BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Human rights organization Amnesty International has reiterated its condemnation of the Israeli practice of detaining Palestinians without charge or trial, based on undisclosed evidence, after the administrative detention sentences of three high-profile prisoners were recently renewed.
Amnesty International calls for release of Palestinians held by Israel without charge
Over the past two weeks, Israeli authorities extended the remand of university professor and intellectual Ahmad Qatamish, Palestinian circus performer Muhammad Abu Sakha, as well as Palestinian activist and journalist Hassan Safadi.
Amnesty International released a statement Friday denouncing the three-month administrative detention order issued against 67-year-old Qatamish, a “prisoner of conscience,” on June 13, after being held without charge or trial in Ofer prison since May 14.
The statement described Qatamish as an “outspoken critic of both Israeli and Palestinian authorities and the Oslo accords,” who has “called for a fundamental change in the political landscape and strategy of Palestinians, an end to the divisions between Hamas and the Palestinian authorities in the West Bank, and has highlighted the Palestinian population’s discontent with their leadership.”
“Most recently, he has spoken out strongly in support of the mass Palestinian prisoner hunger strike,” the group said, adding that “Amnesty International believes that he has been detained solely due to his non-violent political activities and writing and to deter activism by other Palestinians.”
Qatamish has spent more than eight years under separate stints of administrative detention, and was most recently released in December 2013.
His wife told told Amnesty International that as a result of his mistreatment and medical neglect in Israeli prisons, he sustained damages to his inner ear affecting his balance and has had recurring episodes of fainting and blackouts.
Amnesty International called on Israeli authorities “to ensure Ahmad Qatamish has prompt access to adequate healthcare and medical treatment, pending his release.”