Nahar Ahmad Sa’adi, 32, commenced his hunger strike on 20 November 2014 in Ayalon prison in Israel. Nahar is protesting against being held in solitary confinement since May 2013. On 21 May 2013, Nahar was placed under solitary confinement in Majjido prison and has continued through his transfer to Ayalon prison. He was placed in solitary confinement as a form of punishment, under the pretext of organising acts of resistance against the Israeli occupation from within prison. In addition, Israel has not allowed him family visits since the start of his solitary confinement.
Nahar was recently transferred to a hospital in Al-Ramla prison due to his deteriorating health condition. Nahar was arrested in 2003 from Jenin when he was 20 years old for his affiliation with Al-Quds Brigades.
In solidarity with Nahar, an increasing number of Palestinian prisoners have gone on hunger strike, particularly in Eshel, Rimon and Al-Naqab prisons. According to the Palestinian Prisoners Association, in the last 9 days, there have been 100 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in solidarity with Nahar.
Amna Theeb Sa’adi – Eastern Neighbourhood – Jenin
Six months following his arrest in June 2003, Nahar was sentenced to four life sentences and twenty years in prison. Nahar was moved between several Israeli prisons before his transfer to Ayalon prison. Nahar’s mother, Amna, 70, used to visit him regularly after acquiring a permit through the Red Cross. Amna was the only one that could visit Nahar as the rest of his family members are denied visiting permits by Israel for alleged security reasons. Since Nahar’s placement in solitary confinement, Amna has not been able to visit him. He was accused of planning activities against Israel while in prison. It has been a year and 9 months since she last saw or heard from him or was able to send him money or clothes.
According to Amna, Nahar suffers from kidney disease and backaches. A lawyer appointed by the Palestinian Prisoners Association has been able to visit Nahar. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 10215/2014)
After one such visit on 20 November 2014, a lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoners Association said that Nahar has been on a hunger strike, protesting his solitary confinement and being denied family visits. According to Nahar’s brother, Rabee’, 30, Nahar has been taking salt and water since the commencement of his hunger strike. Nahar’s medical condition is deteriorating. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 10251/2014)
Al-Haq condemns the prolonged 570-day solitary confinement of Nahar Sa’adi and the denial of his mother’s visiting rights. The UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment has noted that the longer the duration of solitary confinement, the greater the risk of serious and irreparable harm to the prisoner. Accordingly, solitary confinement in excess of 15 days should be “subject to an absolute prohibition.” The Special Rapporteur on torture, the Human Rights Committee, and the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment have all noted that prolonged solitary confinement may amount to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. While this assessment should be made on a case-by-case basis, the Special Rapporteur has affirmed that “solitary confinement, when used for the purpose of punishment, cannot be justified for any reason” and constitutes a breach of both the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment (CAT) as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Israel is a party to both the CAT and the ICCPR.
Indeed during its recent Concluding Observations on Israel published in October 2014, the Human Rights Committee recalled that “the prohibition of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in Article 7 is absolute and that no derogations are permitted even in time of public emergency and therefore, the State party should explicitly prohibit torture, including psychological torture”.
In addition to Nahar’s solitary confinement, Al-Haq objects to the denial of his mother’s visitation rights. The Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners as well as the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any form of Detention or Imprisonment note that prisoners should be allowed to communicate and correspond with the outside world, including by receiving family visits.
Last, under international humanitarian law (IHL), Israel has an obligation to ensure that Palestinian detainees are held and serve their sentences within the frontiers of the occupied territory itself.