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Let me end / detain you

On 26 May, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem announced it would end a decades-long policy of co-operating with the Israeli military justice system, saying it was a figleaf to legitimise the occupation.

In early July, the youngest Palestinian child held in administrative detention (without charge or trial), 16-year-old Hamza Hammed, originally detained by Israeli authorities on 28 February, had his detention extended for an additional four months.

On 13 June, Palestinian Bilal Kayed, after completing a 15-year sentence for ‘belonging to an illegal organisation’, was ordered to remain in prison indefinitely under administrative detention. Some 29 Palestinian prisoners went on a two-week hunger strike in solidarity.

Bilal, who was first imprisoned at 19, refused deportation in return for release. He continued his own hunger strike, started on 15 June.

Two Palestinian detainees from Beit Liqya near Ramallah carried out long hunger strikes, apparently winning release agreements.

On 25 May, Fuad ‘Aassi suspended his hunger strike after 53 days. The agreement was that his detention without charge would be extended only till September, when it would end.

Fellow detainee Adeeb Mafarja ended his fast on 31 May after 59 days, after the authorities pledged to release him on 21 December.

Both men had suffered dangerous weight loss, were in constant pain and were unable to move by the end.

On 26 May, an Israeli military court ordered the release of astrophysicist Imad Barghouthi after a month’s administrative detention – and a global solidarity campaign. The prosecutor reported that there was insufficient evidence to charge Barghouti and the court refused to renew his detention without charge.

However, prosecutors then charged Barghouti on 29 May – with incitement to violence and terror. He was still in prison at the time of going to press.

Prisoner rights group Addameer estimates that 750 Palestinians are currently detained indefinitely by Israel without charge or trial.

On 20 June, Israelis Tair Kaminer, 19, and Omri Barnes, 18, once again refused military service on the grounds of conscientious objection to the Israeli defence force’s role in the Occupied Territories (see PN2594–2595).

Tair received her sixth sentence for refusal: 45 days in military detention, which will make 170 days in total. Omri was sentenced to another 30 days (total 67 days).