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Urgent Appeal - Administrative Detention

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Imad Mohammad al-AshhabName: Imad Mohammad al-Ashhab
Event: Administrative Detention
Place of residence: Hebron, Occupied Palestinian Territory
Date of arrest: 21 February 2010
Charge: No charge
Place of detention: Ofer Prison, Occupied Palestinian Territory

Date of issue: 4 January 2011

Background information

At around 7:30am, on 21 February 2010, 17-year-old Imad was travelling to work with his father in the occupied West Bank. Father and son had to pass through an Israeli army checkpoint like every morning. 'When we reached the container checkpoint,' recalls Imad, 'soldiers would usually examine our permits.' However, on this morning, two soldiers grabbed Imad and dragged him into a small room. 'What did he do?' shouted Imad's father, but there was no response. After being thoroughly searched, Imad reports that his hands were handcuffed behind his back and his feet were shackled. 'They also placed a black mask over my face and it smelled like urine,' recalls Imad. 'The smell was very strong and I told one of the soldiers but he didn't take it off, but said, "shut-up, or I'll hit you."' Imad reports that he was held in the small room for around six hours during which time he was not given anything to eat or drink, and was prevented from using the toilet.

Later that afternoon, Imad was placed in the back of a military jeep. 'The jeep travelled for a long time,' recalls Imad. 'I was alone with the soldiers. One of them hit me on the legs with a stick and he also slapped me across the face. My hands and feet were still handcuffed and I had the smelly mask around my face. "Do you smoke?" the soldiers asked me. "No I don't," I said. Then I heard him lighting a cigarette and he burned my right hand with the cigarette, which made me feel great pain.' Imad also reports being slapped while in the back of the jeep and hitting his head on the roof several times when the vehicle went over a bump. Sometime that evening the jeep arrived at an unknown location and Imad was interrogated for about 15 minutes while still handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded. Following the interrogation, Imad reports being taken outside, still blindfolded, and ordered to walk back and forth, causing him to walk into the side of a vehicle and bump his head four times. Imad was then placed in a jeep and transferred to another unknown location where he was given a brief medical examination. Imad informed the person he assumed to be a doctor that he had been burned with a cigarette, but he received no treatment.

The following day, Imad was taken to Etzion Police Station, which is situated inside an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. Imad remained at Etzion for five days and was interrogated by interrogators from the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) (also known as the 'Shabak'). Imad reports being interrogated while handcuffed shackled and blindfolded. During this time, Imad was also taken to Ofer Prison for further interrogation. Imad was asked during his interrogation whether he was affiliated with Hamas, which he denied. 'On the eighth day of my detention,' recalls Imad, 'one of the jailers told me that I have a six-month administrative detention order. He then handed me a document written in Hebrew and ordered me to sign it.' Imad continued to be interrogated after he was issued with an administrative detention order and was told that somebody had given a confession implicating Imad in a planned military operation. Imad categorically denies this accusation. 'I still don't know why they arrested and detained me. I didn't do anything,' says Imad.

Imad's first administrative detention order was reduced from six months to two months. However, in early May 2010, Imad was given a second administrative detention order before he could be released, and then a third order in August 2010, and a fourth order on 4 November 2010. Imad's fourth order is set to expire on 4 February 2011, when he will either be released, or given a fifth administrative detention order. Imad has now been held for over 10 months without charge or trial.

Administrative detention

Administrative detention is detention without charge or trial and is often based on "secret evidence." Israeli Military Order 1591 empowers military commanders to detain Palestinians, including children as young as 12, for up to six months if they have "reasonable grounds to presume that the security of the area or public security require the detention." The initial six month period can be extended by additional six-month periods indefinitely. This procedure denies the detainee the right to a fair trial and the ability to adequately challenge the basis of his or her detention. There are currently at least 205 Palestinians being held by Israel without charge or trial in administrative detention, including one child, Imad.

Recommended action

Please send Urgent Appeals before 4 February 2011, urging:

  1. The immediate end to the practice of holding persons under the age of 18 in administrative detention; and
  2. The immediate and unconditional release of Imad from administrative detention, or charge him with a recognisable criminal offence and promptly try him in a proper court of law with internationally accepted standards for a fair trial.

Appeals to:

Please inform DCI-Palestine if you receive any response to your appeals and quote the UA number at the top of this document – ria@dci-pal.org

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