RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- After 52-year-old Ahmad Muhammad Ahmad Attun was detained in a predawn military raid Wednesday, the number of Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members held in Israeli prisons increased to 13 -- most of whom being held without charge or trial according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies.
The Hamas-affiliated lawmaker was detained from his home in the central occupied West Bank city of al-Bireh, where he moved after being exiled from occupied East Jerusalem in 2010, along with fellow imprisoned parliamentarian Muhammad Abu Tir, PLC member Muhammad Tutah, and former PA Jerusalem minister Khalid Abu Arafeh.
The four were forced out of Jerusalem after the Israeli Interior Ministry had been threatening to deport Hamas-affiliated lawmakers from the city -- under the pretext of disloyalty to the Israeli state -- since Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections in 2006.
Spokesperson of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies Riyad al-Ashqar said that Attun had been previously detained several times, amounting to some 12 years of prison time.
Most recently, Attun was detained in February 2013 and spent 20 months under administrative detention, Israel’s widely condemned policy of internment without charge.
At the time, Israel revoked his Jerusalem ID card and banned him from entering the city, when his two teenage sons Mujahid and Muhammad were also detained. Israeli forces also violently detained
Muhammad last year.
Israeli forces detained at least five MPs in March alone, as rights groups have long accused Israel of arbitrarily detaining Palestinians in an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political and social processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, and journalists.
On March 6, Khalid Tafish and Anwar Zboun, both Hamas-affiliated deputies of the Change and Reform bloc in the PLC, were detained
Days later, Hamas MP Samira al-Halaiqa of the Change and Reform bloc was detained
on International Women’s Day.
According to Palestinian prisoners’ solidarity network Samidoun, Israel’s Ofer military court ordered for al-Halaiqa to be released on a bail of 40,000 NIS (approximately $10,000), but remained imprisoned after an appeal from the military prosecutor. She is facing charges for her political activities, particularly regarding her support of Palestinian political prisoners, according to Samidoun.
Hamas-affiliated PLC member Muhammad al-Tal was detained on March 21
, and subsequently placed in administrative detention. He had previously been detained by Israeli forces on at least three occasions in 2006, 2009, and 2010.
As of January, there were 6,500 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, 536 of them under administrative detention, according to Palestinian prisoners' rights group Addameer.