Julie Webb-Pullman reports

Posts tagged “Israeli Jails

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


Renewed Administrative Detention of MP El Natsha denounced

PLC member Muhammad Jamal El Natsha

PLC member Muhammad Jamal El Natsha

PRESS RELEASE

The International Campaign for Releasing the Abducted MPs denounces the third renewal of the administrative detention of Palestinian Legislative Council member Muhammad Jamal El Natsha.

El Natsha, a 55 year old from Hebron city, had already spent over 17 years in Israeli prisons before his re-abduction on 27 March 2013, and suffers from ill-health, including chronic chest and kidney problems.

The Campaign considers that the policy of renewing administrative detention against MPs breaches both humanitarian and legal norms.

The Campaign points out that nine MPs belonging to the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc are currently subjected to this policy. Three of them, Jaber El Foqahaa, Muhammad El Ramahi, and Yaser Mansour have also had their administrative detention renewed.

Renewal of the administrative detention of MPs is a flagrant violation of the basic rules of democracy and international law.

The International Campaign holds the Israeli authorities accountable for the life of El Natsha, given his deteriorating health, and calls for urgent steps to be taken by all international legal, parliamentary and political institutions to immediately end this policy, and ensure his immediate release.


The International Campaign For Freeing PLC Members
Email:- FreePLC2009@gmail.com


PALESTINIAN PRISONERS DAY: AL-ISSAWI NEXT TO DIE?

PRESS RELEASE
MAD – Media Activists for Detainees

Will Samer Al-Issawi die in an Israeli jail, just like Maysara AbuHamdiya? Or will the international community move today, the International Day for Palestinian Prisoners, to save his life?

GAZA CITY — These are the questions today preying on the minds of 32 sick Palestinians in Israeli jails. Along with, “Which of us will be next?”

Maysara AbuHamdiya, a prisoner for over ten years, died this month following lack of timely medical treatment for throat cancer. Samer Al-Issawi faces imminent heart failure after more than 270 days hunger striking in protest against Israel’s policy of administration detention, and inhumane conditions in Israeli jails.

“My health has deteriorated greatly but I will continue my hunger strike until victory or martyrdom. This is my last remaining stone to throw…” Al-Issawi said in his last letter from prison.

Palestinian Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees reports that as at 31 March 2013 there were 1,200 sick Palestinians prisoners inside Israeli jails, 14 of whom have cancer and 18 of whom are confined in the Ramle Prison Clinic.

Israel shows no signs of introducing minimum standards of medical care anytime soon. In a report titled The Palestinian Prisoners Hunger Strikes of 2012 Physicians For Human Rights-Israel made recommendations regarding the urgent need to transfer prison medical services from the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) to the Ministry of Health, due to the dilemmas of dual loyalty of IPS medical staff and the primacy given to political and security considerations at the expense of prisoners’ health and well-being. It is not to be.

In response to their recommendations, “…the Ministry maintained that supervision and control over the medical services of prisoners would remain under the auspices of the IPS, thereby thwarting our request…” Physicians For Human Rights-Israel stated on their website this week.

Thus despite the best efforts of even local Israeli human rights groups, the dire situation for ailing Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails remains unchanged.

Will Al-Issawi be the 204th Palestinian to die in Israeli custody since 1967? Or will the International Day for Palestinians Prisoners spur the international community into snatching him from the jaws of death?

Issued by: MAD – Media Activists for Detainees, Gaza
Contact:madinfo@hushmail.com

###

About MAD

Who is MAD? We are! We are Media Activists for Detainees, a collective of young Gazans who are MAD about the use of administrative detention by Israeli authorities to imprison Palestinians without charge. We are MAD about the torture to which our brothers and sisters are subjected during interrogation. We are MAD about the conditions under which they are held in Israeli jails, from lack of timely and adequate medical treatment, to years of solitary confinement, rotten food, strip searches of both detainees and visiting family members, violent midnight cell-raids, random beatings, and the with-holding of family visits.

We are MAD, and we are dangerous – but only to those who with-hold basic human rights from detainees in Israeli jails – and only by exposing their abuses to the world.


Palestinian Detainee Death: We are all Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh

By Julie Webb-Pullman

Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh died today shackled to his hospital bed, the latest victim of Israel’s cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment of Palestinian detainees.

Suffering from cancer since at least August 2012, he was not told of his diagnosis – or given any treatment other than painkillers and flu injections – until March 2013, when he was finally commenced on chemotherapy. This treatment might have had some chance of helping him if it had been administered early enough – but it did not begin until the cancer had already metastasised to his spine…then it was suspended ‘for the Jewish holidays,’ according to his lawyer Rami al-Alami.

Such blatant breaches of both medical ethics and human rights norms are both scandalous, and scandalously common.

The litany of medical neglect by Israeli Prison Services (IPS), which many ex-prisoners describe as a deliberate punitive policy by medical personnel in league with the Israeli prison authorities, is demonstrable in the 200+ prisoners who have died whilst in Israeli custody – 51 of them from medical negligence – and those who have died soon after release.

The latter include Hayel Abu-Zaid, Sitan Al-Wali, Murad Abu-Sakoot, Fayez Ziyadat, Zakariya Eissa Daud, Zuhair Labadah, and Ashraf Abu-Thurai’a who died in January 2013.

Palestinian Minister of Detainees’ and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs Dr Attallah Abu Elsebah has released numerous press statements over recent years advising of the medical negligence being suffered by more than 1000 of the 4500+ Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails. They currently include some 18 prisoners permanently resident in the Israeli Prison Service’s Medical Center (IMC) in Ramleh Prison suffering from life-threatening or malignant diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and kidney failure, and 85 disabled prisoners with mobility, mental, and sensory disabilities.

Israel’s own human rights and medical experts decry the practices of their prison authorities. Physicians for Human Rights–Israel reports that the Ramleh IMC operates with virtually no supervision, medical or otherwise, and is characterized by inadequate medical care, non-medical staff intervening in treatment, problems in transferring patients to outside institutions, neglect in cases of disability and rehabilitation, threats against patients that have filed complaints, and inadequate sanitation and living conditions. [1]

“The IPS, the main entity responsible for the custody of incarcerated persons, goes to great lengths to prevent outside inspections. The IPS does not allow open tours of its facilities, and only permits pre-coordinated visits with attorneys or doctors with individual prisoners, during which the attorney or doctors may not visit a prisoner’s cell in order to assess the conditions of incarceration,” they report on their website.

A Council for European Palestinian Relations description of the conditions for Palestinian detainees stated that health examinations are conducted through a fence, and any necessary surgery or transfer to hospital for additional medical treatment is usually postponed for long periods of time. [2]

“Demands made by Israeli organisations to provide health care to detainees have consistently been refused, in addition to petitions made by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),” they add.

Right to health care in prisons

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) has been deemed by the Human Rights Committee to protect the rights of prisoners to health care through Article 6 guaranteeing the right to life, the Article 7 prohibition that ‘no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’, and Article 10 guaranteeing the right to humane treatment of prisoners. These articles have led the Committee to hold that ‘adequate’ or ‘appropriate and timely medical care must be available to all detainees.’ [3]

The Committee has also held that ‘free access to doctors’ should be guaranteed in practice, immediately after arrest and during all stages of detention. [4]

In fact the Human Rights Committee found a violation of Article 6, the right to life, in a very similar case to that of Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh. In Lanstova versus Russia, a man died in prison because of the failure of the prison authorities to take appropriate medical measures when his health dangerously deteriorated. [5]

How does Israel get away with it?

Whilst Israel has ratified the main human rights conventions, including the ICCPR, it is not a party to any of the Optional Protocols other than Children in Armed Conflicts, nor has it accepted the jurisdiction of any of the treaty body committees.

Specifically, Israel has not signed the First Optional Protocol of the ICCPR, thus complaints against Israel cannot be received by, or acted on, by the Committee.

Rogue State
How ironic that Israel is able to continue to be a member state of the United Nations, claiming all of the benefits of protection for itself under international law, while accepting none of the accompanying obligations and responsibilities towards others, particularly Palestinian detainees – and while Palestine itself cannot even achieve full recognition as a state.

One might wonder why a state that has breached over 80 UN resolutions, including the United Nations Charter itself at least 22 times, is left to continue ‘business as usual’ against Palestinian detainees –three of whom have already died this year – and is never held to account. Is the UN showing unmistakable signs of its advancing age, and heading for total impotence, and irrelevance?

Noam Chomsky has defined a rogue state as “a state that defies international laws and conventions, does not consider itself bound by the major treaties and conventions, World Court decisions — in fact, anything except the interests of its own leadership, the forces around the leadership that dominate policy.” [6]

Regardless of the impotence of the UN system to enforce international law, particularly in the face of the US power of veto that would inevitably be used should any attempt be made to oust Israel from their hallowed halls, the international community of states has no other moral choice but to act, and to act immediately, to rein in the rogue state of Israel, and force it, as they did apartheid South Africa, to act in accordance with the fundamental rights and principles that define world citizenship – mutual respect, and self-determination.

To do any less is to critically undermine not only the human rights system and its basis in universality, indivisibility, and interdependence, but also the very foundations of civilisation.

Because ultimately, we are all Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh.

[1] http://www.phr.org.il/default.asp?PageID=114
[2] http://thecepr.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=116%3Apalestinian-prisoners-in-israel&catid=6%3Amemos&Itemid=34
[3] HRC, Concluding Observations, Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea, ICCPR, A/56/40 vol. 1 (2001) 98 at para. 86(16); HRC, Concluding Observations, Portugal, ICCPR, A/58/40 vol. 1 (2003) 56 at para. 83(11); HRC, Concluding Observations, Kenya, ICCPR, A/60/40 vol. 1 (2005) 44 at para. 86(19)
[4] HRC, Concluding Observations, Ukraine, ICCPR, A/57/40 vol. I (2002) 32 at para. 74(15).
Cf. HRC, Concluding Observations, Benin, ICCPR, A/60/40 vol. I (2004) 30 at para. 83(17).
[5] Lanstova v The Russian Federation Communication No 763/1999, UN Doc CCPR/C/74/D/763/1997 (2002).
[6] http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/200105–.htm


14 Palestinian and Israeli Organisations Condemn Lack of Accountability for Torture of Palestinian Detainees

PRESS RELEASE
Al Haq

Friday, 01 March 2013 Ref.: 44/2013

The Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC), along with Adalah, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, express their outrage at the death of Arafat Jaradat, 30, which, according to the autopsy report of Dr Saber al-‘Aloul, Director of the Palestinian Medico-legal Institute, was caused by torture and ill-treatment inflicted while in Israeli custody. The preliminary autopsy, to which there are links below, found that Arafat displayed severe bruising on his upper back, deep bruising along the spine, and significant bruising on both sides of the chest. The postmortem also discovered bruising on both arms and inside the mouth, blood around the nose and three fractured ribs. In addition, the examination discounted the claim by the Israeli authorities that Arafat died of a heart attack. His heart was completely healthy and there was no evidence of damage or weakness of any kind. The report concludes that all injuries were the result of very recent, severe and direct torture. The undersigned organisations reiterate the demands made by UN representatives for an immediate international investigation into the death of Arafat Jaradat with a view to holding those responsible for his death accountable.

Arafat Jaradat was arrested on 18 February on suspicion of throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at settlers and was transferred to al-Jalameh prison where he confessed to throwing stones but denied any involvement with firebombs. On 21 February, his lawyer, Mr. Kamil Sabbagh, reported that Arafat was suffering from severe pain in his back and appeared to be psychologically and physically weak after three days under interrogation. According to Mr. Sabbagh, Arafat also expressed strong fear at the prospect of returning to interrogation when his detention order was extended by 12 days. After a request from Mr. Sabbagh, the Israeli military judge ordered that a full physical and psychological examination of Arafat be carried out, the results of which were to be presented to the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) and the court. It is unclear if this medical examination ever took place. If it did, the results of the exam should be disclosed. If it did not, the Israeli authorities must explain why this order was not complied with.

The absolute prohibition against torture is a peremptory norm of international law and “has now become one of the most fundamental standards of the international community”[1]. Since 2001, there have been more than 750 complaints of torture and ill-treatment against the ISA. Not one complaint has resulted in a criminal investigation. Indeed, given that all complaints are reviewed by the Inspector of Interrogee Complaints, who is himself an ISA agent, it is a process that guarantees the absence of credible and impartial investigations. The fact that the Israeli Attorney General has ratified each recommendation not to investigate is further evidence of the institutional impunity which shields the ISA and those who commit torture in Israeli prisons.

Article 12 of UN Convention Against Torture, of which Israel is a State Party, obliges States to perform prompt and impartial investigations in all alleged incidents of torture. Torture is also considered a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and is further listed as both a crime against humanity and a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. In addition, torture has permissive universal jurisdiction according to customary international law, which allows any State to prosecute those accused of torture, regardless of their nationality.

However, in 1999, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruling in the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel v The State of Israel contributed significantly to the current climate of impunity, shielding those who commit torture. While the Court affirmed that the practice of torture was prohibited, it also held that such prohibition would not apply in cases of “necessity”, leaving room for the use of extreme measures in arbitrarily-defined situations, in blatant contradiction to the jus cogens status of the absolute prohibition of torture. The ruling effectively allowed for the continuing use of torture by affirming that an Israeli official charged with torture would not be criminally liable by virtue of the “necessity defence”, which can legitimise the use of “physical pressure” in certain circumstances.

In 2009, the UN Committee Against Torture reiterated its call on Israel to remove ‘necessity’ as a justification for the crime of torture as well as calling for all interrogations to be recorded on film. These demands have been ignored. In short, while torture is a crime that the international community maintains cannot be allowed to go unpunished, in Israel both the High Court of Justice and the Attorney General contribute to the lack of accountability that pervades the Israeli judicial system. Unless this culture of impunity is challenged, Palestinians in Israeli prisons will continue to be victims of torture and ill-treatment with regularity.

Arafat’s death is symptomatic of the utter disregard with which Israel holds the lives of Palestinian prisoners. Since the beginning of the occupation in 1967, 203 Palestinians have died in Israeli detention centres. At least 71 of these died as a direct result of torture.[2] One hundred and seventy eight Palestinians are being held in administrative detention without charge or trial or any access to the information upon which their detention is based. Presently, ten Palestinians are engaged in hunger strikes in protest against their detention. Tarek Qa’adan and Jafar Azzidine, who spent more than 90 days on hunger strike and are in critical condition, have suspended their strikes for a week ahead of a court hearing on 6 March in the hope that their detention orders will be dismissed. Both men had their administrative detention orders renewed for another three months on Friday 22 February.

In light of the above, the undersigned organisations call for the following steps to be taken:

– An international investigation into all complaints of torture by Israeli forces must be carried out, followed by effective accountability for those responsible and redress for victims;
– All ISA interrogations of Palestinians must be subject to video recording, in line with the recommendations of the Turkel Commission;
– Given that Israel does not offer due process or a fair trial to Palestinian prisoners, all administrative detainees should be promptly released;
– The UN Committee Against Torture and Third States should pressure Israel to adopt adequate criminal legislation to define and penalise torture under domestic Israeli law;
– The European Parliament must promptly activate the parliamentary fact-finding mission that includes members of its Subcommittee on Human Rights to investigate the conditions of detention and interrogation of Palestinians detained by Israel;
– The EU parliamentary fact-finding mission must include an investigation into Israel’s illegal practice of administrative detention and the use of the “Unlawful Combatant Law”;
– All hunger strikers in advanced stages must be moved immediately to civilian hospitals where they can receive the appropriate standard of care without being shackled;
– Immediate intervention from the IPS to provide all hunger strikers with unrestricted access to independent doctors;
– All hunger strikers should be allowed family visits;
– UN Member States should urgently put pressure on Israel to end its policy of arbitrary detention and to abide by the standard rules for the treatment of prisoners adopted in 1955, which set out what is generally accepted as being decent principle and practice in the treatment of prisoners.

Preliminary Autopsy Report

Original Arabic report
Unofficial English translation of report

[1] Prosecutor v Furundžija (Judgment, Trial Chamber) ICTY-95-17/1 (10 December 1998), para. 59.

[2] Data on file with Addameer.

SIGNATORY ORGANISATIONS:
Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minorities in Israel

Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association
Sahar Francis
General Director

Aldameer Association for Human Rights
Khalil Abu Shammala
General Director

PCHRS

Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies
Iyad Barghouti
General Director

Al-Haq
Shawan Jabarin
General Director

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
Issam Younis
General Director

Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
Najwa Darwish
General Director

Defence for Children International
Palestine Section
Rifat Kassis
General Director

Ensan Center for Human Rights and Democracy
Shawqi Issa
General Director

Hurryyat – Centre for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights
Helmi Al-araj
General Director

Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights
Issam Aruri
General Director

Public Committe Against Torture

Physicians for Human Rights – Israel

Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling
Maha Abu Dayyeh
General Director


Video

ADDAMEER: HUNGER STRIKES ESCALATE

PRESS RELEASE
ADDAMEER Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
26 February 2012

HUNGER STRIKES ESCALATE: 12 Detainees on Hunger Strike, some nearing death as the Israeli Prison Service denies Addameer’s lawyers visitation rights

Occupied Ramallah, 26 February 2013 – Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association can confirm that the number of prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli Occupation’s jails has increased to twelve.

Detainee Ayman Sharawna (36 years old) from Dura Al Khalil: Sharawna started his hunger strike on 1 July 2012 in protest of his re-arrest under Article 186 of Military Order 1651. This law allows a special military commission to effectively “cancel the early release” of prisoners who were released in the prisoners exchange deal. In Sharwana’s case, this means that he can be sentenced to serve the remaining 28 years of his sentence.

Sharawna briefly suspended his hunger strike in December 2012 at the promise of a court hearing to resolve his case. He resumed his hunger strike on 17 January 2013 after learning that the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) deceived him in their promise. He is currently in isolation in Ayalon Prison in Beer al-Saba’, and is subjected to harsh and degrading treatment by the IPS and the special forces.

On 20 February 2013, the Israeli Supreme Court considered an appeal in Sharawna’s name regarding Article 186 of Military Order 1651. The court decided to return the case to the Military Commission to make a decision, before it can be raised again in the Supreme Court.

Detainee Samer Al-Issawi (33 years old) from Issawiya, Jerusalem: Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) re-arrested Issawi on 7 July 2012. He has been on a hunger strike intermittently for over 200 days in protest of his arbitrary re-arrest. Issawi is a recently released ex-prisoner who was released in the latest prisoner exchange deal on 18 October 2011. He suffers from a severe decrease in weight as his weight hovers around 45 kilograms, a 23 kg decrease since his arrest. Issawi is not strong enough to move on his own and has to use a wheelchair. He recently escalated his hunger strike and stopped drinking water.

On 21 February 2013, the Israeli Magistrate Court sentenced Issawi to eight months as of the day of his arrest, on the grounds that he violated a military order by entering the West Bank. This ruling is in addition to a forthcoming sentencing by the Military Commission under Article 186 of Military Order 1651 which will consider if Issawi will be sentenced to complete his previous sentence of 20 years.

Administrative Detainees Jafar Azzidine (41 years old) and Tarek Qa’adan (40 years old), from Araba, Jenin: Azzidine and Qa’adan started their hunger strike on 28 November 2012, in protest of their administrative detention orders. On 24 February 2013, they were transferred from Ramleh Prison Clinic to Asaf Harove Hospital as their health condition seriously deteriorated due to their refusal to drink water. They were scheduled to have hearings today in Ofer Military Court to confirm their renewed administrative detention orders for an addition three months beginning on 22 February 2013. The court hearing was postponed until tomorrow (27 February 2013) and will be held in the hospital due to their fragile health condition and their inability to move.

Eight additional detainees announced their joining of the hunger strike. They are:

Detainee Mona Qa’adan from Araba, Jenin: Qa’adan entered a hunger strike on 20 February 2013 in support of her detained brother, Tarek Qa’adan, who is also on hunger strike. It is reported that she is currently in isolation as punishment for having joined the hunger strike.

Prisoner Maher Abdellatif Younis, the longest serving Palestinian prisoner in the Occupation’s jails: Younis began his hunger strike on 24 February
2013 and is currently in Gilboa Prison. He announced his strike with the goal of shedding light on the issue of pre-Oslo prisoners (who currently number 109), and the necessity of their release en masse without appeal. Younis (54 years old) is from the town of ‘Ara in the “Triangle” region in northern Palestine, and has spent over 30 years behind bars.

Administrative detainee Hazem Al-Tawil, resident of the city of Al-Khalil (Hebron): He entered an open hunger strike on 20 February 2013 after one day of detention in protest of the issuing of a six-month administrative detention order against him. He is currently in an isolation cell in Ofer Prison. It is noteworthy that Al-Tawil previously spent a year and a half in prison on the basis of administrative detention orders.

Detainee Samer Al-Barq (38 years old) from Jayyous, Qalqilia: The military prosecuter proceeded to renew an order of administrative detention against him last Sunday 24 February 2013, for a period of three months. The detainee undertook a number of hunger strikes in the past years and has been administratively detained since July 2010. He currently languishes behind bars in Hadarim Prison.

Addameer learned that detained Younis Al-Hroub announced a hunger strike in protest of his administrative detention. Prisoners Ayman Saker, Sofian Rabie and Omar Dar Ayyoub announced an open hunger strike in support of the other striking prisoners.

Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association expresses its concern for the lives of hunger striking prisoners and detainees and maintains that the just solution for the issue of striking prisoners lies in the meeting of their demands and the treatment of all Palestinian detainees in accordance with international humanitarian law, particularly the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions and other conventions of international human rights law.

Addameer calls on the Arab Republic of Egypt to work seriously on releasing all prisoners freed in the prisoners exchange deal and on forcing the Occupying State to cancel Article 186 of Military Order 1651, which authorizes the detention of freed prisoners.

Addameer condemns the decision of the Israeli Prison Service to forbid lawyers from visiting detainees and prisoners on hunger strike. Addameer considers this to be the latest installment in a series of abuses faced by the organization and its staff in an attempt to silence their voices and undermine their determination to support the fight for justice and freedom for prisoners, and the end of the occupation.

ACT NOW!

*Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand the release of the prisoners on hunger strike.

Brigadier General Danny Efroni
Military Judge Advocate General
6 David Elazar Street
Harkiya, Tel Aviv
Israel
Fax: +972 3 608 0366; +972 3 569 4526
Email: arbel@mail.idf.il; avimn@idf.gov.il
Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon
OC Central Command Nehemia Base, Central Command
Neveh Yaacov, Jerusalam
Fax: +972 2 530 5741
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak
Ministry of Defense
37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
Fax: +972 3 691 6940 / 696 2757
Col. Eli Bar On
Legal Advisor of Judea and Samaria PO Box 5
Beth El 90631
Fax: +972 2 9977326

*Write to your own elected representatives urging them to pressure Israel to release the hunger strikers.


Gaza’s lawyers take to the streets for Jaradat

DSC04244d

Gazan judges and lawyers marched through the city to Al Jundy, demanding justice – read about it here in Alray Online

and watch the video below


Video

Dr Attallah Abu Elsebah on Palestinian detainees

Minister for Detainees’ Affairs in Gaza describes some of Israel’s abuses of detainees’ rights, and international law.


Israel: UN expert calls for the immediate release of three Palestinian detainees on hunger strike held without charges

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

PRESS RELEASE

GENEVA (13 February 2013) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Richard Falk today called for the immediate release of three Palestinian detainees held without charges by Israel. Mr. Falk expressed deep concern for the fate of Tarek Qa’adan and Jafar Azzidine, who are on their 78th day of hunger strike, and Samer Al-Issawi, who has been on partial hunger strike for over 200 days.

“Continuing to hold Mr. Qa’adan, Mr Azzidine and Mr. Al-Issawi under these conditions is inhumane. Israel is responsible for any permanent harm,” warned the independent expert designated by the Human Rights Council to monitor and report on Israeli rights violations in Palestine. “If Israeli officials cannot present evidence to support charges against these men, then they must be released immediately.”

“Mr. Qa’adan and Mr. Azzidine are reportedly on the verge of death, with the threat of a fatal heart attack looming,” the expert noted, recalling that both men were arrested on 22 November 2012 and began their hunger strikes on 28 November, after being sentenced to administrative detention for a period of three months. They were transferred to Assaf Harofi Hospital near Tel Aviv on 24 January 2013 after their conditions deteriorated sharply.

This is the second time that Mr. Azzidine and Mr. Qa’adan have undertaken hunger strikes against administrative detention, since they took part in the mass hunger strike of Palestinians from 17 April to 14 May 2012. Mr. Qa’adan had been released after 15 months of detention on 8 July 2012 and Mr. Azzidine had been released on 19 June 2012 after three months of detention, before being re-arrested.

“Israel must end the appalling and unlawful treatment of Palestinian detainees. The international community must react with a sense of urgency and use whatever leverage it possesses to end Israel’s abusive reliance on administrative detention,” urged the Special Rapporteur.

Mr. Falk noted that Israel currently holds at least 178 Palestinians in administrative detention.

ENDS


Pillay concerned about health of Palestinian detainees

Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights

PRESS RELEASE

GENEVA (13 February 2013) – The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, expressed Wednesday her concern following reports of the fast deteriorating health condition of three Palestinians detainees on hunger strike and currently held in Israeli custody.

Tarek Qa’adan and Jafar Azzidine have been on hunger strike for 78 days to protest against their administrative detention by Israel, while Samer Al-Issawi has been on partial hunger strike for over 200 days.

“I am concerned about the health conditions of these three Palestinian detainees on hunger strike,” Pillay said.

The High Commissioner reiterated her concerns with regard to the use of administrative detention by Israel. “Persons detained must be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees in accordance with international standards, or be promptly released,” the High Commissioner said.

ENDS


Prisoner Issawi transferred to Asaf Harofee Prison hospital in critical condition

12 December 2012

Following a telephone call she made to the sister of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi, Malaka Mohammed reported that Issawi has been transferred to Asaf Harofee Prison hospital in a critical condition.

His sister told her that Samer Issawi is suffering from advanced muscle wasting, and that he has lost control of his body as a result of a severe nerve disorder.

“He is vomiting blood, his heart is weakening, and he has difficulty breathing,” she told Malaka.


Irish ex-prisoner tells Gaza “I determined that day to work for Palestinian prisoners”

03 December 2012

Gerry McLochlainn promises to breach the walls of Israeli prisons, as Gaza prisoners’ mothers breached his.

Gerry McLochlainn (left) and Minister of Detainees' Affairs Dr Attallah Abu AlSebah

Gerry McLochlainn (left) and Minister of Detainees’ Affairs Dr Attallah Abu AlSebah

Gerry McLochlainn, head of an 11-person delegation ‘Irish Friends of Palestine’ visiting Gaza for a week, told the families of prisoners today that he was a prisoner of the British occupation in his country during the 1981 Irish hunger strike in which 10 of his co-prisoners died.

“We felt very alone,” he said. “But one day I saw a photograph in a newspaper of mothers from Gaza holding up photos of our hunger-strikers. These mothers reached into the dark of my prison cell and lighted it up. They weren’t able to actually break down the walls, but seeing that photo, I knew we were not alone. I determined that day to work for Palestinian prisoners on my release.”

At the event hosted by Dr Attallah Abu AlSebah at the Ministry of Detainees’ Affairs in Gaza City, several such mothers, as well as ex-prisoners, exchanged their experiences with the Irish delegation, highlighting the similarities in their oppression by their occupying powers.

Political commonalities were noted by Mr McLochlainn. “My country was occupied by the British imperialists – it is the same story as that of the Palestinians. We know it was the British who took your land and gave it to the Zionists, so we know we are one,” he commented.

Medical negligence is also a common factor. Palestinian prisoners’ family members and an ex-detainee described to the Irish delegation the dire health situation in Israeli jails faced by the 1200 Palestinian prisoners suffering illness and disease, including eleven with cancer but who receive no treatment, only analgesics for pain relief – the same situation faced by one of the Irish prisoners, who developed stomach cancer but was given only painkillers.

Preventing contact with families is another ‘trick of the trade’ in denial of prisoners’ rights. Veronica Abu Sisi, wife of Mossad kidnap-victim Dirar Abu Sisi, described how she and their children have not been permitted any kind of contact with him since his imprisonment in Israel following his abduction in the Ukraine. “He has been in solitary confinement since May,” she said. “I am not allowed any contact with him, not even to speak to him. I tried to send him some warm clothes but he was not permitted to receive them. I tried to send him pictures of our children, but they were not allowed.”

Similar, but not identical to, the experience of the Irish political prisoners. “We were separated from the other prisoners,” Mr McLochlainn told the Palestinians. “When our families came to visit us, the prison authorities would move us to another prison so they could not see us.”

Ex-detainee Ahmed told the delegation that family visits were resumed today, but Gazan prisoners are only permitted one family visit every six months. On top of this, they are still being subjected to administrative detention, strip searches, and night-raids of their cells, all of which are violations of international conventions.

Om Nidal, wife of released prisoner Mohammad Hassan, said two of her sons have been martyred, one only two hours before the recent ceasefire began, and her son-in-law was killed the day before that. She described how her husband was imprisoned for most of their children’s childhoods, and how joyous it was when Abu Nidal was released in the Shalit prisoner exchange deal.

Om Nidal - proud of her martyred sons

Om Nidal – proud of her martyred sons

“They got to spend one year together, then Nidal was killed by three Israeli rockets, along with four of his friends. What wrong did he do? He defended his country, that is all,” she said. “We are not terrorists – they are. They [Israel] destroyed our houses and killed our children.”

Dr Attallah Abu AlSebah reiterated her view, pointing out that Israel depicts Palestinians as terrorists, yet it is Israel who has stolen their homeland.

“The international community has given Israel the green light to attack us. They stood by and watched as our children were slaughtered, our streets ran with their blood and the ground was littered with their body parts,” he protested.”They need to tell Israel enough is enough.”

Gerry McLochlainn agreed, saying, “Your sons and daughters, mothers and fathers are called terrorists – if they are terrorists then I am a terrorist too, and there are another five here with me. When you country is stolen, your land is taken, your children are killed then resistance is the right thing to do.”

Mothers and children of political prisoners, not terrorists

Mothers and children of political prisoners, not terrorists

An old woman called out, “We will avenge our sons, we will defend our country, and Israel will never defeat us.”

Mr McLochlainn replied, “We will walk with you, and stand with you until you can walk through every part of Palestine, and I promise you I will walk through the streets of Al Quds with you. Your day will come.”


Gazan Ex-Prisoners send message of support to Alberto Patishtan, and Zapatista prisoners

At Monday’s weekly sit-in outside the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza City head of “Advocates for Prisoners” organisation Jamal Farwana sent a message of support to Zapatista prisoner Alberto Patishtan, who recently underwent neurosurgery for a brain tumour.

Alberto Patishtan shackled to his hospital bed hours before his neurosurgery

Farwana, who himself spent eight years in Israeli jails, sympathised with the plight of Patishtan, who has been imprisoned for 12 years on trumped-up charges, and was left for several years without treatment for a brain tumour. Farwana noted the similar situation for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, who also suffer medical neglect, and expressed their solidarity with all prisoners world-wide unjustly held by criminal governments, particularly those in Mexico.

The Patishtan case has been widely condemned, both nationally and internationally. Mexican Human Rights organisation Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas reported in October:

“…the Mexican state in 2010 wrongly diagnosed him [Alberto Patishtan] with glaucoma, and in the same year he was admitted to the Better Life Hospital in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas; in the six months he was in hospital, he was not attended professionally or adequately to determine his correct diagnosis and treatment.[i] Also, as of May 12, 2011, the Mexican State knew through a study of his visual fields that “the pattern of his visual field loss tended more towards deteriorating optic atrophy than to a diagnosis of glaucoma”, Patishtán recalls that he underwent a CT scan, and that at no time did the attending physician get the results of that study, thereby making it impossible to give a correct diagnosis, and consequently the appropriate medical treatment.

Later, following his forced and arbitrary transfer to a CEFERESO[ii] in Guasave, Sinaloa, the medical treatment which had been started was not followed up. Following allegations of neglect by Patishtán, investigations were carried out in Guasave and ischemic optic neuropathy was diagnosed; this diagnosis also proved to be incorrect. The state has at all times obstructed Patishtán being given appropriate, adequate and effective medical care. For this reason, this Human Rights Center demands that the Mexican State comply with the precautionary measures (MC 77-12) granted this year by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)[iii] and adopts without delay the measures necessary to ensure the health and personal integrity of Alberto Patishtán.

Following an international outcry, Alberto Patishtan was transferred to the Manuel Velasco Suarez National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery in Mexico City. Chiapas Support Committee reported he was operated on October 8 to remove a brain tumor. The surgery was apparently successful, and he is now recuperating in the Vida Mejor Hospital in Tuxtla Gutierrez, and has recovered 70% of his eyesight – although not yet his freedom.

Meanwhile in Palestine, dozens of ‘Patishtans’ still languish in Israeli jails without medical treatment, and without any significant action by the international community to force Israel to take the measures necessary to ensure the health and integrity of Palestinian prisoners.

La lucha sigue.

[i] 1Doce años de injusto encarcelamiento de Alberto Patishtan Gómez, Colectivo Ik, available in Spanish here: http://es.scribd.com/doc/85087211/Palabra-Colectivo-Ik-Confer-en-confe-Prensa-sobre-caso-Alberto-Patishtan
[ii] Trasladan a CEFERESO de Sinaloa a Alberto Patishtán, vocero de La Voz del Amate available at: http://www.frayba.org.mx/acciones_urgentes.php
[iii] CIDH MC 77/12 – Alberto Patishtán Gómez, México available at: http://www.oas.org/es/cidh/decisiones/cautelares.asp