Saturday, 8 October 2011

Addameer on prisoners' movement and hungerstrike


Public announcement by Addameer

For joining in the hunger strike, which is approaching the 7th day:

Punishment, isolation, interdiction of advocats’

The movement of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails has started a hunger strike 6 days ago, after the Israeli prison administration had decreased the free space of prisoners significantly. The measures were taken as part of a discriminating media campaign launched by the Israeli government, misleading public international opinion. This campaign was the introduction to a process of vengeful punishments towards the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in order to deprive them of their most basic rights.

The president of the occupying government was quoted on June 23rd 2011 saying, that „ the times of privilege for the terrorists in prison are over“. Addameer notes that since then the Israeli prisons administration implemented a series of actions which turned the situation in the prisons upside down. Examples for these actions are: the prevention of education, the prohibition to bring books and clothes into the prison, increasing isolation treatment of prisoners, introducing monetary penalties of rather large amounts, giving the impression of a revenge treatment, constraining prisoners during lawyer consultation, decreasing the amount of vegetables in prisoners nutrition from 3,5 kg to 1,7kg, preventing visits among inmates of cells and sections in the prison in addition to the continuous isolation treatment 20 prisoners are currently suffering from and preventing a few prisoners from receiving family visits. Among these prisoners is Ahmed Sa’adat, the general secretary of the PFLP and the leaders of Hamas, Ibrahim Hamed, Abbas Assayed, Mahmud Issa, Abdullah Barghouti. At the same time, 2000 Palestinian prisoners have been deprived from their right to family visits and phone calls continuously for the last five years. 700 among these prisoners are from the Gaza strip. Since last June attacks on prisoners by special forces („Nachschon“ and „Drur“) in cells and sections have been witnessed, something which was unknown before. The attacks happened in the late evening hours. During the attacks these special forces used extreme violence against the prisoners, resulting in severe physical injuries. In addition, the prisons administration decreased the duration of family visits from the usual 45mins biweekly to 30 mins once a month. These are the reasons, which lead to the hunger strike, launched by the prisoners’ movement on the 27th of October. This is the last resource to enforce the rights of male and female prisoners, which had been achieved due to great sacrifices in the past.

In the beginning, the PFLP prisoners announced the start of the open hunger strike, carrying the demands of the prisoners’ movement on their shoulders. In an agreement of all political parties, it has been decided that the remaining parties will join in the hungerstrike on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. In case demands would not be met, all political parties intented to participate in the hunger strike indefinitely. This became necessary in the following days. The leaders of the prisoners’ movement increased the measures taken in the hunger strike step by step, excluding sick prisoners in oder to provide them with adequate nutrition and medication.

The Israeli prisons administration responded by isolating dozens of prisoners, including for female prisoners in isolation treatment. At times the prisoners were isolated in tiny cells and photographed with plates of food in front of them. It so happened to inmate Ahmad Abu Al Saud in Rimon prison. The prisoners’ administration also prevented lawyers to visit the inmates on strike. This morning, the Nafha prison administration prevented Addameers lawyer to consult with their clients Ahmad Sa’adat and Jamal Abu Alhyjaa, even though permission was granted the previous day.

Parallely the administration continued the transfer of prisoners in between prisons in order to increase pressure and deconstruct organisational structures of the strike.

Addameer considers the prisoners’ movement demands to be legitimate. Since the beginning of July 2011, legal and human rights associations as well as the Ministry for Prisoners has been trying to raise attention to the aggravation of the situation inside Israeli jails, which occurred due to the oppressive measures implemented upon Palestinian prisoners by the Israeli prison administrations.

Addammeer believes that the protection of prisoners and the success of the prisoners movement campaigns demands and deserves joint efforts of all legal, political and human rights organisations to force the occupying government into treating the inmates according to international law, especially focussing on the 3rd and 4th paragraphs of the Geneva conventions.

In conclusion, Addameer demands:

- To acknowledge the necessity of acceleration and construction of a unified, clear Palestinian strategy, including the mobilisation of a Palestinian popular movement in order to support the prisoners’ demands and freedom through participation in the activities which have been put in place by the popular national associations.

- The international organisations working in the occupied Palestinian territories are asked to attend to their legal responsibilities towards the prisoners’ rights.

- The International Red Cross should break the silence and expose the Israeli excesses in violating the rights of Palestinian prisoners and demand Israeli authorities to respect the ICRC instead of subjecting the organisation to oppressive measures

- The Palestinian national movement should move the prisoners’ rights, freedom and the current hunger strike to the top of the priority list.

- The prisoners’ movement to hold on to their demands and stay unified

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