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Israel holds over 1,200 mostly Palestinian detainees without charge, highest in 3 decades

A report published on Wednesday by a nongovernmental group says the number of people in Israeli administrative detention is the highest in the last three decades.
Israeli policemen detain a Palestinian man at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound following clashes that erupted during the Islamic holy fasting month of Ramadan in Jerusalem on April 5, 2023.

The Israeli human rights group HaMoked reported on Wednesday that 1,201 people, mostly Palestinians, are detained in Israel without charges or trial dates under an Israeli legal procedure known as administrative detention. It's the highest number of people held in administrative detention in Israel in 34 years.

Hamoked Executive Director Jessica Montell tweeted on Wednesday, "The figure is outrageous. This is a patently illegal practice. These people should be given a fair trial or released."

The controversial practice takes place behind closed doors, and the press is prohibited from covering it. Family members of the detainees are also not allowed to attend the sessions. Part of Israel’s emergency protocols, the practice is intended to be used when a person presents a security danger. Lawyers for the detainees often do not get to see the evidence upon which the military judges makes their decisions. 

Administrative detention is supposed to be used for a period of six months, but can be renewed unlimited times in three- or six-month extensions, also without the detainees' lawyers reviewing the justification.

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