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Youngest administrative detainee released after 16 months in Israeli prisons

Jerusalem24– 18-year-old Mohammad Ghassan Mansour was released by the Israeli authorities yesterday after spending 16 months in administrative detention in the Negev.

Mansour is the youngest detainee to have remained as long in administrative detention, without charge or trial.

Mansour was arrested as a 17-year-old on 9 April 2021 at his family home in Jenin and held for 15 days at the Huwara detention center in the occupied West Bank where he said he was made to strip naked. The Salem Military Court issued a four-month administrative detention order against him via video call and he was transferred to Megiddo prison in the Negev.

The occupation authorities renewed the order for his administrative detention a total of three times.

Following the order’s first extension in September 2021, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) submitted an urgent petition to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention calling for his release.

The UN Working Group formally adopted an opinion during its 93rd session held between 30 March and 8 April 2022 that Israeli authorities were unlawfully detaining Mansour, and called for his immediate release.

The latest administrative detention order expired on 6 June and Mansour was released.

DCIP accountability program director Ayed Abu Qtaish tells Jerusalem24 that the organization “can’t establish a direct link” between the UN Working Group’s formal opinion and Mansour’s release, in part because neither the evidence against administrative detainees nor potential reasons for their release are made available, either to the detainees or their lawyers.

Qtaish says that other petitions for the release of administrative detainees were concomitantly submitted to the UN Working Group – but that no one other than Mansour had been released.

According to DCIP, Israeli authorities briefly suspended the practice of detaining Palestinian children under administrative detention orders between 2012 and 2014. However, Qtaish says that DCIP has documented 43 cases of Palestinian children held by Israeli authorities in administrative detention since October 2015, including 17-year-old Amal Nakhleh who suffers a rare autoimmune disorder and who was released last month.

The United Nations has said that administrative detention of children may amount to torture and ill-treatment because of the psychological impact it has on such vulnerable detainees.

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