Court upholds Hamas man´s admin. detention (JERUSALEM POST) By JOANNA PARASZCZUK 05/10/12)
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The High Court of Justice on Wednesday rejected a petition by a
Palestinian detainee to overturn a military court ruling extending
the administrative detention of a Palestinian Hamas activist.
Mahmoud Adib Mahmoud Masalani petitioned the High Court after the
military court of appeals refused to overturn a military court ruling
to extend his detention until May 27.
The panel of justices, Edna Arbel, Neal Handel and Zvi Zilbertal said
that after a careful review of the evidentiary material, they
believed Masalani posed a threat to regional security and to the
public. Therefore, they said, the decision to extend his
administrative detention was correct.
However, the justices added that should no further evidentiary
material against Masalani be found, then the military court should
consider his release.
Masalani, aged 38, is a Hamas activist who previously served 17 and a
half years in prison for stabbing a border police officer in
After his release in September 2010, Masalani returned to work for
Hamas, the security forces said.
Masalani was re-arrested in April 2011, and when security officers
interrogated him he denied the allegations.
At that time, the military court ruled to hold Masalani in
administrative detention after the security services testified that
classified intelligence reports indicated he posed a threat to
Since then, the military court has periodically ruled to extend
Masalani´s administrative detention.
In the latest military court hearing in February, the court found
that evidentiary material presented by the security services was
reliable and indicated that, if released, Masalani posed a real
danger to regional security and public safety.
In the petition, Masalani´s lawyer, attorney Jamil Khatib, complained
that the military court routinely rejects appeals against
administrative detention orders.
As Masalani´s defense counsel, Khatib requested permission to review
the classified intelligence material concerning his client, in order
to formulate a reasonable defense.
Khatib also told the High Court that Masalani was suffering from a
psychiatric complaint, and that he wished to marry and live a normal
Khatib also asked the court why other more prominent individuals who
were also involved in the activities attributed to Masalani had not
Attorney Uri Keydar, for the state, argued that there was no place
for the High Court to intervene in the military court ruling, because
the security services had gathered reliable, classified intelligence
regarding Masalani that provided the basis for assessing the risk he
posed to regional security.
Administrative detention, the state argued, was the only effective
way to prevent the serious danger the Masalani posed to the public
and to regional security.
Wednesday´s ruling came days after the court also refused petitions
by two hunger-striking detainees, Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh,
which led to criticism from some human rights groups against Israel´s
practice of administrative detention.
On Tuesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned of
a "backlash" should any of the detainees on hunger strike die.
In Wednesday´s ruling, the justices gave a thorough legal review of
the administrative detention procedures and regulations, including
the issue of secret evidence.
Arbel noted that the military court is empowered to order
administrative detention under the 2007 Order Regarding
Administrative Detentions (Temporary Order), which allows the
commander of IDF forces in the region to order the detention of a
person for a maximum of six months, if there was reasonable grounds
to believe that regional security or public safety required it.
While detentions can be extended periodically, for no more than six
months each time, the Order stipulates that this may only happen if
deemed "essential for security reasons".
"The reason for administrative detention is to prevent future threats
to state security or public safety," Arbel said, noting that this
differed from usual criminal legal proceedings, which aimed to punish
for past events.
The justice added that administrative detention is often based on
evidentiary material, which, while justifying detention is not
admissible as evidence in a criminal trial.
That evidentiary material, Arbel said, is frequently classified
defense material that cannot be revealed to the detainee or to his
counsel, because to do so could compromise either state security or
that of intelligence sources.
While that does make it difficult for a detainee to mount a defense,
Arbel said the High Court has previously found that secret evidence
is a necessary tool.
Arbel added that the High Court routinely reviews the classified
material used as the basis for administrative detentions, with "care
and attention to the necessary balance between protecting the public
and national security, and the detainee´s freedom and dignity." (©
1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 05/10/12)
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