On my administrative detention: Palestinian astrophysicist writes from jail

Professor Imad Barghouthi, the Palestinian astrophysicist arrested in July who was then set to be released on bail, has been placed in administrative detention until November 15th by an order of an Israeli military commander. Administrative detention is a procedure employed by Israeli authorities to jail indefinitely without trial and without charges and used routinely against Palestinian, and it has been condemned by the UN. We share here a letter from Prof. Barghouthi on his current situation:

Dear colleagues,

I’m writing this letter as I await the Israeli military occupation court to review the Israeli military commander’s decision to put me under administrative detention for four months. This order overruled a court decision to release me on bail, while I await yet another trial for exercising my internationally protected right of expressing my opinion on my social media. And my next appearance before the military judge/court will be a closed session, showing that even Israeli authorities are ashamed of these proceedings.

For those of you who don’t know about administrative detention, it has been a central practice of the Israeli occupation since the early days of the British mandate, over seventy years ago; administrative detention allows for a military commander to order your arrest based on secret reports and without trial. The administrative detention can last up to six months, but can be renewed indefinitely[[There are cases of Palestinians who spent over 5 years in continuous administrative detention, and some who have experienced over 20 years of on and off administrative detention in Israeli military occupation prisons.]]. This practice systematically abuses Palestinian human rights and is designed to subjugate the Palestinian people and deny their freedom.

In the Israeli military courts it doesn’t matter that I’m a professor of space physics, nor it matters that I’m 50 years old, father of five and grandfather of one lovely boy, nor that no Israeli professor would ever be convicted for expressing her/his public opinion on Facebook! The only thing that matters in front of their courts is that I’m a Palestinian and I’m thus labeled, dehumanized, and stripped of my basic human rights. And with no fear by the Israeli military apparatus of real persecution for what they are doing to me.

Dear colleagues, I ask you to take a few minutes of your time to act in support of Palestinians and against the illegal procedure of administrative detention with a post demanding the abolition of this practice, or a discussion with your students and colleagues on the fact that in today’s 21st century world, Palestinians professors are being held without trial.

I know justice will never be served as long as Palestinians remain under occupation, but I take courage and inspiration from the words of Desmond Tutu, “in a situation of injustice, if you remain neutral then you have chosen the side of the oppressor”.

With respect,

Prof. Imad Ahmad Barghouthi
Department of Physics, AQU
Occupied Palestine
Currently in the Ofer Israeli prison camp