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UN slams Israel’s unlawful administrative detention

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Israeli forces arrest a Palestinian young protester during clashes on January 1, 2015 at a checkpoint east of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus. © AFP

The United Nations human rights office has voiced concerns over Israel’s so-called administrative detention, calling on Tel Aviv to end the unlawful practice of detaining Palestinians without charge or trial.

Briefing reporters in Geneva, Switzerland, on Friday, Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), expressed worries about the continued and increasing use of administrative detention by Israeli authorities.

The UN official further said the detainees were often transferred to prisons located outside of the occupied Palestinian territories in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The convention prohibits the forcible transfer of detainees and prisoners outside of occupied territory.

“We call, once again, on Israel to end its practice of administrative detention and to either release without delay or to promptly charge all administrative detainees and prosecute them with all the judicial guarantees required by international human rights law and standards,” Shamdasani said.

She also referred to the case of Khalida Kan’an Muhammad Jarrar, a Palestinian lawmaker, who was abducted in a raid by Israeli forces on her house in the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on April 2.

Jarrar, one of the most outspoken critics of the Israeli occupation and atrocities against Palestinians, reportedly remains under administrative detention in an Israeli jail.

Israeli police arrest a Palestinian protester during a demonstration marking Land Day in al-Quds (Jerusalem) on March 30, 2015. © AFP


The administrative detention is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The detention order can be renewed for indefinite periods of time.

The UN criticism comes as Israel is holding a total of 424 Palestinians in administrative detention.

More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, dozens of whom are serving multiple life sentences.


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