36 days: Palestinian civil society leaders in Israeli detention without charge or trial

In today via amnesty international:

In violation of international humanitarian law, two Palestinian civil society leaders have been held in administrative detention in an Israeli prison without charge or trial for 36 days.

Khalida Jarrar is a Member of the Palestinian parliament. Khitam Saafin is a women’s union leader. Their administrative detention orders can be renewed indefinitely and with no prior notice. Their detention violates international humanitarian law.

Khalida Jarrar and Khitam Saafin are being represented by lawyers from Addameer, a Palestinian non-governmental Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. According to the lawyers, the Israeli military commander issued a three-month administrative detention order against Khitam Saafin on 9 July 2017, which a military judge confirmed on 12 July. Elected parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar was given a six-month administrative detention order on 12 July, which was confirmed by a military judge on 18 July. Although six months is the maximum period of detention for each order, they can be renewed indefinitely. Both women deny accusations of being members of an illegal organisation.

In the early hours of 2 July 2017, the two women were arrested by Israeli soldiers during separate raids on their homes. Eyewitnesses reported that between 40 and 50 armed Israeli soldiers conducted a raid at 3:30am that day to arrest Khitam Saafin in her home in Beitunia, a neighbourhood of Ramallah in the West Bank, which is Israeli-occupied territory. At around 4am that same day, Khalida Jarrar was arrested in her home in Ramallaha during a similar Israeli military raid; her phone, tablet and the hard drive of her home computer were confiscated.

Both women were first held in Ofer military compound near Ramallah. In the afternoon of 2 July, they were transferred to HaSharon prison inside Israel. According to international humanitarian law, detainees from occupied territories may not be held the occupying power’s territory. The women’s transfer to a prison inside Israel therefore violates international humanitarian law.
As in all cases of administrative detention by the state of Israel, the ‘evidence’ against Khalida Jarrar and Khitam Saafin is secret. In violation of a central principle of fair trial standards, the ‘evidence’ may not be reviewed either by the detainees or by their lawyers.

The policies outlined above violate basic human rights and international humanitarian law. Israel has nevertheless pursued such policies for many decades. If they are harmful to Palestinian men, women and children, they also harm the Israeli soldiers, many of whom are young, impressionable men and women, under orders to carry out dawn raids and to take often brutal action against innocent civilians going about their daily lives. Most importantly, and contrary to official claims and propaganda, such policies have failed abysmally to make Israel safe and bring peace to the region.

We urge the Israeli government and Israeli armed forces,
– to release Khalida Jarrar and Khitam Saafin immediately;
– to release all other prisoners held by Israel in administrative detention.

Alternatively, recognisable criminal charges must be brought immediately against any such detainees, and they must be brought to trial in conformity with international trial standards.

We also urge Israel to take immediate steps to end the practice of administrative detention.


About Oban Concern for Palestine

. . . supporting people in Palestine and Israel who oppose the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Oban Concern for Palestine are a group of Argyll residents who share an interest in Palestine, a friendship with its people and a deep concern for their welfare. And, for the sake of Israel, we want to encourage the government of Israel to comply with international law. Oban Concern for Palestine believe that the oppression of the Palestinian people is a grave wrong, that the government of Israel is in violation of international law, and that we have a duty to speak up and do what we can to bring it to an end. We welcome new members and supporters. For more information, please contact obanconcern4palestine AT gmail DOT com • +44 7747 300 062 • Oban Concern for Palestine, c/o Stronchriach, Rowan Road, Oban, Argyll, PA34 5TY, UK
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