Ramallah, April 17, 2023—Israeli authorities confirmed an administrative detention order against a 16-year-old Palestinian boy last week despite an Israeli military court ordering him to be released on bail.
Israeli authorities issued an administrative detention order against 16-year-old Jihad Tawfiq Jihad Yousef on April 9, which was confirmed by an Israeli military court judge last Thursday, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Jihad was detained by Israeli forces on February 12 and he was held in isolation for interrogation purposes through early April. Israeli military court judges extended Jihad’s detention several times before an indictment was filed against him on April 4 and he was subsequently ordered released on bail. Rather than being released, Jihad remains in Israeli custody and his administrative detention order is set to expire on June 1.
“Administrative detention must never be used to justify the detention of children and clearly amounts to arbitrary detention,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at Defense for Children International – Palestine. “Israeli authorities must immediately end the arbitrary detention of Palestinian children by prohibiting the use of administration detention.”
Jihad was detained by Israeli forces around 1 a.m. on February 12 from his home in the village of Kufr Thuluth, east of Qalqilya in the northern occupied West Bank. Jihad was held in isolation for interrogation purposes for 39 days at Al-Jalame interrogation and detention center. He was not allowed to consult a lawyer or have a lawyer or family member present during his interrogations.
Over the course of his solitary confinement, Israeli forces interrogated Jihad on a daily basis for several hours at a time. Each time, the Israeli interrogator tied his arms and legs to a short metal chair for prolonged periods of time. 80 percent of Palestinian children held in solitary confinement report being subject to stress positions during interrogation, and this position is described as acutely painful, according to documentation collected by DCIP.
Administrative detention is a form of imprisonment without charge or trial regularly used by Israeli authorities to detain Palestinians, including children. Palestinian children held under administrative detention orders are not presented with charges, and their detention is based on secret evidence that is neither disclosed to the child nor their attorney, preventing them from preparing a legal challenge to the detention and its alleged basis, according to documentation collected by DCIP.
Arbitrarily depriving Palestinian minors of their right to liberty through the use of administrative detention, which is the imprisonment of individuals for prolonged periods without charge or trial, often based on secret evidence amounting to an arbitrary detention.
Administrative detention orders are issued by the Israeli military commander of the area, or a military officer delegated by the military commander, and can last up to six months, but there is no limit to the number of times an administrative detention order can be renewed. The orders are approved by military court judges giving the illusion of independent legal oversight, yet Israeli military courts fail to meet international standards for independence and impartiality because military court judges are active duty or reserve officers in the Israeli military.
In 2015, following a three-year suspension of the practice, Israeli authorities began arresting and imprisoning Palestinian children without charge pursuant to administrative detention orders. Since October 2015, DCIP has documented more than 60 Palestinian children arbitrarily detained by Israeli authorities in administrative detention, including 11 who are currently detained in Israeli custody.
In situations of international armed conflict, administrative detention is permitted in strictly limited circumstances in only the most exceptional cases for “imperative reasons of security” when there is no other alternative. The practice should never be used as an alternative to filing charges or as a general deterrent for future activity.
International juvenile justice standards, which Israel has obliged itself to implement by ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, demand that children should only be deprived of their liberty as a measure of last resort and must not be unlawfully or arbitrarily detained.
Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes between 500 and 700 children in military courts each year that lack fundamental fair trial rights.
An estimated 500 Palestinian prisoners are currently detained pursuant to administrative detention orders, according to Addameer.