation of an occupied territory should include all legal aspects, which include releasing the detainees who resisted the occupation, and canceling all military laws and procedures which were imposed by the “military rule” over the occupied areas.

 Facts:

Facts and statistics regarding the Palestinian detainees, the studies were conducted by Palestine Behind Bars Organizations, the Palestinian Prisoners Society.

Since Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, it arrested 650.000 Palestinians; the detainees were arrested by military orders issued by the Israeli military authorities which control the occupied territories.

 The military orders which are issued by military commanders are considered “Laws”, which are implemented by the army and remain valid as long as the occupation remains.

The Palestinians are prosecuted in military courts headed by one to three judges appointed by the army; in most cases two of the three judges do not have a sufficient legal background and knowledge.

Military courts do not follow the internal regulations which violate the basic rights of the detainees of fair representation and defense. A testimony from one soldier could void several testimonies of witnesses.

By the end of 2003, the number of Palestinian detainees in Israeli Prisons and detention facilities arrived to 6000 detainees, most of them are serving high terms. Currently there are 8600 detainees in Israeli prisons and detention facilities. 400 female detainees were arrested during Al Aqsa Intifada.

 Israeli military laws allow the army to detain the Palestinian residents for 180 days without filing charges against them. An Israeli military ruling which carries number 1530 allows Israel to detain the Palestinian prisoners up to two years without filing charges against them.

Israeli military laws allow the arrest of Palestinians children, and prosecuting them without referring to the international standards and regulation regarding child prisoners. Israeli laws allow the interrogators to threat and torture the detainees; several detainees were abused and threatened of rape.

 Detainees who are transferred to administrative detention, are imprisoned for “secret files” which neither the detainees, nor their lawyer, are allowed to read.

Israeli military courts repeatedly extended the detention period of the administrative detainees without any legal proceedings. In most cases, one hour, day, or several days before the administrative detainees are to be released, prison administration informs them that their detention period was renewed; the period could be 3, 6 months or more.

Therefore, even if the law allows the army to detain the Palestinians “only” for 180 days without charges, administrative detention orders, can and did keep the detainees for several months, years without trial.

All of the Palestinian detainees are arrested by the army under military law article number 78A-D, which falls under military law number 378 for the year 1970. According to the Israeli military laws, the army is not obliged to inform the family of the location of their detained family member or the reason of his/her arrest.

 Child detainees: – 3500 Palestinian children were arrested since September 28, 2000. – 288 children are still imprisoned. – 130 children were arrested in 2004. – 145 children were arrested in 2005. – 85 children are sick and do not received medical treatment. – Hundreds of “Adult” detainees were arrested as children and remained in detention. – 99% of the child detainees were tortured.

References: http://www.addameer.org

 http://www.palestinebehindbars.org

http://www.ppsmo.org/

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