Israel is considering whether to extend the detention of a 17-year-old Palestinian with a rare neuromuscular disorder who has been held without charge for nearly a year in what authorities refer to as administrative detention, his father says.
Israel says administrative detention, which is rarely used for minors, is needed to prevent imminent attacks or to detain dangerous terror suspects without disclosing sensitive intelligence. Rights groups say it further denies due process to Palestinians already living under military rule.
Amal Nakhleh, who was detained in January 2021, is one of just a handful of minors being held in administrative detention. He had a tumor removed from his lung in 2020 and suffers from myasthenia gravis, a nerve disorder that causes severe muscle fatigue.
His father, Muamar, says Israel has renewed Amal’s detention three times over the past year without saying why he is being held or accusing him of any crime. “There’s no legal justification to hold him, there’s been no charge,” he said. “They just say they have secret files.”
He says his son requires regular hospital visits for testing and needs a calm environment. At a court appearance, he has been told that authorities need a few more days to decide whether to renew his son’s detention.
“I saw him today,” he says. “He couldn’t move his lips, he couldn’t move his eyes, he couldn’t smile. These are symptoms of the disease… We are very worried about his health situation.”
The Israeli military and the Shin Bet internal security service do not immediately respond to requests for comment.