Detainees in Israeli jails announce hunger strike
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli jails announced a hunger strike on Saturday to protest prison conditions.
The strike was in response to abuse by Israeli guards and the escalation of arbitrary procedures carried out by the Israeli prison administration, a statement from the Prisoners’ Society said.
Head of the society’s Hebron branch Amjad An-Najjar said events would be organized in solidarity with detainees. Prisoners’ relatives would hold a sit-in outside the Red Cross office in Hebron on Sunday, he said, which Minister for Detainees’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe and national head of the prisoners’ society Qadura Fares would attend.
“We are looking forward to a wide range of participation in Sunday’s events held in solidarity with prisoners,” An-Najjar said, adding that activities would continue until prisoners were released.
The Ministry of Detainees’ Affairs said that as of September Israel was detaining almost 7,000 Palestinian prisoners in 22 prisons and interrogation centers.
The ministry’s report said 103 prisoners had died inside Israeli jails due to medical negligence, torture, and assaults by Israeli guards, who in some instances fired live ammunition at detainees.
The report said 4,847 prisoners had been sentenced, 792 to life imprisonment, while 806 detainees were awaiting trial. The Israeli intelligence service is detaining a further 164 prisoners in interrogation centers, the report added.
According to the ministry, Israel is holding 199 Palestinians in administrative detention, a procedure established under Israeli military order 1591 that allows the Israeli military to hold detainees indefinitely on secret evidence without charging them or allowing them to stand trial.
Under the provision, individuals can be held for a period of up to six months without charge. The term is indefinitely renewable. Hasan Zahi As’ad As-Safadi, 32, from Nablus, has been held in administrative detention since June 2007, and two minors are currently being administratively detained, the ministry said.
Israeli peace group B’Tselem has said Israel’s use of administrative detention “blatantly violates” international law and is “carried out under the thick cover of privilege.”
The rights group called on the Israeli government “to release all administrative detainees or prosecute them, in accordance with due process, for the offenses they allegedly committed.
“As long as Israel continues to use administrative detention, it must do so in a way that comports with international law – only in the most exceptional cases, when there is no other alternative, and in a proportionate manner.”
Arabs protest against “brutal repression” of Palestinians in Israeli jails
Sept 25 (Saba) — Several Palestinian factions and Arab trade unions and non-government organizations staged Saturday demonstrations in the West Bank, Amman and Damascus in protest against the escalating aggressions by the Israeli prison authorities on the Palestinian prisoners, according to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).
The protests followed revelations that the guards of Ramon and Ofer prison and Hadarim Detention Center attacked, and used tear gas against, Palestinian prisoners, injuring 15 of them.
In Ramallah relatives of the detainees and sympathizers from the Palestinian political forces and human rights institutions staged a sit-in front of the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
They raised banners, showing solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners and urging for putting the prisoners’ release high on the agenda of the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.
Speaking to KUNA, Qaddourah Fares, chairman of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS), said: “The sit-in aims to send several message; the first to the prisoners that there are people who remember you and your valiant struggle against the occupation authorities; the second to the National Authority at the onset of the talks with Israel.” “The PPS is arranging with other Palestinian institutions to sue Israel at international courts for the brutal repression of the prisoners,” he disclosed.
“We will pursue the international legal and media campaign against Israel to expose the Israeli crimes to the international public opinion,” said Helmi Al-Aaraj, a human rights activist.
Esam Baker, member of the politburo of the People’s Party, said Rabat, capital of Morocco, will host an international conference on the issue of the Palestinian detainees in mid October.
“This issue is a result, not a cause, of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. There must be a time-table for the release of all Palestinian political prisoners,” Baker stressed.
In Damascus the higher committee on follow-up of the Palestinian national congress and the Damascus-based factions staged a mass rally at Al-Yarmouk refugee camp.
The protesters issued a statement, urging the regional and international organizations foremost among which are the United Nations and the ICRC to step in and halt the Israeli violations.
In Amman, Jordanian trade unions and political parties staged a mass rally in front of the Professional Associations Complex (PAC) in solidarity with the Palestinian and other Arab prisoners in Israeli jails.
They called for pressures on Israel to meet the internationally-recognized legal criterions relating to prosecutions and prisons, alleviate the suffering of prisoners and work for their early release.
Early this month a scandal broke out when Israeli ex-soldier Eden Aberdzhil published photographs from her “discharge album” which verifies repression and torture systematically perpetrated against the Palestinian prisoners. One of the photos shows the woman posing on the background of the Palestinians who had their hands tied and were blindfolded.