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
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.
04 November 2012
Mehmet Kaya, IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation Gaza Representative, today addressed a Press Conference at the Mavi Marmara Martyrs’ Monument at Gaza sea port about the Mavi Marmara trial against Israel which will begin at Çağlayan Courthouse in İstanbul on 06 November, and is expected to last three days.
IHH was one of the organisers of the Freedom Flotilla, and has played a significant role in getting the case to trial.
In an exclusive interview, Mehmet Kaya said that the significance of the trial is that Israel will be held accountable for killing “our brothers and friends in international waters”
He said the case is against Israel, the Israeli army, and the President, and that they hope to prevent them travelling freely around the world because they are guilty of crimes against humanity and crimes against Turkey.
He is not concerned that Israel may ignore the court case and its decision, as he believes Turkey will get justice in the end, although it will take some time.
Mehmet Kaya called on the international community to do the same as Turkey, and hold Israel accountable for its actions.
Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, and Law Professor, endorses Turkey’s action in this matter, saying that Turkey’s initiative shows how national courts can play a role in setting international law in motion.
Speaking to Zümrüt Sönmez from IHH Media Department recently in Istanbul,Falk said that international law, particularly the United Nations, failed in the aftermath of the Mavi Marmara attack, and that the staging of such a trial in Turkey is a significant effort in terms of guarding the values of international law, and making it effective.
IHH reports that the defendants in the trial are former Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of General Staff General Gabi Ashkenazi, Naval Forces commander Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom, Israel’s military intelligence chief Major General Amos Yadlin and Air Forces Intelligence head Brigadier General Avishai Levi. They will be tried as “fugitive suspects.”
There are 490 complainants and victims in the case including flotilla passengers from 37 countries, and relatives of the martyrs.
Flotilla passengers from Turkey and other parts of the world, relatives of the Mavi Marmara martyrs and their lawyers will be present at the trial. The trial will be closely followed by human rights observers from Turkey and abroad, media members, jurists and representatives of non-governmental organizations.