Israel holding 21 Lebanese as chips
By Moshe Reinfeld
Haaretz, Dec 21, 1999
Defense officials have confirmed that Israel is holding 21 Lebanese citizens in administrative detention for use as bargaining chips in securing the release of Israeli captives.
Until now, it had been impermissible to publish the number of Lebanese citizens being held; any information about the number was based on foreign press sources. The defense authorities still refuse to disclose how long each prisoner has been held, stating only that it has been longer than a year.
Zviya Gross, legal adviser to the Defense Ministry, informed Dan Yakir, attorney for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), of the decision to make the number of detainees public and said that the Lebanese detainees are the only administrative detainees held today by the defense minister's decree.
Nine Supreme Court justices are expected soon to hand down their decision on the request of the Lebanese detainees for a reexamination of the 2-year-old verdict that confirmed the legality of their detention. That verdict determined that the defense minister is authorized to keep an individual in administrative detention in order to use that person as a bargaining chip. The ACRI claims such detention is immoral, illegal and that the Supreme Court is rubber-stamping the imprisonment of an innocent person and the use of that person as a bargaining chip.
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