Open-Ended Hunger Strike of 7 Palestinian Detainees Enters 30th Day

RAMALLAH, September 19, 2015 (WAFA) – The open-ended hunger strike of seven Palestinian detainees in protest of their administrative detention without charge and trial in israeli  jails has entered the 30th consecutive day, said Palestinian Detainees and Ex-detainees Committee.

The committee said in a press statement that the seven detainees, who has stopped taking nutrients, continue to be held in solitary confinement amidst very poor hygiene conditions.

The six detainees are identified as lawyer Nidal Abu ‘Akr, 45, detained in Ashkelon prison, Bilal al-Saifi, detained in Majeddo prison, Ghassan Zawahra, 32, detained in Eshel prison, Bader al-Ruzza, and Munir Abu Sharrar, both detained in al-Naqab (Negev) prison, Sahdi Ma‘ali, 39, detained in Dekel prison, and Salman Skafi, detained in Nafha prison.

The committee added that the seven detainees are facing an imminent life-threatening danger as a result of their ongoing detention by the Israeli prison services with criminal prisoners, in order to force them to end their hunger strike.

The detainees, according to the committee’s press statement, have lost a great deal of their weight and have become incapable of moving and standing up. They have also been suffering from sharp pains.

Furthermore, other Palestinian detainees, who refrained from taking their meals in solidarity with the aforementioned prisoners, threatened to start an open-ended hunger strike if the Israeli government would not meet the hunger-strikers’ demands.

Meanwhile, the committee noted that the health situation of Ahed Abu Dayyak, 33, who is sentenced to three life sentences and 30 years in jail, has sharply deteriorated as a result of deliberate medical negligence by the Israeli prison administration.

The committee explained that Abu Dayyak underwent a tumor excision surgery on his intestines in Israeli Soroka medical center, where doctors removed almost 80 centimeters of his large bowl.

It explained that Abu Dayyak was not provided with the crucial medical care at Soroka center, adding that they transferred him to another hospital too early, given the severity of his medical condition.

The committee said Abu Dayyak was later moved to al-Ramala hospital in an unfit vehicle, which caused him a severe surgical wound infection.  As a result, he was moved to Asaf Haroveh hospital.

He is still laying in a coma connected to a ventilator to assist his breathing, where his medical condition remains critical.

This came ten days after some of the seven hunger strikers demanded that an international committee of inquiry to be formed in order to investigate their arbitrary administrative detention of Palestinian detainees by Israeli Prison Service (IPS).

The detainees started their open-ended hunger strike on August 20 and gave the IPS until September 1 to respond to their demands to end their administrative detention. They have already warned that if IPS fails to do that, they would stop taking liquids as well.

The committee noted in a previous report that the health condition of hunger-striking detainees is “seriously deteriorating” and that it has requested the Red Cross to intervene in order for them to be hospitalized.

Highlighting the deteriorating health condition of Abu ‘Akr, the committee had revealed that Abu ‘Akr, who is a father of three children and has been held in administrative detention since 28 June 2014,  has lost 10 kilograms and has been suffering from stomach and arterial problems and high cholesterol.

Abu ‘Akr previously underwent a knee replacement surgery and used to take five types of medication. He has already warned that he and the rest of hunger strikers would boycott Israeli courts for holding false and unjust trials.

The committee had also explained in a previous report that the detainees would not end their hunger strike unless a set of demands is met.

The hunger strikers demanded the abolishment of detention without charge or trial, the formation of an international committee of inquiry to be tasked with investigating the arbitrary administrative detention, the provision of emotional and financial compensation for administrative detainees and the termination of the Israeli force-feeding law.

Under administrative detention rules, Israel may detain Palestinians without charge or trial and on the basis of secret evidence for up to six months, indefinitely renewable by Israeli military courts.

The use of administrative detention dates back to the emergency laws of the British colonial era in Palestine, said the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.

Many human rights groups have accused Israel of using administrative detention as a routine form of collective punishment against Palestinians, as well as using it when failing to obtain confessions during interrogation.

There are around 500 detainees serving administrative detention in Israeli jails. Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes as a way to protest their illegal administrative detention and to demand an end to this policy, which violates international law.