The Director of the Palestine Prisoners' Centre for Studies has hailed an Amnesty International report which condemns Israel's use of administrative detention, Quds Press reported on Friday. Riyadh Al-Ashqar described this as a "positive step" but said that it is not enough. He called for Amnesty to put more pressure on the Israeli occupation authorities to stop this kind of "arbitrary" and "oppressive" imprisonment.
In the report issued on Tuesday, Amnesty condemned Israel's use of administrative detention against Palestinian rights activists. It cited the detention of Salah Hammouri, a field researcher for the Palestinian human rights NGO Addameer.
"The arbitrary detention of Salah Hammouri is yet another shameful example of the Israeli authorities' abusive use of administrative detention to detain suspects indefinitely without charge or trial," Amnesty International's Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Magdalena Mughrabi, said.
Rather than locking him up without presenting a shred of evidence against him, the Israeli authorities must either charge him with a genuine criminal offence or order his immediate release.
Mughrabi pointed out that the Israelis have relied upon administrative detention for 50 years to suppress peaceful dissent and as a substitute for proper criminal prosecution. "Now they appear to be using it to target human rights activists. They must take urgent steps to end this cruel practice once and for all."
According to Al-Ashqar, "The large number of administrative detentions issued by the Israeli occupation authorities this year alone reiterates that this is used as a collective punishment against the Palestinians."
Around 550 Palestinians are being held under administrative detention orders, out of a total of 6,500 prisoners in 22 prisons. Almost 60 Palestinian women and girls are held by Israel, along with 350 boys and 12 MPs.