Occupation Authorities Administer Torture through Military Courts: Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council Renews its Calls for Release of Hunger Striking Administrative Detainee Bilal Kayed
On 27 July 2016, the Israeli Military Court of Appeals released its decision to confirm the administrative detention of hunger-striking administrative detainee Bilal Kayed. The decision recognized that the issuance of an administrative detention order against the detainee Bilal Kayed on the day of his scheduled release constitutes severe mental harm against the detainee and disregard to his rights, and that it causes severe psychological suffering.
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, a member organization of the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) submitted an appeal to the Israeli Military Court of Appeals against the administrative detention order of Bilal Kayed on 13 June 2016. The administrative detention order was issued on the day of the scheduled release of date of Mr. Kayed, after he had served a 14 and a half year sentence. Addameer who legally represents Bilal Kayed considers that the administrative detention of Bilal Kayed constitutes psychological torture, as well as contravening international law with regards to the limitations of administrative detention in narrowly defined circumstances with a genuine threat to security.
The decision of the court states that the secret information confirms the security threat that the release of Mr. Kayed would pose, but states that this information refers to the activities of Mr. Kayed before his arrest (over 14 years ago) and his intentions upon release.
Yesterday, 27 July 2016, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association visited Mr. Kayed in Barzilai Medical Center, who has been on hunger strike since 15 June 2016. The attorney stated that Mr. Kayedwas handcuffed to the hospital bed, guarded by three soldiers, and severely restricted in movement within the room. Mr. Kayed has refused to undertake blood tests since the beginning of his hunger strike, and he has lost sight temporarily twice in the past week. His bodily functions are severely threatened, and he has a previous medical condition in the function of his kidney.
Occupation Authorities use administrative detention in a widespread and systematic manner, in contravention with international human rights and humanitarian law, under which this form of detention should take place only in emergency situations, and in which basic due rights are due. The case of Mr. Kayed’s administrative detention exemplifies the policy’s obstruction of an adequate means of legal defense under judicial process.
The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) considers the practice of the Military Appeals Court in administering the use of administrative detention a method of systematic psychological torture, in violation of international conventions, particularly article 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The Council further considers the policy of administrative detention to be arbitrary detention in systemic violation of international law. The practice has received widespread condemnation locally and internationally, as a gross violation of fundamental human rights. The Council therefore calls upon international organizations including the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the European Union, as well as High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Conventions, to carry out their obligations to carry out protection of human rights and adhere to international humanitarian law in times of conflict and occupation.
The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council calls for intervention by International institutions and lobbying to the Israeli government for the release of Bilal Kayed and an end to the policy of administrative detention. The Council also underlines the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee Against Torture’s (CAT) review of Israel released on 13 May, which stated that Israel should “urgently take the measures necessary to end the practice of administrative detention and ensure that all persons who are currently held in administrative detention are afforded all basic legal safeguards.”