Palestinian Minister of Detainees in the West Bank, Issa Qaraqe’, called for the boycotting of all Israeli military courts for their repeated rulings that confine thousands of detainees under administrative orders without filing any official indictments against them.His statements came during a visit to the family of detainee, Ahmad Nabhan Saqer, aged 47, at the Askar refugee camp, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
Saqer has been imprisoned under administrative detention for over three years, since he was abducted in November 2008, and Israeli military courts have repeatedly issued administrative detention orders against him, without filing any formal charges.
Saqer was arrested three times before, and has spent a total of twelve years and counting, behind bars.
The Palestinian Minister said that administrative detention is an illegal and unconstitutional form of imprisonment, as military courts do not have to file charges or reveal the cause of arrest.
Detainees held under administrative detention do not know for sure when, or if, they will be released, as Israel often continues to renew these orders without any prior notice. In some isolated cases, the detainees have been told that they will be released, taken to the main prison gate, and are then informed that a new order was issued against them, usually for three or six months each time.
Qaraqe’ voiced an appeal to human rights groups to practice pressure on Israel and oblige it to end its administrative detention laws as they are arbitrary, unconstitutional, and violate International Law.
He said that all military courts must be boycotted as they base their rulings on “secret files” that even defense attorneys do not have access to.
The wife of Saqer stated that the extended imprisonment of her husband, and the uncertainty of when or if he will be released, directly impacts the family, particularly his children who can’t know for sure when their father will be able to return home.
On January 20, 2012, Saqer declared that he will be boycotting military courts, and stated that appearing in front of military courts and judges provides them with the legitimacy they do not have.
There are 280 Palestinians who are currently imprisoned under administrative detention orders; Israel has issued more than 20,000 administrative detention orders since the year 2000. These orders have also been issued against children and elected legislators.