Detainees & prisoners

Today (16 Sept.) media reports stated that upon being discharged from hospital, Muhammad ‘Alan – whose administrative detention order was suspended after he staged a two-month hunger strike demanding he be released – was re-detained under a new order. The authorities continue to harass ‘Alan, who had reached a life-threatening condition because of the hunger strike he held to protest the arbitrary denial of his liberty without the benefit of due process. B’Tselem once more urges Israeli authorities to release ‘Alan immediately from administrative detention.

Muhammad 'Alan. Photo: Courtesy of the family.
September 16

Yesterday, 19 Aug. 2015, the Supreme Court suspended ‘Alan’s administrative detention order due to his medical condition. If it is found that the neurological damage is irreversible, the order will be voided. ‘Alan, 30, has been in administrative detention for over nine months and on hunger strike for two to protest the detention which denies his freedom without due process. Administrative detention is detention without trial: ‘Alan has not been indicted; has received no explanation for his imprisonment; and cannot even attempt to prove his innocence. On Friday he lost consciousness. On Tue. he regained it but his life still hangs in the balance. B’Tselem urges Israeli authorities to release ‘Alan immediately.

Muhammad 'Alan. Photo: Curtesy of the family.
August 19

On Wed. (29 July) the Knesset voted in favor of a bill permitting to force-feed hunger strikers in cases deemed medically life-threatening. Designed to break the spirit and body of prisoners and administrative detainees who are protesting non-violently, the law tramples the Patients’ Rights Act and human dignity. The Israeli Medical Association said it would petition the HCJ against the law and instruct doctors not to implement it. The bill passed is an awful moral blot. The very thought of its implementation is horrifying. Support for such as bill by the majority of the coalition is a grim, yet accurate, expression of the legislators’ willingness to trample human rights.

July 30

Media reports state that Khader ‘Adnan was released on 12 July 2015, in accordance with the agreement reached by his legal counsel and Israel’s military prosecution, and under which ‘Adnan also ended his hunger strike on 29 June 2015. ‘Adnan, a resident of ‘Araba in the West Bank, was striking to protest being held in administrative detention for a cumulative period of nearly six years, without any charges being brought against him.

Khader ‘Adnan at his bakery. Photo by Oren Ziv, activestills.org, 21 June 2013
July 12

Khader ‘Adnan is on the 49th day of a hunger strike to protest his lengthy administrative detention and there is now fear for his life. Israel is advancing a bill to allow force-feeding in such cases, although the international medical community agrees that this is a prohibited violation of the right to personal autonomy, dignity, and protest. B’Tselem again calls on the government to change its administrative detention policy, which defies international law, instead of drastically punishing people protesting their unlawful detention.

Khader ‘Adnan at his bakery. Photo by Oren Ziv, activestills.org, 21 June 2013
June 23

A new report B’Tselem published today indicates that remand in custody is the rule rather than the exception for Palestinian defendants. Most cases, therefore, end in plea bargains. To all intents and purposes, the Israeli military court appears to be a court like any other. There are prosecutors and defense attorneys. There are rules of procedure, laws and regulations. There are judges who hand down rulings and verdicts couched in reasoned legal language. Nonetheless, this façade of propriety masks one of the most injurious apparatuses of the occupation. The rules of Israeli law, ostensibly applied to the military court, have been rendered essentially meaningless - merely serving to whitewash the flaws of the military court system.

June 21

Yesterday, soldiers briefly detained a developmentally disabled Palestinian boy, who is under the age of criminal responsibility, on suspicion that he had thrown stones. The boy, A. a-Rajbi, (full name withheld in interest of privacy) who will be 12 in a month, was detained after Palestinian children threw stones at soldiers on the main road of the Jabel Johar neighborhood in Hebron, close to the settlement of Kiryat Arba. A-Rajbi was handcuffed, blindfolded, and held on the floor of an army jeep for some 15 minutes until his father arrived and convinced the soldiers to release his son, who is mentally disabled and cannot speak.

Still from video.
October 20

In May 2014, B’Tselem cautioned that the number of Palestinians held by Israel in administrative detention was rising. At the end of August, after Operation Brother’s Keeper, there were some 473 administrative detainees – the highest number since April 2009. Administrative detention is detention without trial. The security establishment uses it extensively, in breach of the restrictions placed by international law. The government of Israel must release all administrative detainees or prosecute them, in accordance with due process.

October 7

This morning, 22 June 2014, human rights organizations active in the Occupied Territories sent an urgent letter to the heads of the Israeli security establishment and military commanders in the West Bank, demanding that they refrain from collectively punishing the civilian Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as part of Operation Brother’s Keeper. The letter also demanded that the more stringent restrictions imposed on the detention conditions of Palestinian prisoners be withdrawn.

Damages left after a search in Balata refugee camp, Salma a-Dib'i, B'Tselem
June 22

As part of efforts to locate the 3 abducted students stringent travel restrictions were imposed on Hebron District residents on Sat., 14 June. Some restrictions constitute unlawful collective punishment: barring entrance to Israel by Hebron residents with permits; prohibiting 16 to 50-year-old male Hebron residents travel to Jordan. Other collective punishment: a ban on family visits to Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Politicians’ statements raise grave concerns that Israel will adopt measures designed to harm and pressure local Palestinians.

An Israeli soldier searches a Palestinian vehicle at a checkpoint near the West Bank City of Hebron. Photo: Baz Ratner, Reuters, June 15, 2014.
June 17

On 9 June 2014, a bill to force feed prisoners passed first reading in the Israeli Knesset. The bill was initiated by the Ministry of Public Security in response to a hunger strike by Palestinian inmates. Force feeding hunger strikers is a violation of their dignity, right to autonomy over their body and right to protest by whatever means they choose. It also violates medical ethics. Instead of punishing people protesting their unlawful detention, Israel should change its administrative detention policy, which defies international law.

Ktziot Prison, where some of the administrative detainees are held. Photo: Yosi I
June 11

Police fails to protect the girls from settler violence but finds the resources to vigorously enforce the law on children for minor suspicions. On Tues. May 27, the police detained four Palestinian girls after a Ma’on settler accused them of picking cherries from his grove. The police took them to the station without adult accompaniment, interrogated two of them and, after four hours, handed them over to the Palestinian Police. They were released only in the evening.

From video footage taken by Operation Dove activists.
May 28

In July 2012, after a close to five year ban on all family visits to inmates from Gaza, Israel reinstated visits for adult relatives. As of 2013, children under 10 may also visit their imprisoned fathers. The arbitrary age limit means 260 Gazan children are unable to visit their fathers in Israeli prisons. The right to family life, including prison visits, is enshrined in both international and Israeli law. B’Tselem renews its call to allow prison visits to Gazan inmates by all first-degree relatives, and especially by their children.

Leen a-Saftawi, 13, does not know her father who has been held in Israel for the last 14 years
May 13

On 24 April 2014, Palestinian administrative detainees held in Israel announced a hunger strike to protest Israel’s of administrative detention. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, some 130 are now on strike. Israel is currently holding 191 Palestinians in administrative detention, i.e. without trial, in breach of international law, which allows such imprisonment only in exceptional cases as a last resort to prevent danger. The government must release all administrative detainees or prosecute them, in accordance with due process.

Photo: Ziv Koren
May 11

On Fri. 28 Mar. 2014 soldiers went up to the Sidrs’ roof. They filmed Shadi Sidr, his brother and a friend in the street below and aimed their weapons at them. Sidr demanded the soldiers explain their presence; they demanded he leave. After the filmed exchange, the soldiers unjustifiably detained the three men for hours. Soldiers are allowed virtually unrestricted access to Palestinian homes, thereby violating people’s privacy and property. B’Tselem sent a complaint to the Legal Advisor in Judea and Samaria regarding the unjustified detention.

Soldier photographing Shadi Sidr inside the Sidr home.
April 8

On 17 March The military cancelled the family visits–permitted once every 2-3 months–to Gazans being held in Israel. In view of rocket-fire from Gaza targeting communities in southern Israel, the military announced on 12 Mar. 2014 that passage through Erez Crossing would be restricted to humanitarian cases and Kerem Shalom Crossing would be closed. This led to even greater power shortages in Gaza as Israel held up delivery of diesel to power Gaza’s electric plant. B’Tselem calls on Israel to refrain from collective punishment of Gaza residents.

Prolonged power cuts in the Gaza Strip due to shortage of fuel for the Gaza power station. Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa, Reuters, 15 March, 2014.
March 17

On Sunday, 21 July 2013, B’Tselem camera volunteer Raed Abu Ermeileh filmed video footage of a police officer slapping a detainee, who appeared to be a minor. He slapped the detainee several times on the nape of the neck, while leading him out of a Hebron police station. The detainee was put inside a vehicle parked outside the station, three police officers got in, and the vehicle drove off. Its many attempts notwithstanding, B’Tselem has been unable to identify the detainee.

Still from footage filmed by B’Tselem camera volunteer Raed Abu Ermeileh
August 1

On 22 July 2013, the Israeli military's Legal Advisor in Judea and Samaria responded to B'Tselem's letter regarding the grave incident in which soldiers detained a five-year-old boy in Hebron for two hours, after he threw a stone. In his letter, the legal advisor addressed the general issue of soldiers having to deal with a complex reality in which children under the age of criminal responsibility throw stones. Regarding the detention of Wadi' Maswadeh, the advisor justified the soldiers' conduct. B'Tselem sent a reply, emphasizing that the soldiers had acted in a fundamentally unacceptable way throughout the incident, and that acknowledging the complexity of the reality in which they operate cannot justify blatantly unlawful violation of children's rights and harm to their welfare.

Father and son detained at checkpoint. Photo: ISM
August 1

B'Tselem has written urgently to the Legal Adviser in Judea and Samaria, demanding his response to a grave incident in which soldiers detained a five-year-old boy in Hebron for two hours, after he threw a stone. The soldiers threatened the child and his parents, handcuffed and blindfolded the father, and handed the boy over to the Palestinian Police. Detaining a child below the age of criminal responsibility, especially one so young, has no legal justification.

Father and son detained at checkpoint. Photo: ISM
July 11

The military court trial of Nariman a-Tamimi and Rana Hamadah, two Palestinian women arrested at a non-violent demonstration in a-Nabi Saleh, will begin on 9 July 2013. This legal action is unprecedented, as there is no charge of violence. Moreover, the prosecution acknowledged it wishes to prevent the women from demonstrating – unacceptable grounds for arrest. B’Tselem: “The military prosecution’s handling of the matter, and particularly its unprecedented request to remand non-violent demonstrators for the duration of legal proceedings, raises the suspicion that the military might be exploiting these proceedings to keep Nariman a-Tamimi from carrying on her joint activity with her husband, Bassem, in a-Nabi Saleh’s struggle against the village being dispossessed of its land.”

Still from video documentation of the arrests. Sarit Michaeli, B'Tselem, 28 June 2013
July 7