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Hunger Strikes Protesting Administrative Detention and Israel's Arbitrary Practices against Palestinian Prisoners

Sunday, 31 May 2015 15:05 Ref.: 54/2015
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Since the beginning of the occupation, Palestinian civilians have been subjected to the policy of administrative detention carried out by the Israeli military where Palestinians are held as prisoners without being charged or allowed a trial. Administrative detention can last between one to six months and can be renewed indefinitely. According to Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, there are 414 Palestinians currently held in Israeli prisons under administrative detention. According to Addameer and the Palestinian Prisoner Association, there are currently five Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, two of whom are held in administrative detention. Khadr Adnan Mousa and Muhammad Al-Aqra' commenced a hunger strike on 6 May and 17 May 2015 respectively, protesting their administrative detention.  

The plight of Khadr Adnan highlights the injustice of Israel’s administrative detention policy. 37-year-old Khadr has been held under administrative detention since August 2014. He is a resident of 'Arraba, Jenin, married to Randa Mousa, 36, and a father of six children; Ma'ali, 6, Bisan, 4, Abd Al-Rahman, 3, and the triplets Muhammad, Ali, and Hamza, 1.

In December 2011 Khadr was placed under administrative detention and was on hunger strike for at least 66 days protesting his administrative detention by Israel, putting him at grave risk of death. Khadr was released two months following the hunger strike in 2012 but was rearrested in August 2014. He was sentenced to six months of administrative detention without charge. He was scheduled to be released on 7 January 2015 yet he received another six-month extension under administrative detention for no clear reason. On 6 January 2015, Khadr was transferred into solitary confinement and commenced a hunger strike that lasted until 13 January 2015. As a result, he was removed from solitary confinement but remained under administrative detention.

On 6 May 2015, Khadr commenced another hunger strike against his prolonged administrative detention which has been extended three times since his last arrest. Khadr was imprisoned in Hadarim Prison in Israel and was transferred to Al-Ramla prison hospital on 19 May due to his continuously deteriorating health condition.

Al-Haq condemns Israel's policy of administrative detention against Palestinians which violates international human rights law (IHRL) and international humanitarian law (IHL). According to IHL, the Occupying Power is permitted to detain persons as long as the reasons for internment are exceptional and each case must be decided individually. Administrative detainees have the right to have their detention reconsidered by an appropriate court or administrative board at least twice a year[1]. Also, the detainees must be held within the frontiers of the occupied territory itself. Under IHRL, individuals have the right to be informed of the charges against them at the time of arrest, be brought promptly before a judge, challenge the lawfulness of the detention, and the right to access a lawyer among other rights, amongst other due process and fair trial rights. Al-Haq demands that Israel immediately ends its illegal practice of administrative detention and calls for the release of all administrative detainees. 

Further, in its latest press briefing, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated its concern "at the continued and increasing use of administrative detention by Israeli authorities against Palestinians" and called on Israel to end its practice of administrative detention.

Notably, three other prisoners that have been sentenced have also engaged in hunger strikes due to ill-treatment. Muhammad Rashdan commenced his hunger strike on 21 May 2015 protesting Israel denying him family visits, while Hamza Sawawin ended his hunger strike on 30 May 2015 against his solitary confinement which lasted for 12 days. Additionally, Saddam 'Awad has started a hunger strike on 24 May 2015 in solidarity with Khadr Adnan and other prisoners.

 


[1] Selected Articles on International Humanitarian Law, page 388, Volume 87, Number 858, June 2005, available at: [https://www.icrc.org/eng/assets/files/other/irrc_858_pejic.pdf]

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