[Ppnews] UN human rights chief voices concern about health of hunger strikers

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Feb 14 17:27:15 EST 2013

  UN concerned about Palestinian detainees

*UN human rights chief voices concern about health of hunger strikers 
who protest their detention without trial.

Last Modified: 14 Feb 2013 16:17


Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has expressed 
concern about the well-being of Palestinian detainees in Israeli 
prisons, particularly Samer Issawi who has been on hunger strike 
for more than 200 days and is reportedly on the verge of death 

The UN human rights chief on Tuesday called for the immediate release or 
charge of prisoners held in "administrative detention".

Two other Palestinians - Tarek Qaadan and Jafar Azzidine - have been on 
hunger strike for 78 days to protest Israel's policy of administrative 
detention, under which suspects can be imprisoned without trial by order 
of a military court. The order can be renewed indefinitely for six 
months at a time.

All three are reportedly near death.

Pillay said: "Persons detained must be charged and face trial with 
judicial guarantees in accordance with international standards, or be 
promptly released."

Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in 
the occupied Palestinian territories, went further and called for the 
immediate release of the three men - calling the conditions the men were 
being held under as "inhumane".

A UN statement said that Humanitarian Co-ordinator James W Rawley met in 
the West Bank city of Ramallah with Palestinian prisoner affairs 
minister Issa Qaraqe.

"They discussed the situation of four Palestinian detainees currently on 
hunger strike and, in particular, the critical health condition of one 
Palestinian detainee, Samer Issawi."

Issawi was released along with over 1,000 other prisoners in the October 
2011 prisoner swap for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

He was re-arrested in July 2012 under disputed circumstances by the 
Israeli army near Hizma in Jerusalem and began his hunger strike soon after.

Issawi wants to be formally charged and given a fair trial or set free - 
until then, he says he will continue his hunger strike.

*"**These prisoners are on hunger strike in response to the policy of 
administrative detention and ill-treatment by the occupying authorities 

*- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

*'Out of control'*

Palestinian prisoner support group Addameer says six prisoners held by 
Israel are currently on hunger strike.

The longest-serving are Issawi and Ayman Sharawneh who have been fasting 
for months to demand their release from imprisonment without trial.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday called on the 
international community to intervene urgently in support of Palestinian 
prisoners on hunger strikes.

"Things may get out of control if the lives of the hunger strikers are 
not saved," Abbas said on Palestinian television.

"We ask the international community to respond effectively to ease the 
situation, otherwise it will be impossible to control and it will 
deteriorate across the Palestinian territories."

Abbas singled out four detainees in need of special attention - Samer 
Issawi, Jafar Azzidine, Ayman Sharawneh and Tareq Qaadan.

"These prisoners are on hunger strike in response to the policy of 
administrative detention and ill-treatment by the occupying 
authorities," he added in reference to Israel.

Despite the recent statement by Abbas, the overall silence of the 
Palestinian Authority towards the plight of the hunger strikers and its 
efforts to silence West Bank protests rallying for the prisoners has 
frustrated many.

Last year, between 1,600 and 2,000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel 
took part in a collective hunger strike which ended with an agreemen 
with prison administrators on May 14.

One of their main demands was the release of administrative detainees.

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