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International and human rights law must be respected! Ensure protection against arbitrary detention and for the right to a fair trial!

Following a joint press statement by the EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah on administrative detention in Israel, Annette Groth, spokeswoman on human rights for the Left Party parliamentary group in the Bundestag, has made the following statement:

Yesterday the EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah issued a joint statement expressing ongoing concern regarding the extensive use of administrative detention by Israel.

This form of detention is without charge and thus without the hope of proper court proceedings. Detainees often do not know why they are being held, other than being told that there is allegedly “secret evidence” against them. This evidence is not provided to either the detainees or their lawyers. Administrative detention orders are valid for a limited time, but can be extended an unlimited number of times. They are issued by executive order, not judicial.

Annette Groth said: “In December 2015, 660 people were being detained without charge. These include two members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and at least four minors. There are no separate provisions for children under military law, allowing administrative detention to be applied to children and adults equally. Children are also generally denied visits by family members and, contrary to international law, parents are not permitted to be present while their child is being interrogated.

Awareness has been raised in recent weeks of the cases of circus artist Mohammad Faisal Abu Sakha and journalist Mohammad Al-Qiq, who has been on hunger strike since 25 November 2015 in protest, and whose health has deteriorated dramatically since then. According to the human rights organisation Addameer, the 25-day interrogation of the journalist also involved torture.

Under international law the use of administrative detention is only permitted in exceptional circumstances and is subject to strict conditions. Yet Israel routinely and systematically uses this form of detention in violation of these requirements. Administrative detention orders are not checked by an independent court, but normally only by a military commander. Administrative detention orders can be renewed after six months, meaning that some Palestinians are held in administrative detention for years without the hope of a proper trial or of being released. On top of this, detention conditions are poor: medical care is lacking and torture continues in Israeli prisons. Solitary confinement, along with physical and psychological abuse, is used to obtain confessions and information.”

Annette Groth continued: “The systematic and excessive use of administrative detention, which reached a new peak in October 2015, is a severe breach of international law! I call for an immediate end to administrative detention!
If administrative detention is nevertheless used, international law must be complied with under all circumstances. I call on the Federal Government to appeal urgently to the Israeli government to uphold human rights and international law and ensure the right to a fair and independent trial, and protection against arbitrary arrest! Administrative detention represents a considerable obstacle to a just peace for the people of Israel and Palestine and robs Palestinians of their human rights.”