Six Palestinians on open-ended hunger strikes demand end of their illegal administrative detention : Peoples Dispatch

Six Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli custody are on an open-ended hunger strike to protest their illegal detention. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS), more detainees are expected to join the collective strike in the coming days. The prisoners’ rights group warned of a real “explosion” in protests in Israeli detention centers and prisons against the long running discrimination, brutality and mistreatment from Israeli authorities, particularly against those in administrative detention.

In a statement, the PPS said that “it is expected that nine other detainees will join the hunger strike soon against their administrative detention. The number of prisoners on hunger strike will gradually double over the coming days.” 

The six detainees currently on hunger strike have been identified as Kayed Fasfous, Sultan Khallouf, Saif Hamdan, Osama Khalil, Salah Rabaya, and Qusay Khader. Fasfous started his hunger strike six days ago, Khallouf eight days ago, and the remaining four 10 days ago. 

Under the policy of administrative detention, Israeli authorities can arrest and detain Palestinians indefinitely for prolonged periods of time without charge or trial, with the detention orders renewable in intervals of three to six months. The detainees are arrested based on secret evidence which is not shared with them or their lawyers.

The striking detainees are demanding that the Israeli prison authorities immediately and unconditionally release them from arbitrary detention. They are also demanding better conditions and treatment for prisoners. Israeli authorities are accused of placing prisoners in solitary confinement for prolonged periods, arbitrarily raiding prison cells, separating and transferring prisoners abruptly based on political and other affiliations, and other maltreatment. 

The detainees along with several other prisoners have also resorted to other forms of protest including holding sit-ins, refusing medical care visits to the prison clinic, refusing to attend roll calls, closing their respective sections of the prison, refusing to wear prison uniforms, among others. A number of these protest actions are scheduled to be held again in the next few days.

Meanwhile, the PPS has appealed to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other international human rights groups and organizations including the United Nations to take immediate action and increase pressure on Israel to end the policy of administrative detention, which it described as “racist extremism” that “in its form and content violates all international norms and covenants.” According to current statistics, at least 1,132 Palestinians are being held under the policy of administrative detention by Israel. A recent human rights report highlighted the figure as the highest in the last 34 years. 

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