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Palestinians in Israeli administrative detention up by 50 percent

Nearly 750 Palestinians are currently held under administrative detention in Israeli prisons [AFP]

Date of publication: 18 September, 2016

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Hundreds of Palestinians are stuck in legal limbo with a 50 percent hike in administrative detention cases.

Nearly 750 more Palestinians are being held without trial in Israeli prisons than last year, a 50 percent hike on 2015, a report has found.

According to the latest statistics by the Palestinian ministry of detainees and ex-detainees affairs, 60 percent of the detainees have had their periods of incarcaration at least once.

The latest numbers bring the total number of administrative detention orders issued by Israel since 2000 to 26,000.

The 750 detainees are among more than 7,500 Palestinians currently in Israeli jails.

Last month, Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed ended his 71-day hunger strike, which he had started to protest his imprisonment in Israel without trial, after Israeli authorities said his current six-month term of internment would not be extended.

Earlier this year, Palestinian journalist Mohamed al-Qiq was released in a deal reached after he ended a 94-day hunger strike staged in protest at his administrative detention.

Others continue to suffer serious health effects after weeks of hunger strike to protest their illegal detention.

Administrative detention allows suspects to be held for renewable six-month periods without trial, often based on secret evidence.

Israel claims the controversial practice allows authorities to hold suspects while continuing to gather evidence, while Palestinians, rights groups and members of the international community have condemned the system.

The UN has repeatedly expressed concern about the Israeli practices of detaining Palestinians without charge or trial, describing it a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which defines humanitarian protection for civilians.

Last month, the UN urged Israel to charge or release prisoners held under administrative detention amid a fresh wave of hunger strikes by Palestinians in protest against their arbitrary incarceration.

"The number of administrative detainees is at an eight-year high. I reiterate the United Nations long-standing position that all administrative detainees - Palestinian or Israeli - should be charged or released without delay," said Robert Piper, the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

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