Palestinian prisoners boycott Israeli courts in protest at detention without charge

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli jails continue their boycott of the regime’s military courts for 16th consecutive day, in protest against Israel’s so-called policy of administrative detention.

Imprisoned under the controversial policy of “administrative detention,” at least 500 Palestinian inmates have been registering their protest at their detention without charge at the hands of the Tel Aviv regime by refusing to show up for their military court hearings since the beginning of the year, Palestine’s Wafa news agency reported on Sunday.

The boycott includes hearings for renewal of administrative detention orders, as well as appeal hearings and sessions at Israel’s so-called supreme court.

The detainees said in a statement that their move is a continuation of longstanding Palestinian efforts “to put an end to the unjust administrative detention practiced against our people by the occupation forces.”

They also noted that Israel’s use of administrative detention has expanded in recent years and many women, children and elderly people have been incarcerated under the controversial policy.

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are held under “administrative detention”, in which Israel keeps the detainees without charge for up to six months, a period which can be extended an infinite number of times. Women and minors are among those detainees.

The detention takes place on orders from a military commander and on the basis of what the Israeli regime describes as ‘secret’ evidence.

Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.

Palestinians and human rights groups say “administrative detention” violates the right to due process since evidence is withheld from prisoners while they are held for lengthy periods without being charged, tried, or convicted.

Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes in an attempt to express their outrage at the detention

Palestinian inmates have also been subjected to systematic torture, harassment and repression all through the years of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

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

Over 540 detainees, including women and minors, are under Israel’s administrative detention.

Rights groups describe Israel’s use of administrative detention as a “bankrupt tactic” and have long called on Israel to bring its use to an end. 

According to figures by the Defense for Children International, between 500 and 700 Palestinian children at the age of 12-17 are also arrested and tried in Israeli military courts every year. Israeli forces had arrested more than 17,000 minors since 2000.

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