By Guillaume Lavallee
Palestinian teenager Amal Nakhleh’s first name means “hope” in Arabic, but his parents are in despair because he is chronically ill and one of the few minors Kidnapped without charge by Israel.
“Since his arrest last year I have only seen him twice, including last week when he told me he wanted to go on hunger strike,” journalist Moammar Nakhleh said of his 17-year-old son.
“This scares me because he is already very weak,” from myasthenia, a rare neuromuscular disease, and underwent surgery in 2020 to have a tumour removed from his rib cage, Nakhleh said.
Israeli authorities accuse Amal of throwing stones at soldiers and have held him for a year in administrative detention. The practice allows for suspects to be detained without charge for renewable six-month terms while investigations are ongoing.
Amal faces a new hearing Monday, and his father is worried that his detention could be renewed.
Administrative detention has been criticised by the Palestinians, human rights groups and foreign governments, who charge that Israeli occupation abuses it.
Amal’s predicament dates back to November 2020 when he was arrested by Israeli authorities in the occupied West Bank.
A football fan, he was out with friends after recovering from his cancer surgery, his family said.
Amal was held for 40 days but then set free by an Israeli judge.
“At the hearing, a representative of the security forces said they had a ‘file’ against him and would seek administrative detention,” Amal’s father recalled.
“The judge asked them to provide him with the incriminating file,” which they failed to, prompting the judge to free Amal.
But in January last year, he was re-arrested and placed in administrative detention, which has since been twice renewed.
The UN refugee agency UNRWA has taken up Amal’s case with the Israeli occupation authorities.
“We are demanding his immediate release from administrative detention for two reasons: his medical condition which is incredibly serious… and he is a minor,” UNRWA’s West Bank chief, Gwyn Lewis, said.
“We have written several times and followed up but there has never been any information on why he was arrested.”
Moammar Nakhleh fears that Amal’s detention will be renewed again on Monday.
“I am scared that if his detention is renewed, I will not see him for a long time,” he said at the family home in Al-Jalazun refugee camp.
(Source / 09.01.2022)