[Pnews] Palestinian and Israeli NGO's call for Bilal Kayed’s immediate release

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jul 27 10:53:21 EDT 2016


  Palestinian and Israeli NGO's call for Bilal Kayed’s immediate release


27 July 2016

Bilal Kayed, a 35 year-old Palestinian man from Nablus who is being 
detained by Israel has reached 43 days of hunger strike, and resolves to 
continue his protest until he is freed. Bilal was placed in 
administrative detention on 13 June 2016, when he was supposed to be 
released after completing a sentence of 14.5 years in an Israeli prison. 
In protest of his arbitrary detention without charge or trial and his 
continued placement in solitary confinement, he began his hunger strike 
on 15 June 2016.

Bilal's health has continuously deteriorated since he started his hunger 
strike and he is currently entering a very critical stage. He is 
suffering from deterioration in his vision and from difficulties to 
stand up or walk, with physicians warning of the possibility of a 
stroke. He is currently shackled to his hospital bed in Barzilai 
hospital. Bilal is also being denied access to an independent 
doctor' visit. All of those practices violate medical ethics and his 
right to health and freedom from torture and/or cruel, inhuman or 
degrading treatment.

On Friday 22 July 2016, Physicians for Human Rights - Israel appealed to 
the District Court of Beersheva to end the continued shackling of Bilal 
to his hospital bed. The shackling of a hospitalized prisoner violates 
medical ethics, international medical guidelines and Israeli Ministry of 
Health guidelines, as well as international human rights law. The 
medical staff has an ethical and professional obligation to demand his 
unshackling for the sake of his medical treatment and in order to 
maintain necessary trust in the patient-doctor relationship, which is 
pivotal for the patient's well-being. The handcuffing of a prisoner who 
is undergoing treatment constitutes grave injury to their dignity, and 
in this case amounts to cruel and degrading treatment, in contravention 
of Israel’s legal obligations.

Bilal's shackling also violates the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) 
ordinance, which states that a prisoner should not be shackled while in 
hospital unless a real flight or security risk exists. The prisoner's 
health condition must be taken into account and a written justification 
must be given. As has happened with other Palestinian hunger strikers, 
Bilal’s health condition was not taken into account and no justification 
was given for his shackling. Furthermore, PHRI has also requested 
Bilal's access to an independent doctor and the IPS has rejected the 

Bilal's treatment indicates that Israel's political considerations are 
at play in preventing hunger strikes as a form of legitimate protest, 
and these practices operate in contravention of medical and humanitarian 
needs. Hunger striking is a non-violent form of protest, and often the 
only recourse for prisoners to draw attention to an issue. Palestinian 
prisoners go on hunger strikes to protest Israel's arbitrary and abusive 
detention policies, whereby Palestinians face secret evidence before 
military tribunals and can be jailed for months or even years without 
facing formal charges or a trial via the use of administrative 
detention. As per Addameer's numbers for May 2016, there are 715 
Palestinians currently held in administrative detention by Israel, all 
held under secret evidence.

Notably, in its 2016 concluding observations, the UN Committee Against 
Torture 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); and “guarantee that persons 
deprived of liberty who engage in hunger strikes are never subjected to 
ill-treatment or punished for engaging in a hunger strike, and are 
provided with necessary medical care in accordance with their wishes” 
(para. 27).

We call on the international community to urge Israel to release Bilal 
Kayed immediately, to end the harsh, inhuman and degrading practices 
that pressure hunger strikers to end their strikes, and to 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 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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