Palestinian child Hamza Hammad released after 10 months in administrative detention

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26 December 2016

On 25 December 2016, Israeli forces released 16-year-old administrative detainee Hamza Hammad, who was held under administrative detention without charge or trial since 28 February 2016. Hamza was arrested on Sunday 28/2/2016 during a violent night raid on his home, where Israeli occupation forces pointed their weapons at the family members, including children. The military prosecution claimed that the child, Hamza Hammad, is active in an illegal organization and that he participates in activities, including military ones, affiliated with the same organization.

Hamza was arrested six months prior to this arrest, and was released on bail after 20 days of interrogation, without any charges against him. A six-month administrative detention order was issued against him from 28/02/2016 and ending on 27/08/2016. On the order confirmation hearing, which was held on 09/03/2016, the judge reduced the order period from six months to four months.  However, the judge claimed that there is dangerous information that requires Hamza’s detention and that he imposes a threat to the security of the state. Subsequent to this order, the administrative detention was further renewed an additional six months. Hamza’s case exemplifies occupation authorities’ use the policy of administrative detention against children to keep them in prison even when the prosecution fails to provide clear charges against them.

Since October 2015, at least 20 Palestinian children have been placed under administrative detention. Occupation forces continue to target Palestinian children and practice arbitrary and suppressive measures against them. The occupation continues to target Palestinian children, inhibiting their development and intellectual growth within society. The policy of detention in prisons that lack minimum standards of humanitarian living, as well as sentences of months or even years in prisons without taking into consideration that fact that they are children, contravenes international law, particularly that as stipulated by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, children should be detained only as a last resort. Additionally, in cases such as Hamza’s, the use of administrative detention is based on secret information to which the child and his or her attorney do not have access.