Palestinian human rights defender detained for further 6 months without trial

Palestinian Human Rights lawyer, Daoud Dirawi, has been detained for a further six months without trial, at the whim of Israeli military commanders who have renewed his administrative detention order despite the absence of published evidence against him or a civil trial. He is one of hundreds of Palestinian detainees who are being collectively and arbitrarily punished by Israel following the breakdown of the Road Map to Peace process.

Daoud works as the child rights lawyer for Defence for Children International - Palestine Section and is the local coordinator for the Juvenile Justice Program, funded by UNICEF. He was arrested on February 21st 2003 in Jerusalem, while seeking medical treatment for his daughter, Mira. At that point he was severely beaten and tortured by soldiers and then detained for 6-months in an Israeli military prison, without specific charges or a trial.

Daoud was due for release on September 2nd, but was told one week before his release date that he will be detained for a further six months. He is one of nearly one thousand Palestinian political prisoners held illegally and arbitrarily under the Israeli administrative detention system ; including 30 children.

Daoud’s case reflects just one aspect of the recent Israeli crackdown on innocent civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the breakdown of the Road Map ceasefire. Israel’s actions are clearly designed to exact retribution on the population as a whole. In this, as in many aspects of its treatment of Palestinian prisoners and juveniles, the Israeli government is in violation of international law, including the UN Convention against Torture, and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and the Geneva Convention which forbids collective punishments.

Defence for Children International / Palestine Section considers that the practice of administrative detention in the Occupied Territories violates fundamental human rights. The organization considers that all Political prisoners, including those held in administrative detention, must be charged with a recognizable criminal offence and given a fair trial within a reasonable time, or else released.

Administrative detention is allowed under Israeli law and according to the Israeli Government: “Administrative detention is resorted to only in cases where there is corroborating evidence that an individual is engaged in illegal acts which involved danger to state security and to the lives of civilians, regardless of whether the person involved is an Arab or a Jew”.

In practice, however, the wide formulation of the grounds for detention means that administrative detention has at times been used by the Israeli authorities to detain prisoners of conscience, held for their non-violent exercise of the right to freedom of expression and association. Some administrative detainees have been held for years at a time. The administrative detainee is allowed an appeal before a military court, but the secrecy of the materials on which the detention is based makes the trial false and null. The real decision-maker in the appeal is the Israeli intelligence services rather than the Israeli military judicial system.

More information:

DCI/PS: Tel. +972 (0)2 240 7530 and ask for: George Abu al-Zuluf: Director or Annelien Groten: International Advocacy Officer or mail