The Israeli military
commander in the Gaza Strip issued a military order placing a Palestinian
detainee, Ahmed Isma’il Abu Rouk, 30, from Khuza’a village in Khan Yunis, under
a 6-month administrative detention. PCHR
is concerned that this order is being used to halt military court proceedings
initiated against Abu Rouk by the Israeli military prosecution for fear of a
probable acquittal. PCHR had expected
that a further court session in this case, scheduled to take place in July,
would have freed Abu Rouk on the basis of a lack of evidence to substantiate the
charges made against him
Abu Rouk has been detained
by Israeli occupying forces in a detention centre in Erez since he was arrested
at his house in Khuza’a village in Khan Yunis on 13 February 2003. An Israeli lawyer, retained by PCHR, has
visited Abu Rouk in detention and provided representation in court.
In the opening sessions of
the trial, the Israeli military prosecution requested that Abu Rouk be
sentenced to 2 years in prison, on charges of being a member of "an
illegal organization". The
prosecution claimed that Abu Rouk was a member of the Ahmed Abu al-Rish Brigade
of the Fatah movement. This was the only
charge included in the bill of indictment submitted against Abu Rouk. Later, the military prosecution presented a
deal offering Abu Rouk a shortened sentence of a four-month prison term in
reward for a confession to the charge against him.
PCHR’s legal team believed
that the deal was offered because the military prosecution did not have
sufficient evidence to acquire a conviction on this charge. PCHR refused the deal and continued to pursue
the case before the court. PCHR’s lawyer
was informed on 26 June 2003 that the GOC of the Southern Command, Major
General Doron Almoge, had issued a military order placing Abu Rouk under
administrative detention for a period of six months. According to procedure, the bill of
indictment against Abu Rouk has been withdrawn.
PCHR’s lawyer is waiting for notification of the start date of the
period of administrative detention.
PCHR believes that this
Israeli military order is being used to halt the military court proceedings
against Abu Rouk because
the Israeli military prosecution is aware that it has insufficient evidence for
a conviction. Israeli military
administrative detention orders are issued without recourse to any judicial procedures,
including knowledge of the charge, the right to a hearing before a competent
body, the right of appeal, and the right to defense. PCHR reiterates its condemnation of the
continued use, by the Israeli military, of administrative detention orders which
fail to reach minimum international human rights standards, including the right
to a fair trial.
Israeli occupying forces
have used administrative detention orders against Palestinians since the
beginning of the occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including
Jerusalem, in 1967. The use of this measure has been stepped up
since the beginning of the current Intifada.