Arbitrary Detention is a Grave Violation of International Law and Human Rights Standards

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The practice of arbitrary detention is a grave violation of international laws and human rights. Specifically Articles 78 and 72 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that an accused individual has the right to defend themselves. As well arbitrary detention is a violation of Article 66 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which provides the basic standards of fair trial.

In the wee hours of October 31, 2019, Israeli military forces seized Khalida Jarrar an elected member of the Palestinian parliament. She is for the third time in four years being held administrative detention without charge or trial. There are currently seven elected members of the Palestinian parliament being held in Israeli prison. Khalida is one of 425 Palestinian currently detained without charge or trial.  

Please write to the Canadian government asking that pressure be put on Israel in release these three individuals immediately from detention, and end the use of administrative detention.

Specifically we call on the Canadian government to pursue accountability for international crimes committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) through both international and domestic law.

International Law: Under Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, all High Contracting Parties (which includes Canada), are required to take action to respect and to ensure respect for the Convention “in all circumstances.”

Domestic Law: Under the Special Economic Measures Act, the Canadian government can impose sanctions when “gross and systematic human rights violations have been committed in a foreign state.”

Background and picture from Samidoun.  

Khalida Jarrar, leading Palestinian parliamentarian was seized in the pre-dawn hours of 31 October 2019 by Israeli occupation forces. The heavily armed force invaded her home with over a dozen military vehicles and 80 soldiers only eight months after she was last released from Israeli prison. This is the third time in four years that she has been seized and held with no charge and no trial under administrative detention. During Khalida’s earlier imprisonment, over 275 organizations around the world joined the call for her freedom, and protests and mobilizations around the world highlighted her case. It is time to act again and demand Khalida’s immediate release!  As JKhalida's daughter Yafa Jarrar  a Canadian lawyer noted, “International pressure has made the difference in how quickly mom gets released in the past.” All 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners need your support in their struggle for justice and freedom.

Heba al-Labadi is a 24-year-old Palestinian with Jordanian citizenship. She had been on hunger strike since 24 September 2019 against her administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial. UPDATE: Heba was released on November 6th after international pressure and Jordan bringing its ambassador to Israel home.

Samer Arbeed is being held in Hadassah hospital after severe Israeli torture under interrogation and brutal beatings that caused him to lose consciousness for weeks. He has been shackled to his bed and even tear-gassed in his hospital room by Israeli forces despite the fact that he has 11 broken ribs and pneumonia as well as kidney dysfunction so severe he now requires dialysis. He suffered from none of these medical conditions prior to being seized by Israeli occupation forces on 25 September, although his wife witnessed occupation soldiers begin to beat him immediately upon arresting him. He has been banned from lawyers’ visits and his lawyers were not informed that he was tear-gassed; in a medical report delivered by the intensive care unit at the hospital, it was noted that Samer’s lung health has further deteriorated due to contamination in his ventilation apparatus. He is being subjected to continuous interrogation even as he remains in his hospital room due to Israeli torture.

Khalida, Heba and Sameer have all, independently of one another, organized and spoken out for Palestinian prisoners. Khalida is one of the most prominent international advocates for Palestinian prisoners and their rights and the former vice-chair of the board of directors of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. Heba has written and campaigned about Palestinian political prisoners and urged their freedom, including that of Georges Abdallah, jailed in France for 35 years. Samer Arbeed volunteered and worked for organizations demanding freedom for prisoners – and has been previously targeted for his work.

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