Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Ceisteanna (100)

Thomas P. Broughan


100. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a person (details supplied) has been imprisoned under an administrative detention order since 2 July 2017 and has reportedly been denied the right to a fair and public trial; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27021/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I am aware of the case of the person concerned, whose administrative detention order has just been renewed for a further period reported to be four months. She has been in administrative detention without trial for a year, having already been detained, under administrative detention and a conviction whose basis was very unclear, for much of the period since April 2015. I understand that she is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is an outlawed group in Israel and considered a terrorist group by the EU. However, no real and credible imputation of personal involvement in violent activities has been made against her.

My view on this case, and on the practice of administrative detention generally, is very clear. While no-one can doubt the particular threats and security concerns which Israel faces, administrative detention should only be used, if at all, in the most serious of cases and in the face of serious and immediate threat. In all other cases, persons should be charged and tried in the courts, able to hear and challenge the evidence against them. No evidence of such a serious and immediate threat has been presented, in a way which would allow the person in question to address it, in this case.

In general, there is serious concern that administrative detention is being applied on an increasingly routine basis against people who are politically active and critical of the occupation of the Palestinian territory, without any evidence being made available to indicate that these individuals constitute a security threat. Such periods of detention are often rolled over and extended indefinitely.

All of these criticisms have been conveyed to the Israeli authorities, most recently in the context of the Universal Periodic Review of Israel at the Human Rights Council in January of this year, when Ireland reiterated that detainees must have the right to be informed of the charges underlying any detention, have access to legal assistance, and receive a fair trial. Ireland has also been instrumental in having them included in EU Council Conclusions on the situation in Israel and Palestine.

It is incumbent on Israel to charge this person with credible and evidence-based offences, or to release her. I note that a leading article in one of the main Israeli newspapers yesterday made the same call.