Julie Webb-Pullman reports

Prisoners

Gaza civilians demand action from the ICC

Palestinian victims today urged the Prosecutor of the ICC to move her preliminary examination of Palestine into a full investigation, with a complaint drafted by 40 lawyers from the Gaza Bar representing some 50 Palestinian trade unions, associations and civil society organizations plus 448 individual victims. The action was filed with the ICC by Maître Gilles Devers.

Palestinians file lawsuit against Israel at ICC

The procedure concerns three crimes:
– the blockade of Gaza
– the Israeli aggression in the summer of 2014
– the Israeli settlement of Palestine.

At a press conference in The Hague prior to submitting the complaint to the ICC, Mr Devers said that it was time for prosecutor to move the case forward.

“It is two years since Palestine has been under preliminary examination,” he said. “In Gaza, we think two years is too long.”

At a simultaneous press conference in Gaza attended by the lawyers and complainants, Basman AlAshi, Chief Executive of Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital said there is a wealth of evidence available to the Prosecutor.

“All the prosecutor of the ICC needs to open a full investigation is that there is a reasonable basis for believing that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court have been committed. The destruction of Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital, a protected place under the Geneva Convention, provides that basis. So do the attacks on Al Aqsa, Durrah and Beit Hanoun Hospitals.”

Dr Mariam Abu Daqqa described the treatment of women prisoners in Israeli detention, from being arbitrarily detained to torture, being deprived of contact with their children, and appalling living conditions. She also noted the huge number of child prisoners, and the failure of Israeli authorities to accord them even the most minimum standards of treatment demanded by international conventions.

Lawyer Mahmoud Afana emphasised the illegality of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, which breaches several aspects of international law, such as the right to self-determination, as well as many of the rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Afana described the ten-year siege of Gaza as collective punishment which constitutes “… a genocidal humanitarian crisis happening in full view of the world.”

Rana Shubeir, speaking on behalf of civil society and young people, said that they are sick of living a life of fear:
fear of being denied travel for study or medical treatment, fear of another aggression, fear of never finding a job in “this black hole of deprivation and suffering.”

“We only want to enjoy the basic human rights which are guaranteed under international and humanitarian law. We want to live knowing that the future of our children will be as bright as their innocent smiles. The only way this can be achieved is through the application of justice – and that is all we ask from the ICC – apply the rules, and open a full investigation into Palestine,” she said.

Gilles Devers emphasised that this action is just the beginning of a long struggle, noting they are well-organized and determined.

He said the group was also hoping to persuade the ICC to open a full investigation “as a matter of urgency” into the situation in East Jerusalem, where Israeli authorities are imposing severe restrictions on and around Al Aqsa Mosque, and violently attacking Palestinians protesting their repressive actions against the third most holy site in islam.

“Justice is the response to violence. We call for the strengthening of this legal action. This action must be intensified. Our strength is the determination of the Palestinian people to defend their rights.”


27th Anniversary: Hamas is from the Palestinian people, and for Palestine

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Hamas in Nuseirat Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

Hamas in Nuseirat Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

“Hamas leaders come from the people,” senior official Dr Salah Al Bardawil told a huge crowd who took to the streets Friday in Nuseirat camp, Gaza, to celebrate 27 years since the birth of the Hamas movement.

“Hamas does not seek power or government, just Palestine’s liberation,” he said. (more…)


New Zealand joins “Friday of Anger” for Palestinian prisoners

Members of NZ's Mulsim community rally in Wellington for Palestinian prisoners

Members of NZ’s Mulsim community rally in Wellington for Palestinian prisoners

On the other side of the world from Palestine, in New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington, several members of the local Muslim community braved the freezing cold on Friday night to hold a vigil in Civic Square calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. (more…)


100 Palestinian prisoners on mass hunger strike

hungryuntilfreedom

ALRAY

Occupied Palestine – More than 100 Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons are still on hunger strike for the fifth day in a row, protesting their indefinite administrative detention by Israeli occupation.

Director of Ahrar Centre for Prisoners and Human Rights Studies, Fuad al-Khafash, said Monday that the Israeli occupation has continued assaulting the hunger strikers and tried to stop their strike. (more…)


Letter from an Israeli dungeon

#‎FreeShireenIssawi‬

Shireen Issawi

On Wednesday 23rd April 2014 Inminds received a short letter from Shireen Issawi, written in her cell in Israel’s infamous HaSharon prison. Its content was revealed by her lawyer.

Shireen Issawi was abducted by the Israeli occupation on 6th March 2014. As a human right lawyer she has been a strong advocate for prisoners rights, a thorn against the occupation. They interrogating her for 22 days at Israel’s notorious G4S secured torture den – the Russian Compound in Jerusalem. Everyday she had to endure 16 hours of interrogation, forced in to stress positions which have left severe pain in her back. Between interrogation sessions she was caged in solitary confinement with no access to a lawyer or contact with other prisoners.

When she didn’t confess to their trumped up charges they finally transferred her to the filthy rat infested dungeon at HaSharon, also secured by G4S.

Shireen Issawi’s letter was read aloud outside the headquarters of G4S in London on 25th April 2014:

I am a lawyer, I have the right and duty to defend our prisoners. To stand for their rights is not unlawful. Although I have been busy recently focusing on completing my Masters thesis, they arrested me. The real reason for my arrest is that the occupation wants to intimidate lawyers from performing their duty in the service of our prisoners. They will not succeed, I dedicate my life for the cause of our prisoners and will not stop fighting for their freedom until all our prisoners are released. ~ Shireen Issawi


Palestinian Administrative Detainees To Hold Hunger Strike

Al Qassam Information Office

Occupied Palestine – The Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies and Human Rights has reported that Palestinian political prisoners, held by Israeli occupation under arbitrary Administrative Detention without charges or trial, have decided to go ahead and start their hunger strike on Thursday, April 24, 2014.

Ahrar said the detainees would be holding the “Freedom Revolution Strike 2014” to protest their illegal detention, and that all administrative detainees, of all factions, will be part of the strike.

The detainees issued a statement revealing that contacts have been made to ensure all administrative detainees will start their strike Thursday.

The planned strike was coordinated between various detained political leaders, including detainee Abbas As-Sayyed of Hamas, and Fateh official and legislator, Marwan Barghouthi.

The committee organizing the strike said the move could eventually turn into a comprehensive strike that includes all detainees held by Israeli occupation.

The detainees called on local media outlets to support them, and to inform the world of their suffering and ongoing violations carried out against them.

One of the main demands, which was on the list of every previous strike, is an end to the illegitimate and arbitrary Israeli police of Administrative Detention, and to allow the Red Cross and their lawyers to visit them during their strikes.

The detainees said Administrative Detention is illegal, and Israeli must stop completely stop it.

Also among the demands of the detainees, including Administrative Detainees, is a stop to all violations and attacks against them, attacks against the visiting family members, granting the detainees access to education and proper medical attention, and various demands guaranteed by International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.


Palestinian Prisoners’ Day: May the eyes of the coward never rest

Tawfiq Abu Naim at Soraya

Tawfiq Abu Naim at Soraya

Thousands of people today converged on Soraya, site of the Gaza Central prison destroyed during the November 2012 Israeli offensive, and now the site to celebrate the indomitable spirit of Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

April 17th was designated Palestinian Political Prisoners’ Day by the Palestinian National Council in 1974. It also marks the assassinations of two Palestinian political leaders – Fateh leader Khalil Al Wazir on 16 April 1988 and Dr Abdul-Aziz Al Rantisi of Hamas on 17 April 2004.

Members of all factions and none gathered to hear speeches, view exhibits of handcrafts and photos produced by prisoners in Israeli jails, and later to march on the International Committee for the Red Cross. (more…)