Palestinian Prisoners Enter Open-Ended Hunger Strike to Protest Solitary Confinement

RAMALLAH, December 10, 2014 (WAFA) – At least 70 Palestinian political prisoners, held in Israeli jails, entered Wednesday an open-ended hunger strike in solidarity with other fellow inmates held by Israel in solitary confinement as well as in support of sick prisoners whose heath conditions is continuously deteriorating due to the Israeli prison administration’s medical negligence, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC).

Prisoners held in Israeli jails have requested the Israeli prison administration to end the solitary confinement of their fellow inmates, including prisoner al-Saadi, who has been on an open-ended hunger strike since November 20, and gave them until Tuesday to meet their demands, which the prison administration failed to meet, forcing almost 70 prisoners to begin an open ended hunger strike in support of their fellow inmates.

Nahar al-Saadi, a prisoner from Jenin sentenced to four consecutive life sentences, has been placed in solitary confinement for 19 consecutive months by the Israel Prison Service and has since been denied family visits. His mother was also denied access to him in his solitary cell, leading him to launch a hunger strike on November.

Isolated prisoners are held in foul-smelling strictly sealed cells that lack the basic humanitarian requirements, where prisoners are forced to stay all the time in their cells with zero access to the outer world, with the exception of the prison keeper.

Solitary confinement in Israeli prisons has been a frequent motif, besides administrative detention, for launching individual or collective hunger strikes in Israel jails.

According to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez, solitary confinement “causes mental and physical suffering amounting to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

“Prison isolation fits the definition of torture as stated in several international human rights treaties, and thus constitutes a violation of human rights law. For example, the U.N. Convention Against Torture defines torture as any state-sanctioned act “by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person” for information, punishment, intimidation, or for a reason based on discrimination,” reported American friends Service Committee.

To be noted, the number of sick prisoners detained in Israeli jails has reached 1500, of whom 80 prisoners are suffering from serious health problems and do not receive the necessary treatment; they suffer from malignant diseases, paralysis, and disabilities, in addition to cases of mental illness and neurological disorder, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC).