UPDATE: As of the evening of 17 December, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society announced that the strike is suspended and that an agreement will be announced shortly. This action is suspended until further details.
Over 100 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails are now participating in a collective hunger strike, as prisoners from Eshel and Ramon prisons joined the strike demanding an end to the policy of solitary confinement and in solidarity with Nahar al-Saadi, who has been held in solitary confinement since May 2013 and has been on hunger strike since 20 November. The collective strike was launched by 70 prisoners on 9 December. The strikers are demanding al-Saadi’s release from isolation; regular family visits for al-Saadi; and an end to the use of solitary confinement and isolation against Palestinian prisoners.
Al-Saadi, in isolation for a year and seven months, has been denied family visits and medical treatment, and was denied a lawyer visit just this week. Take Action today: Demand an end to solitary confinement and isolation!
Addameer and Physicians for Human Rights issued an urgent call regarding the situation of Nahar al-Saadi, calling for an immediate end to solitary confinement. Isolation and solitary confinement are forms of torture, and Israel’s use of administrative detention is contrary to international law and human rights standards. Isolation is recognized by the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Torture as a form of torture when used for extended periods, as it is in Israeli prisons.
As Addameer and PHR report, “The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture details the severe psychological effects of solitary confinement, including that it causes ‘psychotic disturbances’… anxiety, depression, anger, cognitive disturbances, perceptual distortions, paranoia and psychosis and self-harm.’ Solitary confinement can also cause physiological damage. Prisoners often develop ‘gastroenterology, vascular, urinary and reproductive system illnesses as well as suffer from sleep disturbances and extreme fatigue. They also complain of tremors, recurrences of heart palpitations, recurrences of excessive perspiration.’
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society also reported that a meeting is being held between the leadership of the strike and the prison officials in Nafha prisons, as of the evening of 16 December.
Depending on the outcome of these discussions, it is expected that more prisoners will join the strike in coming days, in the event that the prison administration continues to reject the demands of striking prisoners. The Israeli prison administration has been imposing severe repression on the hunger strikers in an attempt to break the strike, transferring them from prison to prison, isolating 30 of them, threatening them and in some cases transferring them to Israeli “criminal” prison sections, away from other Palestinian political prisoners, as well as engaging in frequent violent raids and inspections in strikers’ rooms. Hussam Abed, one of the prisoners on hunger strike, said that he was denied salt and sugar, which he had been taking with water, by occupation prison officials.
IMEMC reported that “the detainees, held in solitary confinement, are currently in the prisons of Eshil, Nafha, Majeddo, Asqalan, Ramla and Ramon, facing very harsh living conditions and constant violations.
In addition, the Palestinian Prisoners Society has reported that the Prison Administration in the Negev Detention Camp has informed 45 striking detainees it intends to transfer them to other, unspecified prisons.”
Rafat Hamdouna, director of the Prisoners Center for Studies, said that the prisoners’ movement will not allow an open hunger strike to drag on for tens of days, urging international institutions to intervene and resolve this issue, and for broad actions in solidarity to ensure the success of the strike which aims, once more, to end the policy of isolation and solitary confinement.
In May 2012, in order to end the collective hunger strike of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, the Israeli prison administration agreed to end the use of solitary confinement and isolation, releasing the 19 then held in isolation into general population. Since that time, the use of isolation and solitary confinement by Israeli prisons has been escalating, sparking this renewed hunger strike.
- the release of Nahar al-Saadi from solitary confinement
- restoration of family and legal visits to Nahar al-Saadi, and proper medical access and treatment
- an end to the use of solitary confinement and isolation against Palestinian political prisoners
1. Take action and demand an end to the use of solitary confinement and isolation, and the release of Nahar al-Saadi from solitary confinement.
2. Take action for Palestinian prisoners: protest at an Israeli consulate or embassy, or hold an educational event Palestinian prisoners. Share this alert on solitary confinement and the hunger strike.
3. Join the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions. Isolate Israel for its mass political imprisonment of Palestinians. Boycott products like HP and SodaStream, and demand an end to security contracts with G4S, which operates in Israeli prisons. Learn more at bdsmovement.net.