Three Palestinian minors held in Ofer prison without trial or charge

Published August 20th, 2016 - 07:17 GMT
Palestinian children look through a window at Israeli soldiers conducting searches in the Palestinian al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of the West Bank city of Hebron. (AFP/File)
Palestinian children look through a window at Israeli soldiers conducting searches in the Palestinian al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of the West Bank city of Hebron. (AFP/File)

Three Palestinian minors are currently being held without charge or trial in Israel's Ofer prison, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs said in a statement on Thursday.

The three, all under the age of 18, were identified as Ahmad Nimr, Luay Nairoukh, and Hamzeh al-Silwadi Luay Akkeh, a lawyer from the committee, highlighted in the statement that Israel is applying administrative detention -- a policy of detention without charge or trial -- in violation of all international laws, and using the policy to impose collective punishment on Palestinian communities.

Israeli human rights group B'Tselem released a report last month revealing that Israeli authorities have steadily increased their use of administrative detention on Palestinian minors since October.

The group stated in the report that the controversial policy which allows for the detention of Palestinians without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence had not been used by Israeli authorities on Palestinian minors since December 2011.

However, the group found that Israeli authorities had begun to use the policy again on Palestinian minors as of October, when a wave of violence first erupted across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel.

According to figures sent to the group by Israel Prison Service (IPS), the number of Palestinian minors held without charge or trial in Israeli prisons rose steadily from October, with four minors held in administrative detention in October 2015, while 13 minors were reportedly held at the end of April this year.

The report added that the increasing use of administrative detention on Palestinians, particularly relating to Palestinian minors, has constituted a much "harsher abuse" of the policy than what has been seen in recent years.

Israel's policy of administrative detention, which is almost exclusively used against Palestinians, has been widely condemned by the international community as rights groups have charged Israel with using the policy to arbitrarily detain Palestinians for undisclosed reasons as a way of disrupting political and social life for Palestinian communities.

According to B'Tselem, under international law administrative detention is permitted "only in the most exceptional cases, as a last resort for averting danger that cannot be prevented by less harmful means."

B'Tselem has underscored that Israel's use of administrative detention on the Palestinian population "blatantly violates the restrictions of international law."

Israel is also the only country in the world that prosecutes children in military courts, according to Defense for Children International - Palestine (DCIP), with 60 percent of Palestinian child detainees being transferred from Palestinian territory to Israeli prisons in direct of violation of international law.

According to prisoners' rights group Addameer, some 700 Palestinians under the age of 18 from the occupied West Bank are prosecuted every year in Israeli military courts, with more than 12,000 Palestinian children being detained by Israeli authorities since 2000.

The large majority of Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli forces for throwing stones at Israeli settlers and soldiers.
As of May, some 750 Palestinians were held in administrative detention, while 414 Palestinian minors remained in Israeli prisons, 104 of whom were under the age of 16.

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