[Ppnews] Samer Issawi vows to continue hunger strike following Jerusalem court sentence today

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Feb 21 16:59:56 EST 2013


  Samer Issawi vows to continue hunger strike following Jerusalem court
  sentence today

Submitted by Maureen Clare Murphy on Thu, 02/21/2013 - 19:09
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/samer-issawi-vows-continue-hunger-strike-following-jerusalem-court

Palestinian political prisoner Samer Issawi 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/samer-issawi>, who has been on full 
and partial hunger strike 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/hunger-strike> since his arrest at a 
Jerusalem checkpoint in July 2012, was sentenced to eight months today 
by a Jerusalem magistrate court. His sentence begins at the date of his 
arrest, meaning that he has one month of this sentence left to serve.

Shireen Issawi, Samer's sister, and the Palestinian human rights group 
Addameer <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/addameer> confirmed today 
that Issawi vows to continue with his hunger strike which has caused his 
weight to dramatically drop and urgent warnings regarding his health.

However *Issawi faces an additional two decades of imprisonment* as 
Israel claims he has violated the terms of his conditional release from 
prison during the October 2011 prisoner exchange 
<http://electronicintifada.net/content/political-prisoner-hamas-deal-great-step-forward/10552>, 
*invoking a military court order based on secret evidence that would 
compel him to serve out the remaining 20 years of his original 30-year 
sentence*. Israel claims that Issawi, a resident of an East Jerusalem 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/east-jerusalem> neighborhood, 
entered West Bank areas in violation of the conditions of his release.

Maath Musleh reported for The Electronic Intifada 
<http://electronicintifada.net/content/jerusalemite-faces-decades-prison-after-visiting-nearby-village/11596> 
in August of last year:

    Thirty-two-year-old Issawi is from the Palestinian village of
    Issawiyeh <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/issawiyeh> in
    Jerusalem. On 15 April 2002, Issawi was captured by the Israeli army
    in a tower near the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah
    during the invasion of multiple West Bank cities, dubbed by Israel
    "Operation Defensive Shield." Issawi was sentenced to thirty years
    in prison on charges of possession of weapons and forming military
    groups in Jerusalem.

Issawi's family has challenged Israel's claims that Samer had violated 
the conditions of his release by entering the West Bank. Musleh reported:

    [Issawi] was arrested in a location between the Palestinian village
    of Hizma and the Jewish-only settlement Adam, an area within the
    boundaries of the municipality of Jerusalem. Israel claimed that
    Samer broke the deal by leaving Jerusalem.

    "What is Jerusalem for the Israelis?" wondered Tareq [Issawi,
    Samer's father]. "Whenever it suits them, they change their
    definition of Jerusalem! Kufr Aqab is within the jurisdiction of the
    municipality of Jerusalem. Do they consider it Jerusalem or West Bank?"

    Israel annexed East Jerusalem following its occupation of the West
    Bank after the 1967 War, though it is considered occupied territory
    under international law. According to the Israeli definition, the
    boundaries of the municipality of Jerusalem extends north to include
    the Palestinian village Kufr Aqab. Issawi was captured in a location
    within the Israeli-defined boundaries of Jerusalem, midway between
    Kufr Aqab and the center of the city.

Addameer says <http://www.addameer.org/etemplate.php?id=576> that 
following his July arrest, Samer Issawi was "subjected to strenuous 
interrogation for up to 22 hours a day as well as psychological torture 
such as sleep deprivation. Samer was denied his right to see a lawyer 
for 23 days as a tactic to pressure him during his interrogation and to 
isolate him."

*Solidarity protests*

The recent wave of hunger strikes in Israeli prisons in the last year 
and a half has redirected focus on the cause of Palestinian prisoners.

Hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners held a one-day hunger strike 
on Tuesday in solidarity with Samer Issawi and fellow long-term strikers 
Ayman Sharawna, Tarek Qa'adan and Jaafar Azzidine.

There have also been regular protests in the West Bank and Gaza. The 
Bethlehem-based Ma'an News Agency reported 
<http://maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=567634> that 29 protesters 
were injured today by rubber-coated steel bullets and "dozens more 
suffered tear gas inhalation" at a protest in solidarity with the hunger 
strikers near Ofer military prison camp in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian journalists held a sit-in protest outside Ofer detention 
camp <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/ofer-prison> yesterday while a 
military court heard the cases of detained Palestinian journalists Amir 
Abu Arafah and political cartoonist Muhammad Sabanah, Ma'an reported 
<http://maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=567318>, adding:

    The sit-in strike was organized by the Palestinian Journalists
    Syndicate. During the activity, head of the union Abdul-Nasser
    al-Najjar said Israeli forces intensified assaults against
    Palestinian journalists recently. He said several journalists were
    directly targeted during confrontations between Israeli forces and
    Palestinian protesters in different locations. Al-Najjar added that
    dozens of Palestinian journalists were held in Israel's custody.

*Solitary confinement* **

Meanwhile, the lawyer for Dirar Abu Sisi 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/dirar-abu-sisi>, the engineer from 
Gaza who was kidnapped in Ukraine and is currently held in solitary 
confinement in Israel, is losing "losing his ability to recall language 
and has speech impairments, a lawyer who visited him in jail said 
Sunday," Ma'an reported 
<http://maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=566059>.

Ma'an added:

    Abu Sisi disappeared in February 2011 while traveling on a train in
    Ukraine and Israel later announced that it was holding him in a
    southern Israeli jail.

    He was the only prisoner excluded from a May 2012 deal with Israeli
    authorities to end solitary confinement, according to prisoners
    rights group Addameer.

    The deal, which included several terms to improve prisoners
    conditions, was made to end a mass hunger strike campaign launched
    by Palestinian prisoners.

    The order to keep Abu Sisi in isolation was renewed for another six
    months on Nov. 1, 2012.

    The prisoners society lawyer said Abu Sisi told him prison guards
    were implementing other punitive measures.

    They bring him rotten food, and recently confiscated his notebook
    where he records his thoughts during his isolation, Abu Sisi said.

    The technical director at Gaza's sole electricity plant, Abu Sisi
    was charged with developing Hamas' rocket capabilities. Abu Sisi
    denies the charges and Hamas says he has no affiliation to the group.

-- 
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