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From the field

Life Imprisonment without Trial?!

Usama Barham Held in Administrative Detention for Five Years and Ten Months

Israel has administratively detained Usama Barham, 36, a resident of Kfar Ramin, since 17 September 1993. During this period, IDF military commanders have issued thirteen orders extending his detention, and the courts have rejected the three appeals he filed. The official basis for his detention is that he is a member of the Islamic Jihad and endangers the security of the region. According to the authorities, Barham's detention is preventive. In letters to Dr. Anat Matar, of Tel-Aviv University, and in his judicial appeals, Barham explicitly rejects the use of violence, including violence by the Islamic Jihad, and denies that he is a member of the organization.

On Sunday, 18 July, the High Court of Justice will hear his latest petition, filed on his behalf by attorney Tamar Peleg from HAMOKED - Center for the Defence of the Individual.


According to B'Tselem's data, Israel is currently holding sixty-four Palestinians in administrative detention. Other detainees who have been held for especially prolonged periods are 'Iman Dararmeh (more than four years), another detainee (two-three years), and seven detainees (one-two years). The other administrative detainees have been held for less than a year. Israel is also holding in administrative detention approximately twenty Lebanese, some of them for more than ten years!

B'Tselem estimates that, since the beginning of the intifada, Israel has issued some 20,000 administrative-detention orders and held approximately 5,000 Palestinians in administrative detention.

B'Tselem demands that Israel immediately release, or prosecute, Usama Barham and the other administrative detainees. A modern state does not hold persons without trial for prolonged periods and without providing them or their attorneys with details of the charges.