Deep concern mounts for Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli prisons

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Expressing grave fear for the lives of five Palestinians currently on hunger strike in Israeli prisons, UN experts today called on Israel to either release or charge the prisoners, and to completely end its unlawful practice of administrative detention.

“In violation of international law, Israel continues to use administrative detention to imprison more than 500 Palestinians – including six children – without charges, without trials, without convictions, all based on classified secret information that the detainees have no access to,” the Human Rights Council-appointed experts said.

“They have no recourse to challenging these undisclosed allegations, and they do not know when, or if, they are going to be released,” the expert’s statement said.

According to the rights experts, the five hunger strikers, all men in their twenties and thirties, have been refusing food for between 58 and 99 days to protest being held in administrative detention for months or even years at a time.

The rights experts highlighted the cases of two of the men, Kayed Al-Fasous and Miqdad Al-Qawasameh, who are said to be in imminent danger of death. Mr. Al-Fasous who was reportedly held in harsh conditions in solitary confinement, and is now in Barzelai hospital.

Mr. Al Qawasameh was transferred to Kaplan Hospital after his health deteriorated.

He has been in intensive care there since October 19. On October 07 and October 14, the Israeli High Court of Justice suspended their administrative detention orders.

However, the rights experts pointed out that they decided to continue with their strike despite their very frail condition, because the suspension does not mean their release.

Two other men, Alaa Al-Araj, and Hisham Ismail Abu Hawash, were transferred on October 19 to Israeli hospitals after their health detoriated. The fifth, Mr. Shadi Abu Aka is currently in a prison clinic.

The experts noted that Israel has regularly violated its legal duty under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.

This states that an occupying power cannot transfer prisoners from occupied territory, to detention centres in its territory.

UN calls for Israel to comply with its obligation, have come to no avail, the experts said.  “In international law, administrative detention is permitted only in exceptional circumstances, and only for short periods of time. Israel’s practices exceed all of the international legal boundaries.”

The independent experts also called upon Israel to end its harsh detention conditions of Palestinian prisoners.

“The imposition of solitary confinement on detainees already weakened by months of hunger strike, must stop immediately,” they said. (Source: UN News)

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