Issa Qaraqe’, the head of the Palestinian Detainees’ Committee, has reported that Administrative Detainees, held by Israel without charges or trial, will start a gradual hunger strike this coming April, demanding basic rights guaranteed by International Law.
Speaking to the Palestinian Radio on Monday morning, Qaraqe said the Administrative Detainees will continue to boycott the Israeli military courts, especially since these courts have predetermined rulings, and neither the detainees, nor their lawyers, can have access to the alleged “secret files” against them.
Qaraqe added that the detainees are determined to continue the boycott of military courts, and to launch their gradual hunger strike, until their legitimate demands of fair and open trials are met, in accordance to all international treaties.
He also said that the Detainees’ Committee would be holding various important activities in support of the detainees and their legitimate demands, including a conference in participation of many lawyers, in addition to legal and human rights organizations, to highlight the illegality of the Israeli system in dealing with the Administrative Detainees, and the serious violations against all political prisoners.
The official stated that Israel has passed many laws “legalizing” the imprisonment of Palestinian children, in addition to the excessively high fines, and added that the “Israeli courts have become another means of collecting money from the Palestinians.”
On February 13th, the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Ad-Dameer) issued a detailed statement on behalf of the Palestinian Administrative Detainees regarding the ongoing and illegal use of this policy in violation of conditions and terms elaborated by international humanitarian law.
“Recently, the Israeli occupation forces intensified the use of this policy as there are currently hundreds of Palestinians under administrative detention. This intensification happens regularly, not once or twice a year, but every few months. Palestinians have spent up to 14 years under administrative detention without charge or trial. Administrative detention is used as a weapon against Palestinians; it is one method of collective punishment against our people” (Click To Read The Full Statement).
Also in February, the Electronic Intifada published an article about the detainees’ boycott of Israel’s military courts, and their decision not to attend the hearings in addition to calling on lawyers and human rights organizations to stay away from these courts as a way to delegitimize the Israeli legal system.
|The boycott started on 15 February, and will last, prisoners say, until Israel ends its practice of administrative detention – the widespread Israeli practice of imprisonment without charge or trial that can be renewed indefinitely, and which is rooted in British colonial practices.
“The Israeli military and laws are in complete harmony with the occupation’s policies against our people and represent a complete disregard for international norms,” detainees wrote in their statement.
Palestinians who are taken to military court are faced with a near 100 percent conviction rate.|
It is worth mentioning that the Palestinians annually mark April 17th as the Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, and hold various activities in support of the political prisoners and their humanitarian cause.