The Haifa District Court on Wednesday 20 April 2022 rejected a request by the Israeli State Attorney’s office for a three-month administrative detention order of Sadeen Jabareen, a 29-year-old teacher, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, and resident of Umm al-Fahem who was arrested by the General Security Service or “Shabak” on 3 April and has been under investigation and detained for the last 16 days, and approved only two-week detention, said Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.
Administrative detention – being held on the basis of secret information, without charge or trial – is frequently used to detain Palestinian residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT); today about 500 Palestinians are being held in administrative detention, including minors. More recently the state has used this draconian measure to detain Palestinian citizens of Israel.
In its request, the State Attorney’s office claimed that confidential information was submitted to the Court, allegedly indicating that Jabareen supports a terrorist organization and has access to weapons. In addition, the state alleged that Jabareen, “is known as someone who encourages others to carry out terrorist activities as well as activities in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.”
The legal defense team representing Jabareen and headed by Adalah’s General Director Hassan Jabareen and includes Adalah Attorney Adi Mansour and private Attorney Ahmed Khalifa, argued that the evidence presented shows only that Jabareen attempted to organize buses for worshipers to Al Aqsa for the purposes of prayer, a legitimate and legal activity.
This act is an exercise of religious freedom, a constitutional right, they argued.
The team further argued that as this case is about the expression of political rights and religious freedom rather than any illegal activity, thus, there is no legitimate justification to approve the administrative detention order.
Following a hearing, the court decided to approve the administrative detention order only for two weeks, the remaining period days of Ramadan, and rejected the State Attorney’s office’s request for a three-month detention order.
The court held that there was no justification for approving the order for a longer period and that while it did not find it necessary to disclose secret evidence, it believes that criminal law, rather than administrative law, is the appropriate route to address offenses of this nature. It further ruled that while it approved a two-week detention order, it recommends that the State Attorney’s office consider shortening the period of detention and examine other proportionate alternatives.
Adalah and Attorney Khalifa responded: “We do not see any justification for detention in this case or in the use of administrative detention, an exceptional and extreme tool, which, here undermines legitimate, legal, religious activity. However, the Court’s refusal to approve a three-month administrative detention order is a precedent-setting ruling. It is a legal achievement in the field, especially as the court ruled that administrative detention shall be used in exceptional circumstances rather than routinely, and it advised the State Attorney’s office to consider alternatives.”