West News Wire: According to an Israeli rights group, Israel is keeping 600 Palestinian inmates without accusation or trial, the largest number since 2016.

Israel claims it used so-called administrative detention to forestall attacks and detain dangerous radicals without disclosing sensitive information. Palestinians and human rights organisations claim that the system is widely abused and that it denies due process, with some detainees being kept for months or years without viewing the evidence against them.

According to HaMoked, an Israeli rights organisation that collects data from prison authorities on a regular basis, there were 604 detainees in administrative detention as of May. Administrative imprisonment is rarely used against Jews, thus nearly everyone is a Palestinian.

HaMoked says 2,441 Palestinians are serving sentences after being convicted in military courts. Another 1,478 detainees are being held for questioning, have been charged and are awaiting trial, or are currently being tried.

At least 29 Palestinians have been killed, according to an Associated Press tally. Most were killed after carrying out attacks or during clashes with Israeli forces, but an unarmed woman and two people who appear to have been bystanders were also killed.

The last time Israel held this many administrative detainees, in October 2016.

Israel says all administrative detention orders are subject to judicial review. Detainees can appeal to a military court of appeals or Israeli’s Supreme Court, but rights groups say the courts overwhelmingly defer to the security establishment.

Jessica Montell, the director of HaMoked, said violence does not justify detaining hundreds of people for months or years without charge.

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“It’s like an assembly line of administrative detention, far in excess of what can be justified under international law,” she said, which only allows preventive detention under rare circumstances for a limited period of time.

A teenager with a rare neuromuscular disorder has been held in administrative detention for over a year.

“We have no idea what they’re suspected of, and many of them also have no idea what actually are the allegations against them, because it’s entirely based on secret evidence,” Montell said.

Several Palestinians in administrative detention have gone on prolonged hunger strikes in protest, with many developing lifelong health issues. Administrative detainees and their lawyers have boycotted Israeli military court proceedings since the start of this year in protest. The courts are holding hearings without them, according to B’Tselem, another prominent Israeli rights group.

The West Bank has been under Israeli military rule since Israel captured the territory in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians want it to form the main part of their future state.

The territory’s nearly 3 million Palestinian residents are subject to Israel’s military justice system, while the nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers living alongside them have Israeli citizenship and are subject to civilian courts.


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