There are approximately 480 Palestinians held without charge or trial in administrative detention in Israeli prisons. Israeli military commanders issue orders for up to one to six months of detention, which are indefinitely renewable. Introduced in Palestine by the British colonial authority, administrative detention is used in a routine and frequent manner. According to the Palestinian Prisoners' Center for Studies, 85% of administrative detention orders are renewed at least once. Nearly 750 administrative detention orders have been issued so far in 2015, either new orders or renewals. 75 of the Palestinians held in administrative detention have had orders issued against them four consecutive times; and 137 have had their detention extended three consecutive times. Over multiple arrests, some Palestinians have spent over 10 years in administrative detention.
Nidal Abu Aker (who has spent nearly 15 years in administrative detention over multiple arrests), Ghassan Zawahreh, Shadi Ma'ali, Badr Al-Ruzza and Munir Abu Sharar launched their hunger strike demanding an end to administrative detention - "The Battle of Breaking the Chains" - on 20 August. All are demanding freedom not only for themselves, but for all administrative detainees.
The Fourth Geneva Convention stipulates that detention without due process is permissible only in “exceptional circumstances.” In addition, according to Article 9 of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), no individual should be subjected to arbitrary detention. All persons must be informed at the time of arrest of the reasons for their detention and given access to a court empowered to rule without delay on the lawfulness of the action.
The use of administrative detention to imprison hundreds of Palestinians without charge or trial is an illegitimate and unlawful attack on Palestinians' basic civil and political rights. We fully support the prisoners' demands and call for the immediate abolition of the policy of administrative detention and the release of the hunger strikers and all Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli jails.