Israel frees prisoner detained 30 months without charge
Published Friday 20/12/2013 19:18
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities on Friday released a Palestinian prisoner from Hebron after keeping him in administrative detention for over two and a half years.
Mahmud Issa Abed al-Hamid Masalma, 54, was released on Friday after spending more than 30 months in prison without ever being charged by authorities.
Masalma was detained on Aug. 20, 2011 and was transferred to administrative detention because Israeli authorities said that he "constitutes a danger to the security of Israel."
They refused, however, to explain what kind of danger he posed, and kept him without charge for the entirety of his detention.
Administrative detention refers to the tactic of keeping a prisoner without charge or trial for extended periods of time, often due to "security" concerns.
Israel routinely uses this tactic on detained Palestinians, even though international law stipulates it only be used in exceptional circumstances.
According to Israeli human rights groups B'tselem, in October 2013 140 Palestinians were being kept in administrative detention in Israeli prisons, down from a high of nearly 1,000 in 2002.
5,200 Palestinians were being held in Israeli jails as of October 2013, according to the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs.
Since 1967, more than 650,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel, representing 20 percent of the total population and 40 percent of all males in the occupied territories.
Under international law, it is illegal to transfer prisoners outside of the occupied territory in which they are detained, and the families of Palestinian prisoners' face many obstacles in obtaining permits to see their imprisoned relatives.