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Human rights campaign against administrative detention

January 23, 2014 at 4:41 am

The Palestinian Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer) launched in April a global ‘Stop Administrative Detention Campaign’. The initiative seeks to highlight Israel’s human rights violations against Palestinian detainees, as well as create a platform through which this abuse of freedom can be challenged through international activism.

The indefinite nature of such incarceration and its repercussions upon the prisoners have at times been perfected by the Israeli occupation, with renewed administrative detention orders issued at the prison gates as the detainee is about to leave. Such humiliation is part of the occupation’s tactics in its obsession with demanding submission from Palestinians.

“I think that administrative detainees, they have a problem with calendars,” states Kifah Jibril in one of Addamer’s video clips used in raising awareness against administrative detention.

Administrative detention, authorised under Israeli domestic law despite the practice infringing the limited permission as a ‘last resort’ afforded under international human rights law, is an achievement aided by the international community’s diplomatic silence with regard to the abuses, as well as corporate collaboration with the occupation, notably the G4S security company. Since the commencement of mass hunger strikes by Palestinians in protest against administrative detention, attention has shifted towards the role G4S plays in facilitating this flagrant human rights violation since 2007, when the company signed a contract with Israel for the provision of security services in all major prisons and detention centres.

Addamer has merged the political repressions with humanitarian repercussions in order to portray the complete ordeal of administrative detention. Harrowing testimonies of families shattered by this inhumane practice elicit an almost unbearable tension. Lives are marred with indefinite detention periods – while detainees languish in jails without charge or the right to a fair trial, families on the outside endure collective punishment by Israeli rules which sanction the deterioration of the family nucleus through the application of security permit bans issued every six months. The limited visitation permit is at times permanently revoked, obliterating the meagre communication channel between family members.

Apart from the constraints of collective punishment inflicted upon families as a result of the practice, Israel’s impunity is strengthened by creating additional barriers to communication in order to increase isolation. Detainees are usually charged with being ‘a threat to security’, despite the fact that no evidence is brought forward by Israeli authorities to support these accusations. Lawyers are deprived of the necessary information required to prepare a defence, hence the detainee’s isolation within a legal system that supports the interests of the occupation to the point that any trial after prolonged periods of administrative detention is conducted in Hebrew, effectively preventing the prisoner from sustaining a suitable defence.

As reported on Addamer’s Facebook page yesterday, incarceration continues to be used as a weapon against Palestinians, with changes to rules regarding detention to be reviewed by the Knesset. The Israeli Legislative Committee is seeking changes to the Criminal Code with regard to security prisoners – a delay of up to 96 hours for a prisoner to appear in court, the possibility of extending detention without appearing before a judge and an extension of the timeframe necessary to file charges against security prisoners. Perfecting the practice of apartheid will remain a primary concern for Israel unless the occupation is challenged and reversed.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.