Human rights organizations and supporters of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails warned over the weekend of what they claim is a new Israeli policy of using detention without trial to extend the prisoners’ incarceration. They say that prisoners are either being rearrested on administrative detention orders immediately following their release or are being kept in jail beyond the time that they would otherwise be due for release.
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The prisoners’ supporters said the policy became clearly apparent in recent weeks in the case of Bilal Kayed, who has been on hunger strike for nearly 70 days. On the final day of a 14-year sentence on a number of security offenses, he was informed that a new six-month administrative detention order had been issued against him. He has been on a hunger strike ever since.
The Israeli government said in response that Kayed remains a security threat to Israel and that his rearrest is based on confidential evidence. Kayed’s lawyers said the only compromise that has been offered to Kayed is a proposal whereby he could leave prison if he agreed to stay out of the West Bank for four year. Kayed, who
is from a village near Nablus in the West Bank, would not accept that offer, his lawyers said.
As a result of the hunger strike, he is currently hospitalized at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, where he is chained to his bed. Tomorrow the Supreme Court is due to hear a petition from the Israeli group Physicians for Human Rights against his physical constraint, and challenging his detention and the state’s refusal to allow a doctor from the organization visit Kayed.
In another case, which has not been publicized in the Israeli media, Iyad Alharimi of Bethlehem in the West Bank, who had served 14 years in prison, was rearrested based on an administrative detention order. He began a hunger strike on July 13 and is being held in the medical infirmary at the Ramle prison. Israeli authorities said he too remains a security threat, according to confidential evidence.
In a third case, Sufian Abdu of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukkaber was rearrested days after having completed a 14-year jail sentence for planning to poison Jerusalem café patrons. Police said he was arrested on suspicion of supporting a terrorist group.