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Israel Pressurises Hunger-Striker to Accept Forcible Transfer to Gaza Strip

Tuesday, 26 March 2013 19:03 Ref.: 73/2013
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hunger-strike-cartoonOccupied Ramallah, 26 March 2013 – Addameer and Al-Haq are gravely concerned about the deteriorating health conditions of four Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli detention centres. In particular, the condition of Samer Al-Issawi, who has been on partial hunger strike since 1 August 2012, has reached a critical level. Israeli authorities have been pressurising Samer to accept a deal that would see him forcibly transferred to the Gaza Strip in return for him ending his strike. Samer has repeatedly refused to accept any such deal, which is a blatant violation of the prohibition of the forcible transfer of the protected Palestinian population. He was scheduled to have a court hearing three days ago; however, this was postponed until May. Unless there is a positive change in the immediate future, this postponement is tantamount to a death sentence for Samer.

Samer is currently being held at Kaplan civilian hospital. His weight has dropped to just 45 kilograms and his heart rate to 28 beats per minute (a normal heartbeat ranges from 60-100 bpm). He is also suffering from a lack of sugar and salt, low blood pressure and liver and kidney problems, as well as severe pain in his abdomen. It was reported that Samer had stopped drinking water earlier this month and he has expressed his determination to continue his hunger strike until he is released. Media reports have quoted Israeli doctors as saying that Samer's heart could stop at any moment. Addameer has been prohibited by the Israeli authorities from visiting Samer since 13 March 2013.

Administrative detainee Younis Al-Hroub has been on hunger strike since 19 February 2013 to protest against his continued detention without charge or trial. He is only consuming water and salt and was transferred to Soroka civilian hospital on 12 March, where his arms and legs are shackled to his bed. Since beginning his hunger strike, Younis has lost 16 kilograms and suffers from pains in his stomach and chest. He is being guarded by four Israeli soldiers, who have been eating and drinking in the room where Younis is being held. Younis has been held under administrative detention since his arrest on 10 July 2012.

Fellow administrative detainee Samer Al-Barq today enters his twenty-eight day of renewed hunger strike. He is currently being held in isolation at Hadarim as punishment for his strike. Samer has embarked on three hunger strikes over the past two years, all in protest against his continued detention without charge or trial. Addameer has been prohibited from visiting Samer since 7 March 2013.

We can also confirm that Ammar Musa, from Jenin, began a hunger strike on 16 March 2013. Ammar who was arrested in July 2003 and sentenced to 21 years imprisonment, began his hunger strike in protest against the refusal of the Israeli Prison Service to allow family visits, which is a violation of international law.

Addameer and Al-Haq call upon the international community to ensure that Israel abides by its legal obligations with regard to Palestinian prisoners, including the right to a fair trial and to humane treatment. Israel should also respect the conditions of the most recent prisoner exchange, under which Samer Al-Issawi was released. Instead of addressing the legitimate reasons for the ongoing hunger strikes, Israel is repeatedly resorting to the forcible transfer of Palestinian prisoners to the Gaza Strip in response to the protests. Both Hana Shalabi and Ayman Sharawna have both been subjected to forcible transfer in the recent past. This practice, along with the denial of the right to a fair trial, amounts to a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The willingness of the international community to turn a blind eye to Israel’s international crimes simply encourages the repetition of these same violations by the Occupying Power. Every possible pressure must be placed on Israel without delay to ensure that Samer Al-Issawi is not allowed to die while protesting for the rights afforded to him under international law.

 

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