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Walid Hanatsheh: Palestinian Prisoner of Conscience

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It permits limited use of administrative detentions in emergency situations, but requires authorities follow basic rules and procedures. They include due process hearings at which detainees may challenge why they're held. Israel spurns all international law. As a result, Palestinians like Hanatsheh suffer.

Secret evidence even extends to constitutionality issues, argued by the State ex parte. As a result, in March 2009, three Israeli human rights organizations withdrew their petition challenging the constitutionality of a High Court criminal procedure order.

Withdrawal was in protest over the Court's decision to let the General Security Service present information exclusively to its judges without petitioners' presence. As a result, they couldn't examine and question it.

Palestinians are systematically denied justice in a rigged system against them. Once charged, or detained without charges, they're guilty by accusation or implication. Equal protection's a nonstarter. Justice serves Jews one way, Palestinians another, affording them none.

Hearings for Hanatsheh's detention took place in two sessions. First, he and his lawyer were present. Closed proceedings followed. Secret evidence was presented. 

The military judge said it showed PFLP activism. As a result, he said, administrative detention is the "only way to prevent the danger posed by the detainee." He cited previous detentions based on alleged PFLP involvement.

As a result, on December 1, he was ordered detained. His lawyer appealed, stressing his humanitarian work. Holding him negatively impacts Palestinians receiving it. He also explained that baseless evidence justified previous arrests and detentions. 

On January 15, his appeal was denied. Addameer believes targeting him relates to his Health Work Committees (HWC) affiliation and support for prisoner hunger strikes begun last September.

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HWC actively coordinated prisoner solidarity events and other supportive efforts. Because PFLP prisoners were involved, authorities connected Hanatsheh to them unfairly. 

According to Addameer:

His case "reflects the policy of arbitrary detention employment by Israeli authorities, and particularly the use of administrative detention as punishment for individuals when there is not sufficient evidence (or perhaps none) for an indictment."

Incarceration harms families and detainees. Hanatsheh's wife Bayan said separation slowly kills them. Spouses struggle to get by. So do children without full parental support. Moreover, future plans can't be made.

Hanatsheh's young children ask why their father's never home and doesn't pick them up at school like other kids' parents. Moreover, when he was detained in 2002, Bayan became seriously ill. His lawyer used medical reports to get him released. Denying his motion, an arrogant military judge said:

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"The lives of the Israeli public are more important than Walid's life or his wife's life."

In fact, Hanatsheh threatens no one. Humanitarian activism got him arrested and detained. Moreover, Jerusalemite Bayan applied numerous times for ID permission to let him live with her and family members. Each time she was denied for "security reasons." 

In fact, when free, he's denied entry into Jerusalem. He's also prevented from traveling outside Palestine for conferences and workshops related to his humanitarian work even though it's peaceful and not threatening.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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