[Pnews] Palestinian and Israeli NGO's Concerned by Recent Court Decision regarding Political Prisoner Bilal Kayed
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Aug 17 11:22:46 EDT 2016
Palestinian and Israeli NGO's Concerned by Recent Court Decision
regarding Bilal Kayed
*_August 17, 2016_*
On the 11th of August, the Beer Sheva District Court rejected the appeal
of Bilal Kayed, who is completing 64 days of hunger strike in protest of
his administrative detention, and whose condition is considered
critical. The court ruled that he shall remain shackled to his hospital
bed by his hand and leg, and shall not be granted a visit by an external
independent physician, using arguments that create a dangerous precedent
contrary to the Patients’ Rights Law and prisoners’
rights. Today, Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) has submitted
an appeal to the Supreme Court. An appeal hearing has been scheduled by
the Supreme Court to the 22nd of August 2016 in response to an appeal
submitted by Addameer’s lawyer to cancel Mr. Kayed’s administrative
The District Court judge, AharonMishnayot, ruled that Mr. Kayed must
remain shackled and appeared convinced by the claims of the Israeli
Prison Service (IPS) that Mr. Kayed would be abducted from the hospital
by some entity and that he poses a clear and concrete threat to state
security. The claims were based on secret IPS intelligence that PHRI’s
attorney was denied the right to review during the court hearing. This,
despite Mr. Kayed’s conduct during his 14.5 years in prison, during
which time he was not violent neither to prison staff nor fellow
prisoners. Moreover, this decision is in total contradiction to Mr.
Kayed’s deteriorating medical state - including pain in the chest,
kidney, jaw, eyes, blurred vision, numbness throughout the body, hair
loss, yellowness, peeling of the skin, and grave risk of stroke.
Nevertheless, Mr. Kayed has reported to Addameer’s attorney on the 8th
of August that the Director of Ashkelon Prison (who reportedly visited
Kayed on the 6th of August) has stated that he held him responsible for
the mass hunger strikes inside the prisons. The continued shackling of a
patient in these circumstances violates medical ethics, international
medical guidelines and the right of freedom from torture and/or cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment.
Moreover, the Court ruled that an independent doctor’s visit was not
necessary, as Mr. Kayed was already visited by a physician from the
International Committee of the Red Cross - Israel. Yet ICRC-Israel
visits focus on ensuring that a prisoner is held in accordance with
international standards and are no substitute for a second opinion. In
using this argument, the court has used the humanitarian activities of
ICRC-Israel as an excuse to further violate fundamental human rights.
International ethical codes emphasize the importance of a medical
examination by an independent doctor to create a trusting relationship
with the hunger striker in an attempt to reach a life-saving solution.
As Mr. Kayed is now in the 64th day of his hunger strike, this delay can
The Court also wrote that PHRI’s petition “wasn’t motivated by a genuine
concern for the petitioner’s health, but a hidden agenda”. This smear of
PHRI is highly problematic and is clearly aimed at undermining their
work and credibility. This is carried out against a backdrop of repeated
attempts to undermine the legitimacy and efforts of all those
organisations and individuals fighting against the occupation.
Meanwhile, in a recent request by PHRI on behalf of Mr. Kayed to have
access to his medical records, the Director of the Barzilay Hospital
responded that PHRI must go through the IPS. This is in clear
contradiction to section 18 A of the Patients’ Rights Law, which
highlights the patients’ rights to secure their medical records.
This recent court decision and the delays in the court system are yet
more infringements on the right of hunger strikers and points to the
political considerations at play, including the attempt to break the
hunger strikers’ morale. Hunger striking is a non-violent form of
protest, and often the only recourse for prisoners to draw attention to
Israel’s abusive detention policies.
In its 2016 concluding observations, the UN Committee Against Torture
noted that “The Committee is concerned at allegations of instances in
which prisoners who engaged in hunger strikes were punished or subjected
to ill-treatment” (para. 26) and recommended that Israel, “urgently take
the measures necessary to end the practice of administrative detention
and ensure that all persons who are currently held in administrative
detention are afforded all basic legal safeguards” (para. 23).
We call on the international community to urge Israel to enable an
independent doctors’ visit, release Bilal Kayed immediately, end the
harsh, inhuman and degrading practices that pressure hunger strikers to
end their strikes and review the continuous and systematic human rights
violations of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, especially in regards
to the policy of administrative detention.
*Signing organizations:* Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority
Rights in Israel, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights
Association, The Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHRI)
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
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