The health of administrative detainee, Mohammed Allan, significantly deteriorated as he lapsed into a coma while on hunger strike. Allan has been on a peaceful hunger strike for 62 consecutive days in protest of the renewal of his administrative detention order. The attempts by the Israeli prison authority to implement the recently-legislated force-feeding law on Allan endanger his life. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns Israel’s increased use of administrative detention and the force-feeding policy. Al Mezan calls on the international community to intervene to bring the implementation of Israel’s force-feeding law to a halt and to exert pressure on Israel to stop the unlawful use of the oppressive administrative detention. Al Mezan calls for the immediate release of Mohammed Allan.
On 30 July 2015, the Israeli Knesset enacted the "Force-Feeding Law", introduced by the Ministry of Public Security, which authorizes the forcible feeding of hunger striking prisoners. This law is an attempt by the Israeli authorities to prevent Palestinian detainees from accessing their rights to peacefully protest Israeli practices and policies that violate human rights principles.
The attempts to implement the new law on force feeding are the latest in a series of practices that aim to break the will of Mohammed Allan and other Palestinian prisoners and detainees on hunger strike. The numbers of hunger strikers has increased in recent months due to numerous extensions of administrative detention orders, whereby prisoners are held without charge or trial.
The Israeli authorities and courts continue to arrest and detain Palestinians under the Emergency Law of 1945, which was enacted during the British Mandate over Palestine.
This law allows the military authorities to detain Palestinians without trial. The military law allows for unlimited extensions of the administrative detention orders by default procedures. The Israeli authorities continue to disregard the obligations and principles of UN treaty bodies, including calls from the UN Convention Against Torture and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights to stop its use of administrative detention.
Al Mezan recalls the Palestinian victims of force-feeding who died during the procedure. These include Abdel Qader Abu Al Faham, who died on 11 May 1970; Rasem Halawa, who died on 20 July 1980; and Ali Ja’fari, who died on 24 July 1980. Al Mezan asserts that force-feeding is a form of torture and abuse and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and internationally accepted standards of medical ethics. The intent of the law is to permit the use of torture on Palestinian detainees and represents another example of Israel circumventing its legal obligations. Palestinians continue to live in a context where the practices that maintain Israel’s illegal occupation lead to numerous violations that are part and parcel of occupation policies.
It is worth highlighting that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed concern over the force-feeding law, while several UN bodies, a number of UN Special Rapporteurs, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the World Medical Association consider force-feeding as cruel and degrading treatment.
Al Mezan calls for the immediate release of Mohammed Allan and all detainees held under administrative detention in Israel. Al Mezan calls on the international community to take appropriate steps to protect Palestinian detainees held in Israeli prisons and to ensure their care lives up to international standards. Al Mezan calls on the international community to promptly exert pressure on Israel to ensure respect of legal obligations under international law, particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention Against Torture, and to abolish laws that violate international justice principles.
Al Mezan expresses its concern for the life of Allan and asserts that doctors who are proven to have participated in the crime of his force-feeding can be held accountable for international crimes. Al Mezan asserts that the silence of the international community has encouraged Israel to commit such human rights violations.
Al Mezan urges local civil society to express their condemnation of the oppressive and unlawful administrative detention and force-feeding laws and practices by Israel and to express solidarity with Mohammed Allan and other administrative detainees.