Administrative detention is a procedure that the Israeli military uses to detain Palestinians based on secret information, without charges, for periods of up to six-months, that are indefinitely renewable by Israeli military courts.
Addameer, the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, reports that there were 670 Palestinians being held under administrative detention as of February 2016.
According to B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization that monitors the Occupied Territories, “Israel’s use of administrative detention blatantly violates the restrictions of international law. Israel carries it out in a highly classified manner that denies detainees the possibility of mounting a proper defense. Israel has placed thousands of Palestinians in administrative detention for prolonged periods of time, without trying them, without informing them of the charges against them, and without allowing them or their counsel to examine the evidence. In this way, the military judicial system ignores the right to freedom and due process, the right of defendants to state their case, and the presumption of innocence, all of which are protections clearly enshrined in both Israeli and international law.”
Human rights organizations throughout the world have demanded that Israel end administrative detention of Palestinian prisoners. In a report entitled, Starved for Justice, Palestinians Detained Without Trial by Israel, Amnesty International is highly critical of Israel for “placing Palestinian hunger strikers in solitary confinement and jailing non-violent Palestinian activists”.
Despite the international consensus that administrative detention violates human rights and international law, G4S chooses to profit from its contracts that help maintain this unjust system.
The Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association has been one of the leading organizations challenging administrative detention. From 1994 to 2006, it was led by Khalida Jarrar, a highly respected attorney, human rights activist, and feminist. In 2006, when Jarrar was elected to serve as a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, she became the vice chairperson of Addameer.
In early 2013, Addameer released the following video to launch an international campaign against administrative detention. Khalida Jarrar is the second person appearing in the video.
On February 4, 2015 at 1 a.m., a year after the video was produced, more than 50 Israeli soldiers broke into Jarrar’s home, confiscated papers, computers and her cell phone and arrested her. She was subjected to hours of interrogation and a military court sentenced her to 6-month administrative detention. After being held for 2-months, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, ran an editorial calling for Jarrar’s release and describing her imprisonment as “a kafkaesque perversion of military law.”
Following a wave of international protests, the Israeli government was pressured into charging Jarrar and placing her on trial. Haaretz described the charges as “nearly all hollow and ridiculous.” They focus on her political activities, her support for political prisoners and her affiliation with a political party.
Twice, military judges have ordered Jarrar’s release. Prosecuters appealed these decisions and based on secret information, a military judge ruled to keep her detained until the end of her trial.
Khalida Jarrar remains incarcerated in Israel’s HaSharon Prison. Her trial has had a series of delays and there is no indication that she will be released anytime soon.