Creating new perspectives since 2009

Number of Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli prisons rises to 3,484

February 8, 2024 at 3:52 pm

A group of Palestinians perform a demonstration in support of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, carrying posters and photos of the detainees in Gaza City, Gaza on August 09, 2023. [Ali Jadallah – Anadolu Agency]

According to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), the number of administrative detainees in Israeli Occupation prisons has risen to 3,484, which includes 40 children and 11 women.

In a statement issued today, PPS emphasised the significant surge in administrative detainees, surpassing the numbers of imprisonment recorded during the First Intifada in the late 1980s-early 1990s, when numbers reached 8-10,000.

The statement highlighted that, since Israel launched a war against the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas on 7 October, the Occupation authorities have issued over 3,400 administrative detention orders, through which they are held with neither charge nor trial for set periods, renewable indefinitely.

It added that November recorded the highest issuance of administrative detention orders, totalling 1,120 orders. Moreover, as of the end of January, the number of administrative detainees reached 3,484, with the majority of them being detained after 7 October.

The statement further criticised the Israeli authorities for employing the policy of arbitrary administrative detention as a means of oppression and control against the Palestinians, indiscriminately targeting various groups, including children, women, activists and journalists. It revealed that, before October 7, the number of detainees was approximately 1,320.

Moreover, Palestinians who have been released by Occupation Forces after weeks of detention have shown signs of torture, with swollen hands and feet after being handcuffed for the entire period, electrocuted and beaten. They reported being stripped and left to sleep on gravel with no cover in the winter cold.

Amnesty International has criticised Israel’s use of administrative detention as “unlawful and cruel”. The rights group described it as a violation of due process that undermines international fair trial standards. “Israel’s increasing use of administrative detention suggests that it is using detention without charge or trial as a measure of first resort, rather than a last resort,” said Amnesty’s Philip Luther.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has also expressed concern over administrative detention being “used as a regular practice” and called on Israel to “fully respect international human rights law”.

While Israel defends the practice as necessary for security reasons, human rights groups globally contend that it denies detainees the right to due process, with many held indefinitely on the basis of “secret” evidence and without ever knowing their alleged crime.

READ: Israel forces unleash attack dog on 4-year-old Palestinian boy