500 Palestinian Administrative Detainees, held in Israeli prisons without charge or trial, have refused to attend their court sessions for 44 days in protest of Israel’s policy of Administrative Detention.
The Palestinian New & Information Agency (WAFA) reported that 500 Palestinians have maintained their boycott of the Israeli Military courts, to express their rejection of the policy of being imprisoned without charges or a trial, based on secret evidence.
The boycott includes not attending hearings to approve or renew existing orders in addition to appeal hearings and future Supreme Court hearings.
Administrative Detention can be applied for six months at a time, and renewed indefinitely, causing the detainees and their family members to untold suffering and despair, with the sole purpose of oppression and collective punishment against the Palestinian population.
Beginning on January 1, 2022, Palestinian Administrative Detainees began the boycott, and on January 20, they wrote a letter entitled Our Decision Is Freedom… No to Administrative Detention stating that the policy is used in an “arbitrary manner and is in violation of international standards, human rights conventions, and the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
Below is a portion of the letter explaining the decision to boycott;
A sudden arrest takes place with no warrant, which is predicated on the mood of the Shin Bet officer or the agent who writes a malicious report against the targeted Palestinian individuals. Often, the arrest is because of a political or social opinion or simply for exercising fundamental human rights, such as participating in local or university elections or even attending a gym. Others are targeted for visiting a patient or helping someone in need.
Administrative detention’s uncertainty and arbitrary nature cause moral and psychological harm to detainees and their families. The detainees do not know the reason for their detention, nor are their lawyers provided with any meaningful information. Further, the detainees do not know the duration of their detention and their release date, as detention orders may be renewed indefinitely.
The policy of administrative detention is not used for security reasons or even for an apparent political reason. Instead, it targets those who speak out against human rights violations.
Palestinian administrative detainees are presented before an Israeli military court “show trial” with no real credibility or decision-making authority. Judgments are produced by military courts that do not abide by international conventions and standards, most notably fair trial standards. Instead, these courts operate under special military law; military judges are officers in the Israeli Occupation Forces, implementing the policy of the Shin Bet.
There is no clear or defined sentence imposed upon Palestinian administrative detainees, as all administrative detention orders are renewable indefinitely. The court decision is based solely on a “secret file.” The military judge refuses to reveal the details of the file and does not verify the accuracy of the information that it contains.
The Israeli military commander of the region has the right to issue an arrest warrant and extend it for the period they want. Further, the Israeli military commander has the right to release you, then return you to administrative detention within hours of your release without any justification.
This policy manipulates the emotions of the detainees and their families until the last minute. Detainees do not know if their detention will be extended until the moment of its extension. The extremity of this policy is such that detainees are informed of their release. Yet, when the detainees arrive at the last checkpoint, another order renewing the period of detention is issued by a Shin Bet officer just moments before their release, leading them to be sent back to administrative detention. Such arbitrary processes serve as a form of psychological torture against both the detainee and their family.
These policies have led some detainees to spend more than ten years in detention without any horizon or end in sight. It has disrupted hundreds of lives and deprived Palestinian detainees and their families of the right to liberty and dignified life.
This policy has begun to expand in recent years to include more Palestinian women and children under 18, not to mention targeting patients and elderly Palestinians who are physically unable to pose any “security” risk.
Administrative detention policies are accompanied by a set of unjust and unjustified instructions that have absolutely nothing to do with security. This includes confiscating detainees’ belongings upon arrest, preventing families from attending court and hearing court sessions, preventing contact with families, and forbidding detainees’ from participating in necessary events and life milestones such as funerals, births, and weddings even by phone.