[Ppnews] Immediate action needed to ensure Israel respects hunger-strikers’ rights

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Feb 20 12:11:23 EST 2013

  Immediate action needed to ensure Israel respects hunger-strikers’ rights

/Ramallah-Jaffa, 20 February 2013

Addameer, Al-Haq and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) 
express their grave concern for the health of four Palestinian 
hunger-strikers and outrage at the continued use by Israel of 
administrative detention as a widespread practice to punish and suppress 
Palestinian dissent against the Israeli occupation. In violation of 
international law, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has prohibited the 
hunger strikers from receiving family visits as well as denying them 
access to Addameer lawyers and independent physicians. Due to Israel’s 
use of administrative detention, and the lack of due process afforded to 
Palestinians in the military court system, a hunger strike represents 
the singlemost non-violent tool available to administrative detainees 
and other political prisoners to fight for their basic human rights.

Each of the prisoners in question has been placed in isolation as a 
punitive measure at some point during their hunger strike as well as 
being subjected to other forms of ill-treatment and intimidation. These 
include beatings, almost-daily cell and body searches and shackling to 
hospital beds. In addition, the IPS has confiscated all personal 
material belonging to the prisoners.

    *   At a hearing yesterday, Samer Issawi, who is in a
      life-threatening condition and weighs less than 48 kilograms after
      being on intermittent hunger strike for more than 200 days, was
      denied release on bail by the Jerusalem Magistrate Court. Samer is
      protesting his arbitrary re-arrest after his release in a prisoner
      exchange on 18 October 2011. Using Military Order 1651, Article
      186, the military prosecution is requesting that he serve the
      twenty years that remain from his previous sentence. Samer is
      suffering from various health conditions including low blood
      pressure and irregular heart rate, severe pain in the kidney
      region, muscle pain and constant headaches.

    * Tarek Qa’adan and Jafar Azzidine have been on hunger strike for 86
      days in protest against their detention without charge or trial.
      Neither man has access to the information upon which his detention
      is based, therefore undermining their ability to effectively
      challenge the administrative detention order. On 12 February,
      Tarek and Jafar told PHR-Israel’s lawyer that they were no longer
      taking any supplements or vitamins, adding further threat to their
      lives. Tarek and Jafar were informed by the prison doctor that due
      to their rapidly deteriorating health, they were at risk of
      imminent heart attack unless they received adequate medical
      treatment. Both men have expressed their wish to be monitored by
      and receive impartial medical consultation from physicians of
      PHR-Israel, however, this request has been ignored by the IPS.
      Tarek and Jafar are both being held under administrative detention
      orders, which are due to expire on 22 February 2013.

    * Ayman Sharawna has been on hunger strike since 1 July 2012, except
      for a brief reprieve in January 2013 when he believed that his
      case was moving in a positive direction. He is protesting the
      Israeli prosecution’s attempt to have him serve the remaining 28
      years of his previous sentence. Ayman was released in the 18
      October 2011 prisoner exchange but was re-arrested on 31 January
      2012. Since then, he has been held without charge or trial, based
      on a “secret administrative file” which alleges that he breached
      the terms of the exchange deal. Ayman and his lawyer have not been
      granted access to this secret file or allowed to know the nature
      of his alleged breach of contract. At a Supreme Court hearing
      today to contest the legitimacy of his detention under Military
      Order 1651, Article 186, Ayman’s case was referred back to the
      Military Court, which will hear his case at a later date. While in
      court, Ayman told Addameer’s lawyer that as of 16 January he had
      only been drinking water. Ayman has also been under continuous
      pressure from the Israeli General Security Service to end his
      hunger strike.

Israel’s widespread practice of administrative detention constitutes a 
serious breach of international humanitarian and human rights law. While 
administrative detention is allowed under international humanitarian 
law, it must be used only under exceptional circumstances as it 
infringes upon basic human rights, including right to a fair trial. 
There are currently 178 Palestinians being held under administrative 
detention orders, including five democratically elected Palestinian 
Legislative Council members. Administrative detainees should at all 
times be entitled to habeas corpus remedy, be informed of the reasons 
for detention and be allowed regular family visits. This form of 
arbitrary arrest also contravenes Articles 9 and 14 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
In March of last year the United Nations (UN) Committee on the 
Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination urged Israel to end 
its current practice of administrative detention, which it referred to 
as discriminatory and constituting arbitrary detention under 
international human rights law. Similarly, Catherine Ashton, High 
Representative of the European Union, this week called upon Israel to 
allow for the immediate restoration to the hunger strikers of family 
visiting rights and called upon Israel to bring formal charges against 
the hunger-strikers with a view to providing them with a fair trial 
without delay. Also this week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 
reiterated the call to Israel for administrative detainees to be charged 
and granted a fair trial, or be promptly released.
Such calls for Israel to abide by its international law obligations echo 
countless others that have been issued by the international community 
over decades. We are concerned that, like those before them, they will 
be ignored by Israel until the Member States of the UN begin to support 
their rhetoric with concrete action and ensure that Israel can no longer 
violate international law with impunity.
Addameer, Al-Haq and PHR-Israel demand that all hunger-striking 
prisoners are transferred to civilian hospitals immediately, where they 
should receive adequate medical care without being shackled. The 
shackling of hunger-striking prisoners in civilian hospitals is in 
violation of medical ethics as well as the guidelines of the Israeli 
Ministry of Health, the Israeli Medical Association, and the IPS.  In 
addition, family visits, along with regular access to independent 
medical care and lawyers should be fully reinstated.
In the absence of any formal charges against the hunger-strikers and 
administrative detainees in general, and bearing in mind that the 
Israeli court system does not offer a fair and transparent judicial 
process for Palestinians - a point that was reiterated by the UN 
Fact-Finding Mission on Settlements - Addameer, Al-Haq and PHR-Israel 
also demand that all four prisoners and the remaining administrative 
detainees be released without delay.
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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