[Pnews] PHROC Condemns the International Community’s Silence as the Hunger-Striking Administrative Detainee Maher Al-Akhras Faces Imminent Threat to Life

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Nov 3 10:22:47 EST 2020


http://www.addameer.org/news/phroc-condemns-international-community%E2%80%99s-silence-hunger-striking-administrative-detainee-mahe-0
PHROC
Condemns the International Community’s Silence as the Hunger-Striking
Administrative Detainee Maher Al-Akhras Faces Imminent Threat to Life
November 2, 2020
------------------------------

Entering his 99thday of an open hunger strike, Maher Al-Akhras, a
49-year-old Palestinian and a father of six, is facing a serious and
imminent threat to his life at Kaplan Medical Center. Due to a deficiency
of salts and fluids in his body, and his refusal to take nutritional
supplements, Maher has been experiencing frequent seizures, acute
headaches, significant weakness in his vision and hearing, in addition to
severe pain all over his body, especially his chest area. On the day of his
latest arrest, 27 July 2020, Maher announced that he will undergo an open
hunger strike, in a quest to seek justice; not only against his four-month
administrative detention order, but also against Israel’s longstanding and
unlawful policy of administrative detention, which currently affects around
350 Palestinians.

On 25 October 2020, the Israeli High Court rejected yet another petition
filed by Maher’s legal attorney to immediately release him. In its
decision, the Court emphasised that the administrative detention order
against Maher is frozen, and he will remain under the Israeli occupation’s
custody at Kaplan Medical Center. Critically, the Court’s decision to
“freeze” the administrative detention order does not, in any way, cancel
the order or eliminate the risk of having it renewed when the four-months
administrative order ends on 26 November 2020. Such a decision illustrates
the intention to maintain and prolong Maher’s administrative detention at
all costs. In light of the Court’s persistence not to revoke Maher’s
administrative detention order, and Maher’s commitment against Israel’s
policy of administrative detention, he is still on hunger strike until his
immediate release.

On 27 July 2020, Maher was arrested by the Israeli occupying forces and
taken to Huwwara checkpoint and detention centre, when he immediately
announced his open hunger strike. Maher was then transferred to Ofer
prison, where he stayed for around three weeks, before he was taken to
al-Ramla prison medical clinic. On 23 September 2020, as Maher began to
occasionally lose his consciousness and suffer from health implications, he
was transferred to Kaplan Medical Center, where he currently remains.

Critically, Maher has been previously targeted by the Israeli occupying
authorities, and subjected to Israeli arrests and administrative detention
policy. He was first arrested in 1989, when he was imprisoned for seven
months, and again in 2004 for two years. In 2009, he was detained, and
spent 16 months in jail, under administrative detention. His fourth arrest
was in 2018, where he was detained for 11 months under administrative
detention.

On 23 October 2020, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation
of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, Professor
Michael Lynk, issued
<https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=26415&LangID=E>a
statement urging Israel, the Occupying Power, to immediately release Maher,
stressing the urgency of doing so, especially considering Maher’s dire
health condition, and Israel’s failure to provide information that
justifies its allegations. Underlining the illegality of Israel’s conduct
and use of administrative detention, Professor Lynk further called upon
Israel to “abolish its practice of administrative detention.” Similarly,
the European Union expressed
<https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/87871/israel-statement-spokesperson-detention-and-hunger-strike-m-al-akhras_en>its
concerns on Israel’s extensive use of administrative detention, and called
on Israel to “fully respect international humanitarian law as well as its
human rights obligations towards all prisoners… and to do all it can to
preserve the health of Mr. Al-Akhras in the continued handling of this
case.”

Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR), to which Israel is a State Party, guarantees to everyone the right
not to be subjected to arbitrary detention, and if arrested, to be promptly
informed of the reasons for the arrest and of any criminal charges. While
Israel has derogated from its obligations under this article, the UN Human
Rights Committee (HRC) has made it clear in its periodic reviews of
Israel’s compliance with the ICCPR, that it is concerned that Israel’s
practice of administrative detention violates essential rights protected in
the Covenant. Further, the HRC has held that the requirement of effective
judicial review of detention cannot be derogated from.

In addition, the right to a fair trial is guaranteed under international
humanitarian law. The legal principle that no one may be convicted or
sentenced, except pursuant to a fair trial affording all essential judicial
guarantees, has been deemed customary by the International Committee of the
Red Cross. Moreover, both international humanitarian and human rights laws
firmly establish that detained persons are to be treated humanely and with
respect. Administrativedetention can only be used exceptionally in
emergencies. Under Article 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, protected
persons may only be detained for “imperative reasons of security,”yet
Israel’s routine use of administrative detention is in clear violation to
international law standards. Israel systematically and arbitrarily utilises
administrative detention, while proceeding on the basis of “secret
evidence,” which cannot be accessed by the detainee nor their lawyer;
undermining their right to a fair trial.It also should be noted that Maher
is currently being held in Israel, in what constitutes a violation of
Articles 49 and 76 of the fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibit the
transfer of prisoners outside the occupied territory.

The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) asserts that
Maher should not have to resort to using his empty stomach to demand his
rights, as these rights should have been protected by international law. As
the international community systematically fails to put an end to Israeli
impunity, Maher, and all Palestinians, will remain under the threat of
Israel’s unlawful practices and policies, including its administrative
detention policy.

*Accordingly, PHROC urgently calls upon the immediate intervention to end
the administrative detention of Maher Al-Akhras and ensure his rights to
health, life, and fair trial. To this end, we urge:*

1.     Israel, as the Occupying Power, to immediately release Maher
Al-Akhras, who is currently under imminent threat to his life, halt all
procedures and intentions to keep Maher in administrative detention, and to
put an end to the systematic and arbitrary use of administrative detention
against the protected Palestinian population;

2.     The international community and all High Contracting Parties to the
Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfil their obligations towards protecting
human rights and enforcing the implementation of international humanitarian
law, especially when grave breaches are being perpetrated in times of
conflict and occupation;

3.     The immediate intervention of the relevant United Nations Special
Procedure mandates including the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of
human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, Professor
Michael Lynk; Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Professor Nils Melzer, and the Working
Group on Arbitrary Detention; and

4.     The release of all Palestinian political prisoners under Israeli
administrative detention, who are detained indefinitely without charge or
trial in contravention of international law, and the release of all
Palestinian political prisoners who are nearing the end of their sentences
and/or should be released on probation, to reduce overcrowding in prisons.

*ENDS*

*Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council comprising:          *

[image: Adameer]
<http://www.alhaq.org/images/stories/Images/2012/Adameer.png>

*Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association*
Sahar Francis
General Director

[image: aaldameer]
<http://www.alhaq.org/images/stories/Images/2012/aaldameer.png>

*Aldameer Association for Human Rights*
Alaa Skafi
Acting General Director

[image: Al-Haq-Small]

*Al-Haq*
Shawan Jabarin
General Director

[image: Mezan] <http://www.alhaq.org/images/stories/Images/2012/Mezan.jpg>

*Al Mezan Center for Human Rights*
Issam Younis
General Director

[image: pchr-gaza-logo]

*The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights*
Raji Sourani
General Director

[image: DCI]


*Defence for Children International Palestine Section*
Khaled Quzmar
General Director

[image: RCHRS logo.png]

*Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies*
Khalid Nassif
General Director

[image: Hurryyat]
<http://www.alhaq.org/images/stories/Images/2012/Hurryyat.png>

*Hurryyat - Centre for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights*
Helmi Al-Araj
General Director

[image: JLAC] <http://www.alhaq.org/images/stories/Images/2012/JLAC.jpg>

*Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights*
Issam Aruri
General Director


*Independent Commission for Human Rights (Ombudsman Office)* - Observer

Ammar Dwaik

General Director

*Muatin Institute for Democracy and Human Rights *- Observer

Mudar Qasis

General Director
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