On Palestinian Prisoner Day: Al Mezan Reflects on Israeli Authorities Continued Denial of Basic Rights
- There are approximately 4,900 Palestinian prisoners and detainees currently held in Israeli prisons and detention centers according to estimations by experts on Palestinian prisonersí issues
- Israel continues incarceration and ill-treatment of Palestinians who have sometimes been detained without charge or trial, for their resistance to the Israeli occupation and its illegal policies and practices
- Al Mezan expresses its concern for the lives of Palestinian detainees on hunger strike and reiterates its strong condemnation of Israeli flagrant violations in regards to the detention of Palestinian detainees, including the Unlawful Combatant Law and administrative detention
According to the estimations of Mr Abdel Nasser Ferwana, expert on Palestinian prisonersí issues, there are approximately 4,900 Palestinian prisoners and detainees currently held in Israeli prisons and detention centers. Of those, 235 are children, 14 women, 168 are Ďadministrative detaineesí, 2 former ministers, and 14 parliament members. According to Al Mezanís interviews with 300 ex-detainees who were released in the prisoner swap on 18 October 2011, Palestinian detainees are routinely subjected to both physical and psychological abuse while in detention. Many of the ex-detainees reported medical negligence as delays in treatment, insufficient treatment, and medical neglect.
Since the beginning of January 2013, an alarming two Palestinian prisoners have died while in Israeli detention. In the evening hours of Saturday 23 February 2013, detainee Arafat Jaradat, 30, died after interrogation while in Majeddo prison. Jaradatís family maintains that Jaradat, having been in long standing good health, died due to torture during the interrogations. In the morning hours of Tuesday 2 April 2013, Maysara Ahmed Abu Hamdiyawas pronounced dead in the intensive care unit at Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva, Israel. Prior to his death, Abu Hamdiya reported delays in medical care and ill treatment. After determined to be terminally ill, he was not released from prison, a move that Al Mezan sharply criticizes.
Prisoner, Samer Tareq Al Aíisawi, 33, is continuing his hunger strike for the 261st consecutive day.On 7 July 2012, the occupation authorities re-arrested him after he was released in the prisoner swap on 18 October 2011.He has served 10 years of his 30 year imprisonment. On 2 August 2012, he started his hunger strike in protest against his re-arrest, solitary confinement, and prevention of family and lawyer visits.He now suffers from oscillations of heart rate, pain in his kidneys, chest, and head, and shivers in his body. The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) offered him a deal to be exiled to Europe in order to end his hunger strike but he refused.
Mr. Samir Zaqout, Director of Fieldwork and Monitoring at Al Mezan stated: ďwe express our concern for the detaineesí health and lives and our solidarity with Palestinian and Arab detainees in Israeli prisons, and hold the Israeli authorities responsible for their well-being.We strongly condemn Israelís gross abuses of Palestinian detainees, starting with the Unlawful Combatant Law, the policy of administrative detention, and other procedures that violate detaineesí rights, including solitary confinement, medical negligence, barring of family visitation, and other practicesĒ.
Al Mezan, in observance of Palestinian Prisoners Day, demands that the international community-especially the signatory parties to the Geneva Conventions-put pressure on the occupying state and force it to respect its obligations under international law, and to treat detainees humanely in keeping with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners issued in 1955, and other relevant international standards.There must also be steps taken towards guarantees of the release of all Palestinian prisoners, especially those thrown in prison without charge or fair trial, including appeal to all means of defense.