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The policy of arbitrary detention in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

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Introduction

 

 

During august/2017, the Israeli occupation forces continued their policy of arbitrary detention against hundreds of civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. They also continued their practices and procedures that violate the rules of the International Humanitarian Law and the International Human Rights Law.

The policy of arbitrary detention has become a serious phenomenon carried out by the occupation authorities through various Palestinian cities which affects all categories, especially children and women.

In this context, the partner institutions (Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, the Palestinian Society Prisoner's Club, the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights) have issued the joint report of August/ 2017, which reviews statistics and figures resulting from the documentations done by the partner institutions.

This report is divided into four sections. The first deals with statistics on the number of detainees, while the second focuses on arresting the people who defend human rights. The third section deals with the extrajudicial killings (the martyr Raed Salhi's case), and the fourth deals with child detention and imposing high fines on them.

The report provides legal handling for different events, in accordance with the rules of International Humanitarian Law and the international Human Rights Law. It also comes up with conclusions and recommendations.  

 

 

 

 

First: statistics on arrest cases

 

The Israeli occupation forces continued their policy of arbitrary detention in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In this context, this report monitors arrest cases that happened during August/2017. It also provides statistics and figures resulting from the documentations done by the partner institutions.

Statistics show that the Israeli forces have arrested, during August/2017, (522) Palestinians including (130) child and (16) women.

According to the statistics, the Israeli forces have arrested (194) citizens from Jerusalem, (70) citizens from Hebron, (50) citizens from Ramallah, (45) citizens from Nablus, (38) citizens from Bethlehem, (33) citizens from Jenin, (27) citizens from Tulkarem, (24) citizens from Qalqilia, (19) citizens from Salfeet, (11) citizens from Jericho, (7) citizens from Tubas and (4) citizens from Gaza.

The total number of Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails reached to (6300), including (64) female detainees and (10) minors among them, (300) child, (450) administrative detainees, in addition to (12) deputies from the Legislative Council.

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In terms of the number of administrative detention orders, the Israeli forces have issued (134) orders, including (61) new orders and (73) orders of administrative detention for the second and third time.

 

Second: arresting the defenders of Human Rights

 

Although article 1 of the declaration on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1998, states that: "everyone has the right to advocate the protection of human rights and the fundamental liberties at the local and international levels", the occupation continues to arrest and prosecute activists and human rights defenders. In 23/8/2017, the occupation forces arrested the activist and field researcher at Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, "Salah Hammuri", after storming his house in kufr Aqab, north of Jerusalem. He was arrested more than once, the last of which was in 2004, where he served a sentence of 7 years of imprisonment, but he was freed under the Wafa' Al Ahrar deal in 2011. A few days later, he was freed with conditions: detaineding him in his house for 20 days in the village of Al Rinah in the occupied territories,  preventing him from traveling for 3 months, deportation from Jerusalem for 90 days and a bail of 10.000 NIS. However, after the end of his hearing, an administrative order was issued against him for 6 months, and during the confirmation session, the judge of the Magistrates court has annulled the detention. Then he was sentenced to complete the previous sentence of nearly three months, although he was freed in the Wafa Al Ahrar deal, and therefore the prosecution submitted an appeal against this decision.

The detention of Al Hammuri is an arbitrary detention that comes under the broad targeting of activists and human rights defenders, in order to prevent them from exercising their social role in raising awareness and defending the freedom and rights of individuals. During his detention in 2004, the occupation authorities suggested to deport him to France for 10 years, as he has a French citizenship, instead of arresting and prosecuting him, but he refused the offer and remained captive until he was released. After his release, he was subjected to many various arbitrary procedures such as preventing him from entering the West Bank twice in 2015 for one year and a half. In 2016, his wife "Ilsa", who hold the French citizenship, was forcibly deported from the Palestinian Territories for 10 years. She was then pregnant with her child, Hassan, whom she had born abroad, away from his father.

 

Third: extrajudicial killings (the case of the martyr Raed Salhi) from Al Duhaisha camp

The policy of field execution and deliberate shooting was not a sudden reaction by the occupation forces, but it was deliberate and systematic policy either through the statement of the Israeli government in the media or through direct proposals by members of the government, to use live ammunition against Palestinians which is an explicit violation of the international law.

Since September 2015, human rights organizations documented many cases in which the Israeli occupation forces executed extrajudicial killings against civilian Palestinians, during demonstrations and confrontations in most of the Palestinian cities.

In 9/9/2017, the Israeli occupation army stormed Al Duhaishah camp/ Bethlehem to carry out a campaign of arrests. During the campaign, the Israeli occupation forces opened fire form a zero- distance on ayoung man called Abdul Aziz Arafa, who was wounded in the left leg, and the young man Raed Salhi (22 years old), who died on 3/9/2017 due to his injury by 6 bullets in the liver and kidney.

The brother of the martyr Bassam Salhi stated the following:

"On 9/8/2017, I woke up at sounds of screaming, specifically my mother's voice screaming and crying, saying that the army killed Raed, and then I went immediately to save Raed's life. The soldiers opened fire heavily, while I saw a soldier lying on the fence of our house and it seemed to me that he was wounded. Later, I noticed that soldiers shot him accidentally and all of them were trying to evacuate the wounded soldier. While they were busy I jumped to our neighbors' house where Raed was lying wounded on the ground. I came closer and stretched my hand to pull Raed, but the soldiers directed the laser at me, then Raed raised his left leg to protect me and had a bullet in his leg. After 15 minutes, many soldiers stormed the place accompanied by dogs who found us due to the blood of Raed. One of them asked me to leave Raed and shot at me to frighten me but I refused. The same soldier hit me on the shoulder and leg and forcibly took me away from Raed. Then, they took Raed away and I did not know what is happening or where did they take him. Practicing the policy of extrajudicial executions is considered a war crime according to the international law. According to article 8 (a) of the Rome Statute, deliberate killing is considered a war crime. Therefore, the occupation bears full responsibility of committing war crimes against the Palestinian people.

 

Forth: child detention and imposing high fines

 

     The Israeli Ofer court issued 39 sentences against Palestinian minors during August and imposed heavy fines reaching to more than 110.000 NIS.

Monitoring and documentations conducted by the partner institutions indicated that during August, 59 minors were detained at the children section of Ofer prison, 40 of which were arrested from their homes, 10 from the roads, 3 form military checkpoints, 4 were arrested after summons and 2 were arrested for not having a work permit. According to the records, 4 were arrested after being shot and 13 others were beaten and abused during their arrest and interrogation, knowing that these sentences ranged between 1-32 months.

Partner institutions consider that imposing high fines on children constitutes a collective punishment for child's parents in the prevailing state of poverty, where the fines reached to 87.000 NIS during the last month.

 

Fifth: legal solutions

    Partner institutions provide legal protections and guarantees by the International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law for detainees. The report links the patterns of Israeli violations with the legal rules that prohibit such violations, as follows:

1.     Arresting Palestinian citizens is a violation of the legal securities related to the prohibitions on arbitrary detention, which are guaranteed by international human rights law through article (9) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, and article (9) and (10\1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1976.

2.     The administrative detention policy conducted by the occupying power constitutes a direct violation of the fair trial guaranteed by the following legal rules:

2.1.                      It is considered a violation of article (1/1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, which states that "any person charged with a crime shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a public trial, in which he has been provided with all guarantees necessary to defend himself".

2.2.                      It constitutes a grave violation of article (9) and (14) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1967[2], which guarantees everyone the right to a fair trial, especially to inform him of the charge and to enable him to defend himself.

2.3.                      The failure to disclose the charge of the person detained under the administrative detention precludes the possibility of verifying the compliance of the Occupying Power with the security reasons that permit such detention, in accordance with article (78) of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which states that: "if the Occupying Power considers for imperative security reasons to take security measures against protected people, it may at most detain them or house arrest…".

2.4.                     The failure to inform the detained person of his charge, as under the policy of administrative detention, constitutes a violation of article (71) of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which obligates the occupying power to report the charge without delay. It also violates the principle (10) of the principles for the protection of all persons under any form of detention or imprisonment of 1988.

3.     The detention of children constitutes a violation of principle (13) of the United Nations Standard minimum rules for the Administration of Juvenile Affairs (Beijing Rules), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985, which stipulates that the pre-trail detention should only be used as a last resort and for the shortest possible period.it also stipulates the provision of protection and social, psychological, educational, professional and medical assistance, which is not provided by the Israeli Prison Service. The Israeli judiciary also imposes heavy fines on them, which is considered a collective punishment that is prohibited and violates the rules of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

 

Results

1.     The occupation authorities continue their gross and systematic violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law.

2.     Israeli violations caused suffering for Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons.

3.     The silence of the international community encouraged the occupation authorities to proceed with their violations against Palestinian detainees.

4.     The failure of the High Contracting Parties to fulfill the Geneva Conventions encouraged the occupying authorities to escalate their violations.

 

Recommendations

Recommendations at the international level:

1.     The formation of a fact-finding committee by the Human Rights Council regarding the Israeli violations against detainees.

2.     Activate the accountability by the international community towards the perpetrators of violations, to fulfill the legal and ethical obligations.

3.     The High Contracting Parties on Geneva Convention shall undertake their responsibilities and force the occupation authorities to respect the rules of international humanitarian law.

4.     The contracting committees shall activate their role in monitoring the occupying state and compel them to respect the standards of detainees' rights.

Recommendations at the local level:

1.     Activating local solidarity campaigns to support Palestinian detainees.

2.     Activating media campaigns to support Palestinian detainees.

 

 

 



[1] Figures in this report are based on the results of monitoring and documentations done by the partner institutions.

 

 

 

 

[2] The occupying state joined the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in October 1991 and is bound by it.

 

ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS

  • The Commission of Detainees Affairs organized a symposium on "The Israeli terrorism and racial laws against detainees". >

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  • Abu Baker calls on the European Union to act immediately and hold Israel accountable for its crimes against the Palestinian detainees >

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  • The director of Media Department presents a paper on minor detainees in Brussels Conference >

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ARTICLES

  • Children are targeted by the Israeli government >

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  • 2016 is the year of political and legal targeting for detainees >

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  • Extrajudicial Executions Replacing Detention >

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  • The policy of arbitrary detention in the Occupied Palestinian Territories >

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REPORTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS

  • The law of execution of Palestinian detainees >

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  • Palestinian detainees… and the Israeli systematic suppression >

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