Saturday, May 27, 2017

Palestinian hunger-strikers’ medical condition is deteriorating after 40 days

The medical condition of dozens of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners is deteriorating and many more prisoners have been hospitalized over the past four days, representatives of the strikers have announced. 

Some 40 prisoners have been moved from the Ohalei Kedar Prison to hospitals around the country, and 20 have been taken from Hadarim Prison to Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Administration statement.

Lawyers who met with some of the prisoners have said that the information accumulating from the prisons is very worrisome and indicates particular severe detention conditions. In addition to prisoner transfers being made under difficult circumstances, the Palestinian Prisoners Club quoted prisoner Mohammed Alul, who has been participating in the hunger strike since its beginning (40 days), having said that the prisoners were being held in small rooms with filthy, bug infested sheets and are not supplied with changes of clothing.

Attorney Hanan Alhatib said the Israel Prison Service is not supplying information about the condition of individual prisoners and that ambulances are now stationed regularly at the prisons to transport prisoners to hospital or to a prison clinic.
Meanwhile, Hadash MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List) and the Adalah Center for Arab Minority Rights petitioned the Supreme Court on Wednesday, May 24, against a decision by the Knesset House Committee, along with orders from the Prison Service Commission, forbidding MKs from visiting security prisoners. The petitioners demanded that the prison service allow Jabareen to immediately visit Marwan Barghouti, one of the leaders of the hunger strikers. Attorney Muna Haddad of Adalah argued that the visits were crucial and that blocking them frustrates proper parliamentary oversight of the prisoners’ detention conditions, which, she noted, is even more important during a hunger strike.
“The reports and complaints being received of violations of the prisoners’ rights at this time require parliamentary investigation. The refusal to enable a meeting with Barghouti, with no explanation and in violation of the law, constitutes a serious breach of an MK’s right to travel freely throughout the country and to operate unhindered and independently in the course of performing his or her duties,” she said.
“We are receiving reports of serious violations of the hunger-striking prisoners’ rights, and it is my right and my duty to investigate these matters as part of my work as an MK,” said Jabareen. “It is my role as an elected official to monitor the Israel Prison Service’s conduct and it is inconceivable that I am forbidden to visit prisoners.”
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A man gestures in front of a poster bearing
the portrait of jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti.
Over a thousand Palestinian prisoners and detainees launched a hunger strike on 17 April. They have presented a series of legitimate demands relating to the inhumane conditions in which they are held, including draconian restrictions on family visits; an absolute prohibition against “security” prisoners using the telephone; denial of access to medical and educational services at a due standard; incarceration in isolation (which is considered torture); improper use of administration detention, i.e. detention without trial. According to figures provided by the Israel Prison Service, Israel was holding 486 Palestinians in administrative detention as of 30 April 2017.