Civil Rights Organization Leader in Administrative Detention

Ariel Groner, one of the leaders of the Honenu legal aid society, has been imprisoned for three months under an administrative detention order signed by Defense Minister Amir Peretz.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz , | updated: 3:31 PM

Groner, responsible for handling prisoner affairs for Honenu, was incarcerated today in Ashkelon's Shikma Prison. Under the legal process of administrative detention, the defense minister ordered Groner jailed without charge or trial.

Generally, administrative detention is meant to foil threats to state security by particular individuals and has been employed frequently against suspected Arab terrorists. In recent years, the state has employed administrative detention also against those suspected of planning actions in protest of unilateral withdrawal policies in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

According to security sources, Groner’s activity "poses a real danger to national security and is a threat to the general public and to the security forces."

Honenu is dedicated to protecting the legal rights of those arrested in the course of defending themselves from Arab terrorism or in the course of nationalist protest activities. The organization issued a statement responding to the detention of Groner, a resident of Yitzhar in Samaria, with direct accusations against Defense Minister Peretz and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

"The prime minister and defense minister have decided, in order to avoid their own problems, to take administrative steps against the [citizens in Judea and Samaria]," the Honenu statement said. "The main reason for this is that they do not recognize the authority of the court to adjudicate based on evidence.

Youth for the Land of Israel, an activist group in favor of a continued Jewish presence in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, said: "Groner's arrest is intended to prepare the groundwork for the coming expulsion - as declared by the prime minister of destruction, Olmert, in recent days - and to silence the voices of those opposed to these dangerous steps."

Right-wing activist Baruch Marzel called for the attention of his political opposites to the ramifications of the administrative detention of the Honenu leader. Marzel said that “the arrest of a person who deals with civil rights should worry not only members of the Right. This is a terrible infringement upon freedom of speech. If there is evidence then they should file an indictment, but if not, then he should be released immediately."

In March, the chairman of Honenu, Shmuel Meidad, was detained and released the same day by police, who took him into custody in his Hevron home. During his interrogation by police, the investigating officer indicated that he was suspected of involvement in an illegal gathering and endangering life on a public thoroughfare in August of 2005. The police then said that Meidad had to deposit his personal weapon with them as a result of the suspicions against him.

Meidad denied the suspicions and noted that he was never previously questioned regarding any such incident. Meidad refused to be fingerprinted or to sign a personal guarantee, and he was unconditionally released thereafter.