Palestinians held without trial to ‘boycott’ Israeli courts
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Palestinians held without trial to ‘boycott’ Israeli courts

Head of committee for prisoners’ affairs says inmates will no longer cooperate, in protest of administrative detention

Illustrative: Arab MK Ahmad Tibi (C) holds a poster against administrative detention during a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed (portrait), who has been fasting for 53 days over his detention without trial, as they demonstrate outside the Ashkelon hospital where he is being held on August 9, 2016. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)
Illustrative: Arab MK Ahmad Tibi (C) holds a poster against administrative detention during a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed (portrait), who has been fasting for 53 days over his detention without trial, as they demonstrate outside the Ashkelon hospital where he is being held on August 9, 2016. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

Palestinians held without trial are to begin a boycott of the country’s military courts, the head of prisoners’ affairs for the Palestinian Authority said Tuesday.

“Prisoners held on administrative detention in Zionist jails decided to boycott Israeli courts in a final and unprecedented manner… to protest this unjust policy,” Issa Qaraqe told a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Israel currently holds around 500 Palestinians under its administrative detention policy, which allows imprisonment without trial for six-month periods, renewable indefinitely.

Palestinian Authority official Issa Qaraqe gives a press conference in Ramallah on the large number of Palestinians staging hunger strikes in Israeli jails, on April 19, 2017. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

When their terms are being renewed, detainees appear before Israeli military courts — often without full knowledge of the allegations against them.

Qaraqe said prisoners would instruct their lawyers not to engage with the courts in any way from February 15 onward.

Israel says the use of administrative detention is intended to allow authorities to hold suspects while continuing to gather evidence, in order to prevent attacks in the meantime.

But it has been criticized by Palestinians, human rights groups, and members of the international community who claim Israel abuses the policy.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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