- 16 Jun 2016
- [International Secretariat]
- Region: ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES／PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY
The Israeli military today renewed for six months the detention of Palestinian circus performer Mohammad Faisal Abu Sakha, who has been held without charge since his arrest in December 2015, in a case that exemplifies the authorities’ arbitrary and repressive use of administrative detention, said Amnesty International.
Administrative detention allows the Israeli authorities to detain people indefinitely without charge or trial. Under international law, its use is only permitted in exceptional circumstances and when subjected to stringent safeguards.
Mohammad Abu Sakha performs as a clown and teaches at the Palestinian Circus School in Birzeit, near Ramallah, where he specializes in working with children with learning difficulties.
The 23-year-old was arrested on 14 December 2015 while he was on his way to work at the Palestinian Circus School.
The military prosecution has accused Mohammed Abu Sakha of carrying out unspecified “illegal activities” with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP, a left-wing political party with an armed wing, banned by Israel).
The Israeli military gave him a six-month administrative detention order on 25 December, which was reviewed and upheld by a military judge on 5 January.
They have kept much of the “evidence” they purport to hold against him secret, making it impossible for him to build an effective case to defend himself or challenge his detention.
Mohammad Abu Sakha’s detention renewal order will be reviewed on Wednesday 15 June by a military judge who can either confirm the renewal, cancel the order or reduce the period of detention. In the overwhelming majority of cases, these hearings serve as a routine confirmation of the order.
“The Israeli authorities must either charg
e Mohammad Abu Sakha with a genuine criminal offence or order his release. For decades, Israel has relied upon administrative detention, in many cases as an alternative to bringing
Palestinians to trial, and used it to suppress peaceful dissent. They must take urgent steps to end this cruel practice once and for all.”
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