Palestinian journalist ordered to spend three months in admin. detention

The Supreme Court upheld the army’s request to extend Omar Nazzal’s remand by three months only, instead of four. The judges did not specify why he posed a security threat, and how he would cease to in three months’ time.

A photo of Omar Nazzal from a demonstration calling for his release. (Flash90)
A photo of Omar Nazzal from a demonstration calling for his release. (Flash90)

Palestinian journalist Omar Nazzal, who was detained in April while trying to leave the West Bank en route to an international conference, will spend at least another three months in administrative detention, the Israel Defense Forces ruled on Friday.

Since his arrest at Allenby Bridge border crossing, Nazzal has been in administrative detention with no charges, a formal indictment or a scheduled court hearing.

The Israeli army and Shin Bet Security Service claim that he is affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Israel views as a terrorist organization. Nazzal denies the charge and demands either to be sentenced or released.

Administrative detention is an extreme measure meant to be adopted rarely and with moderation. Administrative detainees are held indefinitely without charge or trial — without any way to defend themselves.

Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court ruled, based on classified evidence that the defense was unable to view, that Nazzal’s remand must be extended by up to three months, instead of the four months the army had planned.

The judges did not specify why Nazzal would be a security threat for the next three months, but not for another month afterwards.

Nazzal has been huger striking for the past 19 days, protesting his administrative detention and in solidarity with another administrative detainee, Bilal Kayed.

Journalists’ associations worldwide have condemned Nazzal’s detention and called for his imminent release. The Union of Journalists in Israel (of which the author of this piece is a board member) has yet to weigh in.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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