Right2Education Campaign Administrative Detention Seminar Features Legal Brief and Prisoner Experiences

The Birzeit University Right2Education Campaign at the Public Relations Office organized on May 21, 2014 a seminar on administrative detention. Institute of Law researcher Reem Al-Batmah, liberated prisoner and political analyst Ahmed Qatamish, and student Islam Badr (also an ex-detainee) spoke at the event. Qatamish spent more than eight years in administrative detention.

Offering the opening remarks, Al-Batmah defined administrative detention as a procedure adopted by Israeli occupation forces to arrest Palestinians without charging them and putting them to trial, thereby depriving the detainee and his or her lawyer from learning the reasons for detention. Often, administrative detention orders against a detainee are renewed several times, she said.

"Administrative detention practices are illegal and arbitrary,” she said. “According to international law, administrative detention can only be applied when there is a real danger that threatens the national security of the state.”

Qatamish then spoke about his experience in prison, during which he was exposed to torture and pressure tactics. "The occupation extended my detention for several years without filing an indictment against me,” he said, “relying instead on the so-called secret file that is usually prepared by Israeli intelligence service and submitted to the military judge for endorsement. The lawyer and detainee are prohibited from accessing the contents of this file under the pretext of maintaining the sources of information contained therein. "

Student Islam narrated his personal story inside Israeli jails, and the massive need to maintain a strong will and not succumb to interrogators and jailers.

The seminar is part of a campaign carried out by university students, who have been waging a hunger strike for more than 25 days in solidarity with the many prisoners in Israeli jails, and demanding an end to administrative detention.