Military Judge in Ofer Court Orders the Release of Haitham Siaj

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05 February 2018

On 4 February 2018, the Military judge in Ofer Court ordered the release of Haitham Siaj (20 years old). Addameer’s lawyer Mahmoud Hassan stated that the judge gave the military prosecutor a period of 4 days to appeal the release, which ends on 8 February 2018.

The judge’s order stated the following, “I order the release of the prisoner and not confirming the military order. I give the military prosecution until 8 February to appeal the order and the military prosecutor can issue a new arrest order for Siaj during this period if he has new documents against him. I order his release because of the absence of new materials against Siaj which proves that the military prosecutor did not meet his obligation in collecting new data about this prisoner.”

Addameer’s lawyer Mahmoud Hassan in Siaj’s court session stated that “my client was released on 31 December 2017, and he spent less than four weeks out of the Israeli jails without committing any security breach. This proves that the military prosecution’s claim that the prisoner forms a threat to the security of the area, and releasing him causes a security risk, is void.”

The lawyer added, “The occupation’s intelligence services did not present any information about the prisoner’s activities after his release. This thus proves that the prisoner does not form a danger or security threat. This also means that military area commander does not have the right to issue an administrative detention order against Siaj. In fact, the military commander is only referring to old security files, which constituted the basis for Siaj’s previous administrative detention since 21 October 2016 until 20 July 2017.”

Addameer considers administrative detention, as implemented by the Israeli occupation, illegal as it represents a tool of oppression against the Palestine people. Rather than being used for genuine ‘security purposes’, as stipulated in the Fourth Geneva Convention, it is deployed most against students, journalists, activists, and human rights defenders.

Additionally, administrative detention is a policy the Israeli occupation forces use against individuals who it classifies as ‘security threats’. Despite this classification, most of the time, these claims are shown to be false and not relying on a factually correct material.

It is important to note that Haitham Siaj (20 years old) was arrested by the Israeli occupation forces on 21 October 2016. His arrest was followed by an administrative detention order for six months, which was renewed for another six months. During the second six months, Siaj received a list of charges and was sentenced to 7 months. This period ended on 20 January 2018. Siaj was released on 31 December 2017 and was rearrested on 25 January 2018. He was thus out of jail for only 25 days.