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Terrorism & Preventive Detention: The Case of Israel

- Abstract

Fawzi al-Asmar is a thirty-one year-old Arab citizen of Israel.He used to write his poems at home in Lydda near the Tel Aviv International Airport. Now he writes them in Damon Prison overlooking Haifa Bay.

Fawzi is one of twenty-three Israeli Arabs being held in preventive detention by the Israeli military authorities. As practiced in Israel, preventive detention* is different from the law of the same name recently proposed by President Nixon and enacted by Congress. The American law authorizes the pre-trial confinement of criminal defendants thought likely to commit serious crimes between the time of their arrest and their trial. The Israeli law permits the imprisonment-with- out limit of time-of “any person” whose confinement is deemed “necessary or expedient . . .for securing the public safety, the defense of Palestine, the maintenance of public order, or the suppression of mutiny, rebellion, or riot.” Though different in purpose and in effect, both laws have an important element in common: they permit the detention of persons who have not been convicted of any crime.

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