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article imagePalestinians held without trial to boycott Israeli courts: official

By AFP     Feb 13, 2018 in World

Palestinians held without trial under a controversial Israeli policy are to begin a boycott of the country's military courts, the head of prisoners' affairs for the Palestinian Authority said Tuesday.

"Prisoners held on administrative detention in Zionist jails decided to boycott Israeli courts in a final and unprecedented manner... to protest this unjust policy," Issa Qaraqe told a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Israel currently holds around 500 Palestinians under its administrative detention policy, which allows imprisonment without trial for six-month periods, renewable indefinitely.

When their terms are being renewed, detainees appear before Israeli military courts -- often without full knowledge of the allegations against them.

Qaraqe said prisoners would instruct their lawyers not to engage with the courts in any way from February 15 onwards.

Israel says the use of administrative detention is intended to allow authorities to hold suspects while continuing to gather evidence, in order to prevent attacks in the meantime.

But it has been criticised by Palestinians, human rights groups and members of the international community who say Israel abuses the policy.

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