[Pnews] Israel escalates crackdown on Palestinian hunger strikers

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Aug 12 11:08:12 EDT 2016


https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/israel-escalates-crackdown-hunger-strikers 



  Israel escalates crackdown on hunger strikers

Charlotte Silver 
<https://electronicintifada.net/people/charlotte-silver> 11 August 2016

Israel is escalating its crackdown on hunger-striking 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/hunger-strike> prisoners by denying 
<http://maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=772615> them their right to meet 
with their lawyers.

More than 100 prisoners, according 
<http://www.addameer.org/news/over-100-palestinian-prisoners-join-mass-hunger-strike-solidarity-bilal-kayed> 
to prisoner advocacy group Addameer 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/addameer>, are refusing food in 
solidarity with Bilal Kayed 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/bilal-kayed>, who is leading the 
latest wave of prisoner hunger strikes and has now gone 57 days without 
food. Last week, Kayed announced he was refusing all medical treatment 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/hunger-striker-bilal-kayed-refuses-see-doctors> 
until he is released.

Approaching two months without food, Kayed’s body reportedly 
<http://www.addameer.org/news/hunger-striking-administrative-detainee-bilal-kayed-threatened-forced-treatment> 
oscillates between throbbing with pain and falling numb. He is 
experiencing blurred vision and suffering from dehydration. His skin has 
turned yellow and begun to peel, and he is losing hair.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/physicians-human-rights-israel> say 
<http://www.timesofisrael.com/13-arrested-as-jews-arabs-clash-over-palestinian-hunger-striker/> 
he is at risk of a stroke.


    Force feeding

A doctor at Barzilai Medical Center, where Kayed is being held, told the 
prisoner’s lawyer that if Kayed loses consciousness, he will be forcibly 
treated.

Israeli medical professionals have force-treated Palestinian hunger 
strikers before. In January, after fewer than 50 days on hunger strike, 
Muhammad al-Qiq <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/muhammad-al-qiq> 
was tied to his hospital bed and a medical team forcibly administered 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/israel-forcibly-treated-hunger-striking-journalist> 
salts and minerals through an IV.

The World Medical Association’s Malta Declaration 
<http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/h31/> forbids both 
applying pressure to end a hunger strike and forced medical treatment. 
The United Nations’ Istanbul Protocol 
<http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/training8Rev1en.pdf> 
stresses the need for physicians to obtain informed consent from 
competent patients before conducting any medical treatment.

Outside Barzilai hospital on 9 August, supporters of Kayed clashed with 
right-wing Israelis, some of whom shouted “death to terrorists,” 
according to /The Times of Israel/ 
<http://www.timesofisrael.com/13-arrested-as-jews-arabs-clash-over-palestinian-hunger-striker/>. 
The counter-protesters reportedly threw stones at police when they 
intervened.

Kayed is protesting being placed under administrative detention 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/administrative-detention> – 
confinement without charge or trial – after he completed an almost 
15-year prison sentence 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/prisoner-starts-hunger-strike-israel-blocks-release/17076>.


    Detention without charge

But some of the strikers are calling for their own release as well, 
themselves prominent political prisoners 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/political-prisoners> placed under 
administrative detention for unknown reasons. This widespread practice 
allows Israel to jail people on the basis of secret evidence.

Last week on 4 August, journalist Omar Nazzal 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/omar-nazzal>, a member of the 
Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/palestinian-journalists-syndicate> 
and president of the Democratic Journalists Union, launched his hunger 
strike <http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=772508> in protest of 
both his and Kayed’s indefinite detention.

The 53-year-old journalist was arrested on 23 April at the border with 
Jordan, on his way to participate in a general meeting of the European 
Federation of Journalists.

Nazzal’s wife Marilyn reported 
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=772531> that the Israel Prison 
Service immediately transferred him into a solitary confinement cell 
after he began his strike.

On 8 August, Israel’s high court rejected 
<http://www.addameer.org/news/israeli-high-court-rejects-appeal-against-omar-nazzal-administrative-detention> 
Nazzal’s appeal for release, as it routinely does when Palestinian 
prisoners appeal their administrative detention orders, which are issued 
by military courts.

Nazzal is being represented by a lawyer with Addameer, who last week 
said <http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=772531> that “it is 
already known and expected that Israeli courts will never be fair, but 
it is my duty to try and defend Nazzal.”

But Nazzal is now reporting that the Israel Prison Service has 
threatened <http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=772606> to 
force-feed him upon his transfer out of solitary confinement. He 
describes being treated “brutally” and said he was locked in a prison 
van for hours, until he felt as if he was suffocating.


    Brothers on hunger strike

Brothers Mahmoud and Muhammad Balboul continue the hunger strike they 
launched on 5 and 7 July against their administrative detention, as an 
Israeli military court upheld 
<https://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=772566> their detention orders 
earlier this week.

Mahmoud, who is working on his master’s degree at Al-Quds University, 
was given five months, and Muhammad, a dentist, was given six months 
detention.

The brothers were arrested on 9 June, two months after their 14-year-old 
sister was detained and accused of possessing a knife.

The siblings are the children of Ahmad al-Balboul, a leader in Fatah’s 
military wing, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/al-aqsa-martyrs-brigades>, who was 
shot dead along with three other Palestinian leaders by undercover 
Israeli forces in March 2008 
<http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/world/middleeast/13mideast.html>.

Al-Balboul was assassinated after he and the Palestinian Authority 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/palestinian-authority> had failed 
to secure an amnesty deal for him from Israel.


    Family visits

In response to the decision by the International Committee of the Red 
Cross <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/icrc> to halve the number of 
family visits 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/red-cross-cuts-family-visits-palestinian-prisoners/17351> 
for male Palestinian prisoners to just one per month, the Palestinian 
Authority is offering <http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=772604> 
to cover expenses to maintain the second monthly visit.

In May, the ICRC announced that it would cut the number of family visits 
to Israeli prisons it coordinates due to the burdensome cost and the 
failure of families to show up to scheduled trips. Families in the West 
Bank depend on the ICRC to help them procure travel permits to visit 
their relatives being held in prisons inside Israel.

The Fourth Geneva Convention forbids an occupying power from 
transferring prisoners outside of an occupied territory. Yet all but one 
of Israel’s prisons that hold Palestinians are located outside of the 
West Bank.

ICRC provides crucial transportation for families who must travel up to 
seven hours for a brief meeting with their loved ones. Without ICRC’s 
help, the travel could cost as much as $250.

Qadura Fares <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/qadura-fares>, head of 
the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, said this week that the Palestinian 
Authority would sign an agreement with the ICRC, promising to pay for 
half the coordinated family visits to prisons each month.

But with or without the ICRC’s assistance, Israel can summarily cancel 
family travel permits, as it has recently done to more than a dozen 
families <http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=772579> seeking to 
visit relatives in prison.


-- 
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