Authorities defend 7-month administrative detention for now-freed, emaciated Palestinian

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Following footage of the release of Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi looking emaciated after more than seven months in administrative detention, the Israel Prisons Service defends the conditions under which it is holding security prisoners.

Tamimi was released without charge last night looking frail, exhausted and almost unrecognizable. He is the father of Ahed Tamimi, who was jailed in 2017-2018 for slapping an IDF soldier in the family’s West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.

“The prison service… operates in accordance with the law while maintaining the security of the state and the lives and safety of the incarceration officers,” IPS says, noting that it has been holding thousands of additional Palestinian suspects since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

Asked for comment on Bassem Tamimi’s October 29 arrest, the IDF says the 57-year-old was suspected of carrying out “security activity” along with another suspect.

“In light of the intelligence material collected in his case and after no criminal alternative was found to prosecute him, a decision was made to administratively detain him for six months,” the IDF says, noting that the decision was approved by an IDF military court, which rejected an appeal by Tamimi’s attorney.

On April 28, the IDF requested that Tamimi’s detention be extended by six more months, while still refusing to publicize the allegations or hold a trial against him.

More recently, the IDF conducted a review of Tamimi’s administration detention and decided to release him early, the army says, without explaining why.

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