Int’l pressure builds: Human Rights Watch calls for end to ‘abusive’ administrative detention of 178 prisoners

on 6 Comments

International pressure is building against the Israeli security narrative. Human Rights Watch yesterday called on Israel to end the “abusive practice” of administrative detention, an extreme measure it is now using against 178 Palestinians, some of whom are among the hunger strikers capturing world attention.

Israel should immediately charge or release Palestinians detained without charge or trial for prolonged periods and stop denying them and their lawyers access to evidence of their alleged crimes.

On February 22, 2013, an Israeli military court extended the detention without charge of Ja`afar Izz el-Din and Tarek Qa`dan, both held since November 2012 when Israeli forces arrested them in the West Bank. Military courts have refused to allow the men or their lawyers to see the evidence being used to justify their continuing detention. Other detainees, including Samer Issawi and Ayman Sharawna, are due to face a military committee that can order their re-imprisonment on the basis of secret evidence.

These Palestinian detainees have for months been protesting fundamental due process violations by refusing food. Lawyers who have visited them in detention say they are suffering grave health consequences as a result of their prolonged hunger strikes. Families of some of the hunger strikers have told Human Rights Watch that Israeli authorities have refused to allow them to visit the men.

“It is outrageous that Israel has locked these men up for months without either charging them with crimes or allowing them to see the evidence it says it has against them,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.  “The detainees evidently feel they have to put their lives in jeopardy through hunger strikes so that Israel will end these unlawful practices.”…

The laws of occupation, which Israel is bound to respect as the occupying power in the West Bank, permit the use of administrative detention only in exceptional circumstances. Article 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention provides that an occupying power may legitimately order the detention of an individual only “for imperative reasons of security.” The International Committee of the Red Cross, in its “Commentary” to article 78, stresses that the “exceptional character” of such measures “must be preserved.”  Israel is currently holding about 178 Palestinians as “administrative detainees” and has long used this measure to imprison without trial Palestinians it suspects of security offenses.  

“Israel’s regular use of administrative detention, at the least, inverts international law and turns the exception into the norm, at the cost of the fundamental right to due process,” Whitson said.

Oh and speaking of international attention, for once, Israelis aren’t leading this conversation with talk about security. From Barak Ravid at Haaretz:

The Palestinian uprising was written on Hollywood’s red carpet

While neither local documentary won an Oscar this year, the hoopla surrounding the films helped wake Israelis up to the ugly reality of the occupation.

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6 Responses

  1. Citizen
    February 25, 2013, 1:32 pm

    While international pressure is building against Israel, the international jewish Bnai-Brith organization is pressuring US congress critters to review Hagel’s statements and record with a fine tooth comb regarding anything Israel or Iran before confirming him:

    Meanwhile Panetta desperately wants to go tend his farm like Candide at the end of that story.

  2. DICKERSON3870
    February 25, 2013, 1:59 pm

    RE: “While neither local documentary won an Oscar this year . . .” ~ Barak Ravid at Haaretz

    MY SNARK: Fancy that! ! !*

    * SEE: “Pictures speak volumes in Oscar-nominated Israeli films”, By Jonathan Cook, Israeli Occupation Archive, 2/20/13

    [EXCERPT] Israelis have been revelling in the prospect of an Oscar night triumph next week, with two Israeli-financed films among the five in the running for Best Documentary. But the country’s right-wing government is reported to be quietly fuming that the films, both of which portray Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories in a critical light, have garnered so much attention following their nominations.
    Guy Davidi, the Israeli co-director of “5 Broken Cameras”, one of the finalists, says industry insiders had warned him that pressure was being exerted on the Academy to stop the films winning the award.
    “Many people in Hollywood are working very hard to make sure that neither film wins,” he says. “From Israel’s point of view, an Oscar would be a public relations disaster and mean more people get to see our films.”

    Davidi’s film is a searing account by the Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat of a six-year period in his West Bank village during which the residents non-violently protested an Israeli wall that cut off their farmland.
    Israeli soldiers are shown beating, tear-gassing and shooting the villagers and solidarity activists. . .


  3. joemowrey
    February 25, 2013, 3:08 pm

    And then there is the U.S., which doesn’t even bother with sham policy definitions like “administrative detention.” We currently have 171 people locked up indefinitely at Guantanamo without charge or trial, many who have been there for the entire decade of shame since its creation. Incredulously, 89 of these people have actually been cleared for release, yet they still are being held in conditions which demonstrate the true barbarity of our so-called liberal society and our faux moral posturing to the rest of the world.

    Oh, but it’s not Obama’s fault. Congress won’t let him close it. Now there is a huge stinking pile of Progressive manure. Here’s a guy who claims the kingly right to assassinate anyone he chooses, anywhere in the world, including U.S. citizens. But he doesn’t have the power to release the innocent men he is imprisoning at Guanatnamo? Oh, right. Congress won’t approve the funding. How about if Barry uses a little chump change from the billions he’s spending on his fleet of killer drones.

    The fact that so-called Progressives continue to support this monster on any level is a disgrace which we can only hope will one day come back to haunt everyone who voted for and supported Obama and his criminal Presidency.

    Not nice of me? Not polite? I believe it was here at Mondoweiss we read that some issues are too important for politeness.

  4. RoHa
    February 25, 2013, 9:55 pm

    On the ABC last night.

    During the broadcast there were a stream of tweets across the bottom of the screen, and, of those which referred to Israel, most seemed to be critical. I think you can see a lot of them.

    You will note that people are still angry about Israel’s misuse of Australian passports.

    • RoHa
      February 25, 2013, 10:08 pm

      There was a stream of tweets.

      (That’s what comes of changing your sesntence in mid-stream, and not going back and editing!)

  5. W.Jones
    February 27, 2013, 12:53 am

    I am glad HRW is calling for an end to the abusive practice. However, I think Mondoweiss ran a story not too long ago that HRW had been coopted. I saw a report on that Human Rights Watch director Sarah Whitson was criticizing Gazans for the attack on them called Pillar of Cloud. She said that they were violating international law by shooting rockets out of densely populated areas. OK, I think Gazans should respond to their massive casualties by using nonviolence. But c’mon, since they are herded into a dense, tiny area they don’t really have much choice regarding her claim.

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