Israeli authorities indicted Bilal Al Razaina after the statement from the court-appointed psychiatrist that due to psychosocial disability Al Razaina is unfit to stand trial. The charges against Al Razaina—which lack evidentiary support—include membership in a ‘terrorist organization’, the recruitment of members into a ‘terrorist organization’, and possession of a weapon. Unfit to stand trial, Al Razaina must be promptly released into psychiatric care.
Al Razaina, 25, was arrested on 27 November 2016 when he approached the separation fence on Gaza’s northern border with Israel. Al Mezan is the legal representative of Al Razaina.
Shortly after his son’s arrest, Al Razaina’s father informed Al Mezan that his son has a psychosocial disability and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. From 14 January 2016, Al Razaina had been receiving regular treatment at the Abu Shoback Center for Mental Health. One of Al Mezan’s lawyers requested to visit Al Razaina after acquiring power of attorney, but the Israeli authorities denied the victim his right to counsel for sixteen consecutive days.
Al Razaina was admitted by Israeli authorities to a psychiatric care clinic where he spent thirty-three days under the observation and supervision of psychiatrists. A report by the Israeli Mental Health Department regarding Al Razaina’s mental health stated that, “[p]sychological symptoms presented by the person in question are genuine. He has a psychological disorder which is accompanied by delusional thoughts and behaviors. He needs to be admitted into psychiatric care. Therefore, he is unfit to stand trial.” Being unfit to stand trial refers to an individual’s inability to comprehend the charges against them, legal proceedings, or assist the attorney in their defense. The individual must therefore not be presented for prosecution. In the case of Al Razaina, there is additionally no evidence against him that refers to the charges, and any testimony taken from Al Razaina is unreliable given his inability to comprehend the nature of the process in which he is involved.
Al Mezan reaffirms that the indictment and ongoing detention of Al Razaina constitute a serious breach of the rights of people with disability and violates the obligation of Israel as a signatory state to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of 2006, which states in article 14:
Al Mezan asserts that the ongoing detention of Al Razaina, in spite of being unfit to stand trial according to recommendations in Israeli medical reports, is a clear case of arbitrary detention. Al Razaina is being held without legal grounds for the detention, and has been denied basic due process rights such as the right to legal representation. Al Mezan holds Israeli authorities fully responsible for Al Razaina’s life and demands his immediate release into psychiatric care.
Where a slew of violations against Palestinian prisoners and detainees are the norm within the Israeli justice system, Al Mezan reiterates its call on the international community to fulfill international legal obligations towards the individuals in Israel’s control and to pressure Israel to respect the rules of the International Humanitarian Law and the International Human Rights Law.