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
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.
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.
*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
Fax: +972 3 608 0366; +972 3 569 4526
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
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.
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.
Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights
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.