Hamas West Bank leader jailed by Israel for six months without trial

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Israel on Monday handed down a six-month detention order without trial for a West Bank leader of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, his family and an Israeli intelligence service said.

Hassan Yousef, a co-founder of Hamas, was arrested on April 2 at his home in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club NGO.

He was given a six-month administrative detention order Monday, his family said.

The Israeli Shin Bet intelligence service confirmed the decision.

Yousef had been released from a previous imprisonment in October 2018.

“We condemn this decision. He suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure,” his son Owais said, pointing out he had spent around 20 years in prison.

A co-founder of Hamas and a member of the defunct Palestinian parliament, 64-year-old Yousef has been arrested multiple times by Israel.

The administrative detention system allows Israel to detain prisoners for renewable six-month periods without charge.

Israel says it allows authorities to hold suspects to prevent attacks while continuing to gather evidence, but critics and rights groups say the system is abused.

In total around 500 Palestinians are currently being held under administrative detention orders, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club.

Israel has fought three wars with Hamas in Gaza since 2008 and considers it a terrorist organization.

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