110 Palestinian citizens of Israel remain in detention after largest wave of arrests since October 2000
(Haifa, Israel) Since Thursday 3 July 2014, thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem have been demonstrating in dozens of towns and villages. The demonstrations were organized are in response to the murder of 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Khdeir from the Shu’afat neighborhood of East Jerusalem, who was abducted and burned alive by Israeli Jewish extremists. This killing followed the news of the murders of the three kidnapped Jewish Israeli teenagers studying in a yeshiva in the occupied West Bank.
As of 12 noon today, 8 July 2014, approximately 110 Palestinian citizens of Israel, including at least 37 children, from various towns and villages in the north, the Triangle, and in the southern Naqab (Negev) remain in detention. Scores of others were arrested and released since 3 July 2014, while new arrests are continuing to be made every few hours. Court hearings took place throughout the day today regarding police requests to extend the detention of individuals, and appeals against the extension of detention and conditions of release.
The high number of arrests and detentions marks the largest wave of imprisonment of Palestinian citizen demonstrators in Israel since the October 2000 events. In October 2000, 13 Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed by the Israeli police and security forces at demonstrations also held throughout the country in response to the killing and injury of protestors in Jerusalem demonstrating against Ariel Sharon’s controversial visit to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound. These events marked the beginning of the Second Intifada.
Adalah has taken the lead in coordinating with volunteer lawyers to provide legal representation before all levels of Israeli courts to defend Palestinian citizens detained during the demonstrations. Hearings are taking place in the Magistrates’ Courts of Nazareth, Haifa, Akka, Hadera, Petah Tikva, and Beer el-Sabe (Beer Sheva). Adalah is also providing legal advice and assistance to lawyers, families of detainees, activists, protestors injured by police violence, and victims of racist violence from civilians.
Police violating criminal procedure laws regarding the arrest and detention of children
On 6 July 2014, Adalah filed an appeal to the Nazareth District Court against the decision of the lower court to extend the detention of four minor youth aged 15 to 17 years-old. The minors were charged with “participating in riots”, “threatening public safety on a highway” and “assaulting police officers”.
Adalah argued that, regardless of the charges, the police violated numerous provisions of the criminal procedure law relating to the treatment of child detainees. For example, in these cases, the police arrested the youth late at night and conducted interrogations of them early in the morning, practices which are prohibited by law. The interrogations were conducted without the presence of the detained youths’ parents, and the police prevented lawyers from meeting with the detained youth for several hours, also in violation of the law.
In the coming days, Adalah will be filing more appeals in cases involving the collective arrest and detention of Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel in Beer el-Sabe; alleged incitement and Facebook posts; and restrictive conditions of release imposed by the courts on individuals who were arrested even before any demonstrations began.
In Adalah’s view, the ongoing demonstrations have deep causes and reflect a large number of grievances. In addition to the horrific murder of Mohammad Abu Khdeir and the subsequent beating by the police of his 15-year old cousin Tarik Abu Khdeir, Palestinian citizens of Israel are also protesting against the killings and brutal military operations carried out by the Israeli army in Hebron and throughout the occupied West Bank, and the bombings of the Gaza Strip, which began since the kidnapping of the three Israeli settler teenagers.
Palestinian citizens are also expressing their deep frustration at the racist statements made and policies pursued by numerous Israeli officials, including government ministers and Members of the Knesset. The idea that the Israeli authorities have not been able to stop “price tag attacks” against Palestinians in Israel, which have risen sharply in recent months, as well as the incessant incitement and racism expressed against Palestinians by Jewish Israelis through social media networks, have all brought about this outpouring of anger and discontent.
For more information:
Salah Mohsen, Adalah’s Media Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, Mobile: +972-528-595-0922