Thursday, May 10, 2012

Palestinian Hunger Strikers in ‘Immediate Danger of Death’

The report below is published through emails by the PWWSD association, it is very important to be propagated:

The Palestinian Working Women’s Society for Development would like to express its extreme concern regarding the fate of over 1500 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli prisons.

Two men, Bilal Diyab and Tha’er Halahla, are currently in immediate danger of death following their 73rd day of hunger strike against the Israeli government practice of administrative detention. Under administrative detention, detainees can be held by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) in Israeli prisons for 3 months at a time without charge or trial, and with indefinite renewal of the detention after 3 month periods.

On Monday the 7th May the Israeli supreme court rejected appeals by the two men against their administrative detention, citing a need for further review of secret evidence held against them, as act  described as a ‘death sentence’ by Physicians for Human Rights. Both men attended the hearing in wheelchairs, being too weak to walk, while Mr. Diab was rushed out for medical treatment after fainting in the courtroom. Despite their critical conditions, and in spite of coming under prolonged pressure by the IPS to break their strikes, both men have refused.

Since March 2012, more than 1500 prisoners have joined Bilal Diyab and Tha’er Halahla in hunger strikes throughout Israeli prisons, protesting increasing restrictions of family and lawyer visitations, the practice of prolonged solitary confinement and deteriorating and continued inhumane treatment by the IPS. 8 prisoners are now said to be in critical condition.

Following noted silence by international bodies and media outlets regarding the status of the Palestinian hunger strikers, Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, on the 10th of May issued a statement stressing “the importance of averting any further deterioration of their [the strikers] condition”. He went on to state that “those detained must be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees, or released without delay”.

The Palestinian Working Women’s Society for Development, as an organization committed to the promotion of social justice and protection of human rights, condemns the practice of administrative detention of Palestinian citizens. It calls for the immediate charge or release of both Bilal Diyab and Tha’er Halahla, and for other administrative detainees being held indefinitely without charge. The PWWSD also condemns the practice of prolonged solitary confinement, and asks that family members, particularly those of prisoners from Gaza, be allowed visitation rights.