STATEMENT ON THE DETENTION OF PALESTINIAN MR MAHER AL AKHTAR BY ISRAEL WITHOUT TRIAL

The African National Congress (ANC) International Relations Committee members are concerned about the life and well-being of Mr. Maher Al Akhras, a 49 year old Palestinian man detained in Israel under what is termed Administrative Detention.
Administrative detention is what the Apartheid government referred to as ‘detention without trial’ and like the apartheid practise is means to intimidate and victimise activists.

South Africans know how vicious and arbitrary arrests without charges being levelled can be, as it denies those arrested the opportunity of a fair trial. Like the erstwhile South African practise, administrative detention in Israel targets activists even though they have not any crimes. According to B’Tselem an Israeli human rights NGO, there are more than 355 Palestinians, including children being held under administrative detention. B’Tselem is if the view that these numbers may be much higher given that the Israeli government policy of not providing full details on the numbers of children that are being held without trial and also that the Israeli Defence Force too hold people without trial.

Mr. Maher al Akhras, has been detained for more than 80 days and is on a hunger strike in protest against the practice of detention without trial. He is reportedly close to death.
The ANC calls on the government of Israel to release Mr. Al-Akhras on humanitarian grounds. We also call on the government of Israel to end the practise of detention without trial or administrative detention transgresses international human rights norms relating to the Right to Liberty and Security of the Person under the UN charter and article 9(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Given this, we call on the government of Israel to release all children held under administrative detention and release or charge other detainees.

We urge the Government of Israel not to let the health of Mr. Al Akhras deteriorate further as his hunger strike in prison is a direct result of him and others being held under an unjust practise that is not aligned with the norms of human rights, the rule of just law and international law pertaining to arrests and detentions that violate the rights to liberty and security of all people.

END

ISSUED BY THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS

Lindiwe Zulu
Chairperson : International Relations Sub-Committee

Enquiries
Pule Mabe
National Spokesperson
071 623 4975

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