MEP CALLS ON EU TO ACT ON PALESTINIAN’S DETENTION
PALESTINIAN parliamentarian Hussam Khader must be released under a full
review of Israel’s unjust and controversial system of military justice,
according to MEP Caroline Lucas.
Dr Lucas, whose comments were made in a letter to the European Commission
urging it to intervene in Mr Khader’s case, said international standards
were not met by the much-criticised Military Court System.
“Observers, including the Inter-Parliamentary Union, have expressed their
serious concerns that international guarantees that defendants receive a
fair trial were being flouted by Israel’s military tribunals, and in Mr
Khader’s case in particular.
“Mr Khader has been sentenced to seven years in detention, during which time
he has suffered ‘disappearances’ and torture – all on the say so of one
witness, who gave evidence in secret to a judicial bench consisting solely
of serving Israeli army officers.”
“The Military Court system must be brought into line with international
standards immediately, and Mr Khader must be released unless there is any
genuine evidence that he has committed a crime. I have asked the European
Commission to intervene in this case and I await an answer which will show
clearly whether the Commission favours protecting its relationship with the
Israeli authorities over the protection of international human rights.”
Mr Khader, a campaigner for the rights of Palestinian refugees, believes
Israel’s government is attempting to silence him with unlawful imprisonment.
He has already served two-and-a-half years of his sentence.
Dr Lucas, Green Party Euro-MP for South-East England, is a member of the
European Parliament’s delegation to the occupied Palestinian Territories,
and visited the West Bank as an official observer in last year’s
presidential election. She has in the past called on the EU to suspend its
‘Association Agreement’ which governs Israeli access to EU markets over its
repeated failure to respect the human rights of both Palestinians and
She added: “A peaceful future for the Middle East requires all involved to
fully respect human rights and the rule of law – including the rights of
Palestinians to assemble, move feely, participate in democracy and enjoy
access to a fair judicial system.
“These rights are being challenged by Israel’s ‘security barrier’, its
attempted disenfranchisement of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and,
as this case shows, its Military Court system.”