B'Tselem: 'Israel abuses detention without trial'

Israel excessively uses

Twenty-eight Palestinians have been held in administrative detention for two to four years, and one has been held for four-and-a-half years, according to a report due to be released early Wednesday morning by two human rights organizations, B'Tselem and Hamoked. The report, entitled "Without Trial," found that more than 1,000 Palestinians had been held simultaneously in administrative detention during the second intifada. At the end of September of this year, Israel was holding 335 administrative detainees, including three women and a minor. Thirty-seven percent of the detainees had been in jail for one to two years. The organizations charged that an administrative detention proceeding may look like a fair judicial process, but actually denies the detainees any chance of reasonably defending themselves. In the vast majority of cases, the judges agree to declare evidence privileged and rely on written reports prepared by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) that are not available to the detainee or his attorney. As a result, the courts approve most detention orders. The organizations found that in the year between August 2008 and July 2009, military court judges approved 95% of the orders. In 2008, the military appeals court accepted 57% of the prosecution's appeals compared with 15% of those filed by detainees. B'Tselem and Hamoked added that the Incarceration of Unlawful Combatants Law, which applies to members of terrorist organizations outside Israel and the West Bank, enables sweeping and swift detention without trial for long periods and provides even fewer protections than the Administrative Detention Order that applies in the West Bank. Meanwhile, IDF Judea and Samaria Division commander Brig. Gen. Nitzan Alon on Tuesday night suspended two officers suspected of torching Palestinians cars and rolling them into a wadi. According to the allegations, IDF soldiers operating in the southern Hebron Hills earlier this week were pursuing several illegal Palestinian aliens who tried to infiltrate into Israel in cars. The Palestinians stopped the vehicles and managed to escape on foot. The IDF officers then allegedly burned the cars and rolled them down into the wadi. "I saw the soldiers' hummer and I started to flee," said one of the Palestinians, Na'adar Hariza'at. "I drove fast, but my car got stuck. I ran away, and then the soldiers shot at the vehicle and broke the windows. After receiving an initial complaint from B'Tselem, OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni ordered an investigation into the incident, and following information passed on by Judea Division Commander Col. Udi Ben Moha Udi, Alon decided to suspend the two officers.