Israel keeps Bilal Kayed in ‘administrative detention’
6/10/16 Noreen Sadik
(this article is sincerely published at this time 5/4/2017. I lost it and I now apologise for my failure to not print it earlier – LRR)
Members of New York City Students for Justice in Palestine and other supporters of Palestinian political prisoner Bilal Kayed, an ‘administrative detainee’, protested on his 42nd day of hunger strike (25 /6/16). Joe Catron under a Creative Commons Licence. The prisoner wass the latest victim of Israel’s form of detention, which doesn’t entail charge nor trial.
After spending nearly 14 and a half years in an Israeli prison for his affiliation with the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Bilal Kayed was due to be released on 13 June – but he wasn’t.
Instead, on that day, Bilal was told that he would be held in administrative detention, which amounts to imprisonment without charge or trial.
Kayed’s detention was to last six months, with the possibility of renewal for an indefinite period of time.
Two days later, on 15 June, he began a hunger strike in protest of his continued imprisonment.
The military court ruled that, based on secret evidence gathered about his activities before his initial arrest and his intentions upon release he continued to pose a threat to Israel’s security.
Seventy-one days later, following a severe deterioration in Kayed’s health, his lawyer reached an agreement with the Israeli military prosecution, and Kayed ended his hunger strike. He told his supporters:
My thanks and appreciation for all of your sacrifices for the sake of Palestine and the Palestinian cause which is too often lost in the halls of politics and the shelves of postponement, and in particular the cause of the prisoners, which is abandoned and lost here and there. Today, this issue was brought to the table with your efforts and your support and your mobilization in the homeland and in the diaspora. The prisoners are yesterday’s strugglers and tomorrow’s leaders. We must support them and I remind you that there are still those prisoners who are fighting a vicious battle against this occupier that does not understand anything but the language of challenge.
Kayed’s case had been in the spotlight for months but as of July 2016 there were 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners, and 750 administrative detainees in Israeli prisons.
According to Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, since the Israeli occupation of Palestine in 1967, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been arrested. That is almost 20 per cent of the population of the occupied territories.
The use of administrative detention has increased since the second Intifada (uprising) which began in September 2000 and ended in February 2005. On the eve of the second Intifada, 12 Palestinians were held in administrative detention but during the years of the intifada that number has increased to more than 8,000.
Addameer states, the case of Bilal Kayed – detained on the day that he completed his sentence – sets a dangerous policy with legal precedent, and is an example of how administrative detention is arbitrary detention which may amount to psychological torture and degrading treatment.
An occupying power must adhere to international laws regarding administrative detention.
The Fourth Geneva Convention states that administrative detention is permitted only ‘if the security of the Detaining Power makes it absolutely necessary’, or for ‘imperative reasons of security’, but not as a means of punishment. Similarly, the Convention states that:
a person should not be transferred to another territory;
detainees must be held in adequate accommodation in regards to health and hygiene, and must not be held with prisoners who have committed crimes;
the detainee has the right to receive visitors, especially near relatives, on a regular basis and as often as possible, and in cases of urgency, such as death or serious illness of relatives, detainees should be permitted to visit their homes.
Israel does not abide by this law.
Israeli law permits the military commander to issue administration detention orders based on the presumption that the security of the area or public security is threatened. However, no definition of ‘security of the area’ or ‘public security’ is given.
In most cases, states a report by Addameer, the military judge makes a decision based on ‘a summary of the evidence, without reading the entire contents of the secret material, without discussing it with the intelligence delegate, and without examining the information’s authenticity.’
Additionally, decisions are based on secret evidence which the detainee and his lawyer cannot have access to.
Kayed was not given the opportunity to challenge his detention which is a violation of his rights.
‘The stark reality is that not a single Palestinian charged with so-called security-related and other criminal offenses who passes through the Israeli military court system receives a fair trial,’ states Addameer.
Kayed, like all Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, was transferred from the West Bank and interned in detention centres, interrogation centres or other prisons inside Israel.
He was moved from prison to prison, where he was subjected to raids on his cell, body searches, and placed in isolation. While in the hospital, despite his obvious physical limitations, he was shackled to his bed.
An offer of release was made to Kayed should he agree to be deported to Jordan for four years. He refused. Threats to hold him under administrative detention for another four years did not sway him.
Palestinians are not allowed to enter Israel without permits, therefore, many prisoners are denied family visits, or go years without seeing family members.
Kayed was banned from family visits, and while in isolation, his father passed away.
Robert Piper, UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance and Development Aid in the Occupied Palestinian Territory said, ‘The number of administrative detainees is at an eight-year high. I reiterate the United Nations long-standing position that all administrative detainees – Palestinian or Israeli – should be charged or released without delay.’
Urging the international community to continue their work to ensure that human rights violations are no longer committed, Addameer says, ‘This is an open battle until the policy of administrative detention ends.’
After 15 years in prison and an arduous hunger strike, Bilal Kayed is free
5/4/17 Published on October 6, 2016 by Noreen Sadik Written by Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network This article was originally published 13/12/16.
Kayed’s 71-day hunger strike for freedom united Palestinians in Israeli prisons and around the world.
Palestinian former hunger striker and leader of the prisoners’ movement Bilal Kayed was released on Monday after 15 years in Israeli prison to the cheers and salutes of his family, friends and comrades in his home village of Asira al-Shamaliyeh and throughout the world.
Kayed, 35 years old, conducted a 71-day hunger strike from June to August after he was ordered to administrative detention on the same day he completed a 14.5-year sentence in Israeli prison and expected to go home. Instead of meeting his friends and family, who were waiting to receive him at an Israeli military checkpoint, Kayed was imprisoned again, this time indefinitely without charge or trial. He launched a hunger strike to demand his release and found support in hundreds of fellow Palestinian prisoners across factional lines.
Kayed became an international figure during his hunger strike as dozens of cities around the world held events and rallies for his release and thousands of supporters signed petitions and wrote letters demanding his freedom. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network coordinated numerous events to demand Kayed’s release, including a delegation of European lawyers and parliamentarians who traveled to Palestine to support his strike.
Kayed concluded his strike in August after securing a release date of December 12. Since then, the streets of Asira al-Shamaliyeh have been covered in graffiti and stenciled with images of Kayed in celebration of his victory.
On his release day, fear escalated as Israeli occupation officials refused to inform his family or his lawyers of the time and location of his release. Thankfully, he was released at approximately 3:00 Palestine time on December 12 and then celebrated his release in Asira al-Shamaliyeh.
A large demonstration also marked the occasion in Gaza City on Monday, outside the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Participants celebrated Kayed’s release along with the 49th anniversary of the founding of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Those there called for for the freedom of all Palestinian political prisoners.
Kayed was initially seized by Israeli occupation forces in December 2001 and imprisoned for participating in the Palestinian resistance during the second Intifada as a member of the PFLP. While in prison, he was a leader of the prisoners’ struggle. He eventually was elected to coordinate with representatives of other Palestinian political movements, like in the 2012 Karameh hunger strike.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes Bilal Kayed on the occasion of his release. A symbol of the struggle for freedom and the prisoners’ movement, his release after his lengthy hunger strike marks a victory for his steadfastness and that of his fellow prisoners. On this occasion, we also salute all of the thousands in Palestine and around the world who joined in the struggle for Kayed’s release with legal efforts, international advocacy, grassroots organizing and mass actions.
The freedom of Bilal Kayed is part of the struggle for the freedom of all 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners and the freedom of Palestine and its people.
http://www.alternativenews.org/index.php/headlines/290-after-15-years-in-prison-and-an-arduous-hunger-strike-bilal-kayed-is-free This article was originally published by Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.
Israel; Human Rights