Israeli court extends detention of Palestinian party leader

Israeli court extends detention of Islamist political leader, prompting concerns from lawyer
2 min read
08 June, 2021
The deputy leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel has been detained until the end of his trial by Israel, his lawyer revealed, in a case that is fraught with politics.
Sheikh Kamal Khatib's detention has been extended [Getty]

The deputy leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel has been detained until the end of his trial, his lawyer revealed.

The Israeli court in the northern city of Nazareth on Tuesday extended the detention of Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib, in what has been described as a "politically motivated…judicial precedent" by defence lawyer Omar Khamaysa.

"This trial has been politicised since the beginning," the lawyer said. He added that he intends to appeal the court verdict with Israel's Central Court.

If found guilty, Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib could be given a jail term of up to 22 years.

Al-Khatib was accused of incitement and joining a terrorist organisation last month, and taken from his home in Kafr Kanna.

The Islamic Movement was outlawed by Israel in 2015, and Khamaysa was arrested on 14 May.

Palestinians are often held in arbitrary detention in Israel and subject to unfair trials without being provided with legal representation, activists say.

Israel has also used interrogation methods that amount to torture administered to children, human rights groups have found.

Some 4,300 Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including 397 administrative detainees, were held in Israeli prisons as of December, according to the Israel Prison Service.

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"Palestinian civilians, including children, from the OPT were prosecuted in military courts that did not meet international fair trial standards,” wrote Amnesty International in an extensive report on Israel's legal practices with regards to Palestinians.

"Israeli soldiers, police and ISA officers continued to torture and otherwise ill-treat Palestinian detainees, including children, with impunity. Reported methods included beating, slapping, painful shackling, sleep deprivation, use of stress positions and threats of violence against family members," the 2020 report said.

"Prolonged solitary confinement, sometimes lasting months, was commonly used as a punishment."

Kamal Al-Khatib's arrest came amid protests over the forced expulsions of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah.

Hundreds of Palestinian protesters have been arrested over the last few weeks in Jerusalem, with reports of ill treatment.