Israel plans to extend detention of sick Palestinian teenager

Israel plans to extend detention of 17-year-old Palestinian with rare neuromuscular disease

JERUSALEM – Israel plans to extend the detention of a 17-year-old Palestinian with a rare neuromuscular disorder who has been held without charge for almost a year in what authorities are calling administrative detention, his father said on Monday .

The use of administrative detention has galvanized protests across the occupied West Bank in recent months as several adult prisoners have gone on hunger strike to protest their detention for months or years without charge. Some were released after months of fasting that left them hospitalized and at risk of permanent neurological damage.

Israel says administrative detention, which is rarely used for minors, is necessary to prevent imminent attacks or to detain dangerous activists without disclosing sensitive information. Human rights groups say he further denies due process to Palestinians already living under military rule.

Amal Nakhleh, who was arrested in January 2021, is one of a handful of minors placed in administrative detention. He had a lung tumor removed in 2020 and suffers from myasthenia gravis, a nervous disorder that causes severe muscle fatigue.

His father, Muamar, says Israel has renewed Amal’s detention three times in the past year without saying why he is being held or charging him with any crime. “There is no legal justification for detaining him, there has been no charge,” he said. “They just say they have secret files.”

He says his son needs regular hospital visits for tests and needs a calm environment. In a court appearance on Monday, he was told authorities needed a few more days to decide whether or not to renew her son’s detention.

The Israeli military and the internal security service of the Israeli Shin Bet did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Jessica Montell, director of HaMoked, an Israeli advocacy group for Palestinian detainees, said Israel was holding six minors in administrative detention in September, when her group received a response to an access to information request. About 500 Palestinian adults are currently held in administrative detention.

“Administrative detention should be reserved for extremely rare cases,” Montell said. “It should not be used the way Israel uses it, not for adults and certainly not for a sick child. “

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