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Israeli Military Judge Upholds Ziyad Hmeidan's Administrative Detention Order

Monday, 11 October 2010 15:50
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Al-Haq is incensed by the second extension of Ziyad Hmeidan‘s administrative detention order by the Israeli authorities. A fieldworker for Al-Haq since 2000, Ziyad has been held by the Israeli authorities without charge or trial since 23 May 2005. He was informed in mid-March that his administrative detention will be extended for a further four months; approximately one week later, this extension was upheld in a review by a military judge in a court in Ansar III (Ketziot) Prison on 20 March 2006. The judge approved the Military Commander‘s extension of Ziyad‘s detention from 21 March to 20 July 2006.

During the hearing, the State again utilised secret evidence, which was not made available to Ziyad or to his legal counsel, as the basis for their claim that he poses a threat to security. Moreover, no meaningful opportunity was given to Ziyad or his lawyer to dispute this claim.

Despite the repeated claims of the Israeli authorities that the practice of administrative detention in general, and the administrative detention of Ziyad Hmeidan in particular, is in full compliance with their international legal obligations, it is clear that this is a flagrant distortion of international law. As has been noted by the UN Human Rights Committee, Israel‘s use of administrative detention, in particular restrictions on access to counsel and the disclosure of full reasons for detention, severely limits the effectiveness of judicial review. As such, this practice is in contravention with Israel‘s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This position has also been emphasised by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which has repeatedly found Israel‘s use of administrative detention to be a violation of its obligations under international human rights law. Recently, the UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders has echoed these concerns, adding that the information she has gathered suggests that, "…administrative detention is being used as a means to deter defenders from carrying out their human rights activities."

Al-Haq will appeal this decision to the Military Court of Appeal in Ansar III.