oPt + 1 more

OPT: Obaidah receives his fourth administrative detention order

A 17 year old boy is detained in May 2007 and is given an administrative detention order in July 2007 for "security reasons". The administrative detention order was renewed in December 2007, March 2008 and most recently, in July 2008. Administrative detention is detention without charge or trial.

On 23 May 2007, Obaidah, then 17, was arrested from the family home at 4.00 in the morning by units of the Israeli army. Obaidah was handcuffed and blindfolded before being put in an army jeep for transfer. During transfer to Huwarra Interrogation and Detention Centre, Obaidah was beaten and kicked by the soldiers. After spending 13 days without interrogation, Obaidah was transferred to a detention facility situated inside Israel. There he spent a further nine days in solitary confinement and was held for two months without any contact with his family or a lawyer.

On 26 July 2007, Obaidah was brought before the Israeli Military Court at Salem. He was charged with assisting a person suspected of being a member of Islamic Jihad. It was alleged that this person asked Obaidah to contact a member of Islamic Jihad in Syria and request this person to transfer money. Whether or not Obaidah made the telephone call was not relevant to the offence. The offence was that a conversation regarding assistance had taken place. The evidence contained in the file compiled by the chief interrogator was based on an apparent confession made by Obaidah under interrogation, the confession of another child, and the statements of the interrogator and an Israeli police officer in charge of the investigation.

On 29 July 2007 Obaidah appeared in court for a second time and was granted bail on the grounds of insufficient evidence. Before Obaidah could be released, the prosecutor appealed the decision and on 30 July, the Appeal Court also ordered Obaidah's release on bail due to insufficient evidence. However, before Obaidah could be released, he was issued with an administrative detention order by the Israeli military commander, which authorises detention without charge or trial for up to six months at a time for undisclosed "security reasons".

On 30 October 2007 Obaidah's case was brought back to the Military Court at the application of his parents who wanted to negotiate a fixed term for Obaidah rather than leaving their son to face the uncertainty of administrative detention. A deal was struck with the prosecutor who agreed that the administrative detention order would be cancelled if Obaidah confessed to a list of charges, accepted a seven month prison sentence and a fine of NIS 2,500. Obaidah accepted the terms of the prosecution, which included time already served and was due to be released from prison on 1 December 2007.

On 1 December 2007 Obaidah's release date came and went without his release. On 2 December 2007 following enquiries by his lawyer it was discovered that Obaidah had been issued with a second administrative detention order for six months in breach of his plea bargain agreement with the prosecutor. On questioning from Obaidah's lawyer the prosecutor stated that the second administrative detention order was issued for "activities within the prison". However, on inspecting the second administrative detention order, Obaidah's lawyers discovered that the order made no reference to "activities within the prison" and simply repeated the allegations contained in the first detention order.

On 4 March 2008, Obaidah's 18th birthday came and went in an Israeli prison under administrative detention.

On 31 March 2008, Obaidah received his third administrative detention order for a further period of four months. Once again the detention order made no reference to "activities within the prison" and repeated the claims of the initial detention order.

Most recently, on 31 July 2008, Obaidah received his fourth administrative detention order for being "a threat to the security of the area". Obaidah has now spent more than 14 months in Israeli prisons, most of that time being held without charge or trial. His latest administrative detention order is set to expire on 30 November 2008, but his exact release date remains uncertain.

Urgent appeal

There are currently 691 Palestinians being detained in administrative detention, of which 13 are children. DCI/PS strongly condemns the frequent and excessive use of administrative detention orders by the Israeli authorities that unnecessarily deprive Palestinian children of their liberty. DCI/PS continues to be alarmed at reports it receives of Palestinian child detainees being abused by Israeli authorities during arrest and interrogation and calls on Israel to cease the practice of detaining Palestinians inside Israel in contravention of article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949).

Please send appeals in English, Arabic, Hebrew or your own language to Israel:

- Urging Israeli authorities to Immediately cease the practice of holding children under the age of 18 in administrative detention; and

- Urging Israeli authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Obaidah or charge him with a recognisable criminal offence and promptly try him in a proper court of law with internationally accepted standards for fair trial.

Appeals to:

President of the State of Israel
Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel
Office of the President
3 Hanassi St., 92188
Jerusalem, Israel.
Tel: +972 2 6707211
Fax: +972 2 5610033
Email: president@president.gov.il
Salutation: Dear President

Prime Minister of the State of Israel
Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister
Telephone: +972 2 6753277
Telephone2: +972 2 6753547
Email: eulmert@knesset.gov.il
Saluation: Dear Prime Minister

Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ms. Tzipi Livni, MK
9 Yitzhak Rabin Blvd., Kiryat Ben-Gurion, Jerusalem 91035
Fax: + 972 2 5303367
Email: sar@mfa.gov.il
Salutation: Dear Foreign Affairs Minister