Palestinian detainees launch hunger strike against administrative detention

Some of the detainees have been on strike for more than 50 days demanding an end to their illegal administrative detention without charge or trial by the state of Israel

October 04, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
"All of our solidarity and support with our prisoner heroes in the hunger strike"

Four more Palestinian detainees have begun hunger strikes to protest their administrative detention in various Israeli jails, the Palestinian prisoners’ society (PPS) reported on Monday. There are now seven detainees on hunger strike.

The prisoners are demanding that the prison authorities end their administrative detention under which they are being held in prison indefinitely without charges or trial for unusually long periods of time. They also have no right to appeal their detention nor do they have any way of knowing what charges have been slapped on them. The three detainees who had first started the hunger strike more than 50 days earlier have altogether served more than 27 years of administrative detention in prison combined.

The four latest detainees to join the hunger strike have also been detained under administrative detention orders without any charge or trial. They have been on strike for the last 6-8 days.

The three detainees who were already on hunger strike for more than 50 days are Ahmed Ghanaam, 42, Tarek Gaadan, 46 and Ismail Ali, 30. Ghanam hails from the village of Dura, southwest of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. He started his hunger strike 82 days ago on 14 July, the same day he was arrested and placed in administrative detention. An Israeli court renewed his detention on September 6, when he was already on day 58 of his hunger strike.

Since Ghanam is already suffering from cancer, his detention and his subsequent hunger strike against the detention have aggravated and worsened his medical condition, putting his life at significant risk and danger. His brother told PPS that Ghanam has been arrested 3 times and has already spent a total of 9 years in administrative detention.

Tarek Gaadan, who has been on a hunger strike for the last 65 days, is from Deir Abu Mashaal village in the northern West Bank. According to the PPS, Gaadan has been arrested 17 times by Israeli forces since 1989 and has spent almost 11 years in Israeli prisons mostly under administrative detention. Gaadan had previously been on hunger strike in 2013 for 96 days against his administrative detention and was later released. He was re-arrested in February this year and placed under administrative detention for six months, and he launched his hunger strike in August after the Israeli authorities extended his detention period.

The third detainee, Ismail Ali, was arrested in January and placed in administrative detention for six months. Ali, who is from Abu Dis, near East Jerusalem, launched his hunger strike in June after his detention was renewed and has been on hunger strike for 72 days. Ali has spent nearly seven years in Israeli prisons.

The three prisoners were joined by Ahmed Zahran, 42, from Deir Abu Mishaal, Musab al-Hindi, 29, from Tal town near the northern west bank city of Nablus, Monir Bassel Sawafta, 36, from Tubas in northern west bank, and Heba al-Labadi, 24, who lives in Jordan and holds both Palestinian and Jordanian citizenship. Zahran has been on hunger strike now for 11 days, Al-Hindi for six days, Sawafta for 15 days and Al-Labadi for nine days.

Al-Labadi was detained while she was traveling with her family to Jenin in the West Bank from Jordan to attend a relative’s wedding and was placed under solitary confinement in Damon prison in Israel after a brutal interrogation that lasted for 25 days. According to human rights organizations she has been subjected to physical torture during her detention and her family has not been allowed to visit her.

Both Zahran and Sawaft were detained by Israeli forces in March of this year while Al-Hindi was detained in September and put under administrative detention. Zahran had already been on a 39 day hunger strike after which the Israeli authorities agreed to release him but when they did not honor the agreement, Zahran decided to relaunch his hunger strike. Sawafta, who was put in administrative detention for six months after he was arrested, has already spent four years in administrative detention in Israeli prisons.

Last week, more than 100 Palestinian prisoners who were on hunger strike in several Israeli jails since September 10 ended their strikes after reaching an agreement with the Israeli prison authorities regarding their demands of the removal of mobile phone signal jamming devices and installation of public pay phones, among others.

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