[Ppnews] Israel punishes hunger striking prisoners by transferring them to other end of country

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Mar 6 13:24:24 EST 2012

Israel punishes hunger striking prisoners by 
transferring them to other end of country

Submitted by Adri Nieuwhof on Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:47

Approximately 80 political prisoners have been 
transferred from Gilboa prison to Nafha prison in 
the Naqab [Negev] desert, according to the news 
The transfer follows a solidarity hunger strike 
undertaken by the prisoners, which I reported in 
of 28 February. I wrote that the prisoners in 
Gilboa prison welcomed the call for an 
international day of action on 17 April, 
Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. The prisoners in 
sections 2, 4 and 5 participated in a one-day 
hunger strike on 13 February for which they were 
immediately punished by the prison authorities.

The political prisoners from section 4 were 
transferred to Nafha prison this week. They are 
residents from Jerusalem, Israel and the occupied 
Golan Heights. Nafha prison is located in the 
south of Israel ­ a large distance from Gilboa prison in the north.

I asked Sahar Francis, director of the Addameer 
Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, to 
comment on the prisoners transfer. “Actually we 
don’t know exactly why the prisoners were 
transferred. This is the usual behavior of the 
Israeli Prison Service, to transfer prisoners far 
away from home. To make it more difficult for the 
families to visit their relatives in prison as an 
act of punishment, an act of collective 
punishment. Although sometimes they [the Israeli 
Prison Service] claim the transfer was needed for 
reconstruction activities. At times of hunger 
strikes they transfer the leaders a lot - even on 
a daily basis – in order not to encourage, 
empower people to join in the hunger strike.”

Fouad Sultani, father of one of the transferred 
prisoners, told the news site 
that the transfer increases the suffering of the 
prisoners because of the conditions in Nafha 
prison and the desert environment. It also means 
an increase in the suffering of the families who 
visit the prisoners. The majority live in the 
north and they will have to travel long hours to 
visit their imprisoned loved ones. According to 
the news site, the prisoners have protested their 
transfer by trying to prevent the execution of the transfer.

an interview with me published on The Electronic 
Intifada last week, Shawan Jabarin, director of 
the Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq, 
describing Israel’s ill-treatment of Palestinian political prisoners:

The punishment mentality is guiding the Israeli 
practices and policies. Every day new rules are 
created, [prisoners] have to take off their 
clothes while the rooms are searched, [the prison 
authorities] are transferring prisoners, 
isolating them for years. It is psychological 
torture. It is part of a revenge, a punishment 
mentality. To restrict [Palestinians] from their freedom is not enough.

in a letter to me that I published on my blog 
last week, political prisoner 
Makhoul, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and 
civil society leader currently held in Gilboa 
prison, described the actions preceding the transfer of prisoners:

The message of the prisoners was clear: (..) that 
Palestinian political prisoners are in 
solidarity, united and one voice. In addition, 
[the message was] that the case of Khader Adnan 
is not an individual case but it is matter to all 
Palestinian prisoners with all consequences and 
responsibility. On the other side, it was an act 
that strengthened the Palestinian prisoners 
internally, because this act was not for any 
service provision or benefit. It was for the 
solidarity with [a] fighter for freedom. It is a 
great moment. The motto of our action was that if 
we Palestinian political prisoners request others 
to express solidarity with us and to campaign for 
us, we should be in solidarity among ourselves.

Meanwhile, the support for the Palestinian 
political prisoners is growing. The call to make 
Palestinian Political Prisoners day – 17 April – 
a day of international action has been endorsed 
by more than sixty organizations. Mireille Fanon 
Mendès-France, member of the UN Working Group on 
People of African Descent, and Jan J. Wijenberg, 
Former Ambassador for the Kingdom of The 
Netherlands, have joined Richard Falk and Ahmed 
Kathrada in adding weight to the international 
campaign. The 
has been published in several languages and can be endorsed online.

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