NEW YORK - August 5 - Israel should immediately release `Abd al- Latif Gheith, a prominent rights activist now being held without charge in a military detention camp, Human Rights Watch said today. In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Human Rights Watch said that if Mr. Gheith was suspected of violating any laws, the government should file charges in a court that meets international standards for fair trials.
Gheith, 63 years old and board chairman of Addameer, a prisoner support organization based in Ramallah, was detained on July 29 after security officials questioned him at a military checkpoint about Addameer's activities and staff. On August 4, Israel's deputy military commander issued an order detaining Gheith without charge for six months on unspecified grounds of "endangering security."
"Abd al-Latif Gheith shouldn't be harassed and punished simply for actively promoting people's basic rights," said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division. "He should be freed immediately unless the government can demonstrate that he has violated some law."
Ghaith is one of the founders of Addameer, which began its work in 1992. He is a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shufat, but was detained under military regulations governing residents of the occupied West Bank. He has also been active in campaigns against Israel's construction of a "separation barrier" in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israel is presently holding around 750 Palestinians without charge under administrative detention orders.
The letter can be found at: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/08/05/isrlpa9196.htm