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Israel releases PLC member after 22 months in administrative detention

Sept. 3, 2017 11:49 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 7, 2017 2:04 P.M.)
Hassan Yousif (File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) released Hassan Yousif, a senior leader of the Hamas movement and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in the occupied West Bank, from prison on Thursday, after spending nearly two years in administrative detention -- Israel’s widely condemned policy of detention without charge or trial.

The Jerusalem Post reported that a spokesperson for the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence agency, said of Yousif’s release that “it was no longer necessary” to hold Yousif in prison.

Yousif, also known as Hassan Salamah, 60, was detained after Israeli forces raided his house in Beituniya on October 20, 2015 three months after being released from a previous year-long administrative detention amidst accusations of “incitement” against Israel.

Israel uses administrative detention almost exclusively against Palestinians. The widely condemned Israeli policy allows for a detainee to be sentenced for up to six-month renewable intervals based on undisclosed evidence.

Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.

Rights groups have claimed that Israel's administrative detention policy has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political and social processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, and journalists.

According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there were 6,128 Palestinians in Israeli prisons as of July, including 12 PLC members, and 450 held in administrative detention.

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