Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike - ADC

Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike

Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike

  • August 20, 2004
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Washington, D.C., August 20-Anguished by the current conditions in Israeli prisons in which they are kept, approximately 1,500 Palestinian prisoners went on a hunger strike this past Sunday. They have been joined by other prisoners bringing the number of those on the hunger strike to approximately 2,264. Prisoner’s rights groups and families of those serving in the facilities also participated in sit down protests. According to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Affairs Minster, Hisham Abdelrazaq, “this hunger strike is not a political strike,” instead he added, “it’s a strike about basic fundamental rights.”
The protest calls on Israeli officials to address a wide range of issues concerning the inhumane treatment of prisoners by guards, as well as the overall harsh and deplorable conditions of the prisons themselves. The prisoners are requesting the cessation of humiliating and unnecessary strip searches, more frequent family visits, improving sanitary conditions, installing public telephones, providing better medical care, allowing prisoners to pursue their education by registering at Palestinian and foreign universities, reducing prison crowding, and “ending the policy of beating detainees en route to courts.”
In response to these demonstrations, Israeli officials have declared psychological warfare and imposed even further restrictions on those participating in the hunger strike by confiscating radios and temporarily terminating all visits. Moreover, Israeli prison officials have stated that they plan to hold barbecues and eat near the Palestinian prisoners’ cells. Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi commented, “As far as I’m concerned they can strike for a day, a month, until death. We will ward off this strike and it will be as if it never happened.”
In 2003, the International Federation of Human Rights, in cooperation with several Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups, released a report on Israel’s treatment of Palestinian detainees and prisoners. The report concluded that there were “flagrant violations” of human rights. Amnesty International has also released a report on the conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. To read Amnesty’s report see:
http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engmde150742002
Additionally, in the mid 1990’s, B’tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, issued a report entitled “Neither Law Nor Justice” in which they describe the Israeli methods of torture. Female prisoners also gave testimonies about sexual abuse and flagrant abuse of private parts of their body. For more information, see:
http://www.btselem.org
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is deeply troubled by the conditions which the Palestinian prisoners are forced to endure and by the Israeli government’s reaction. ADC President Mary Rose Oakar stated “This kind of treatment of prisoners bears similarities to the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal. We call on the Administration, Congress, as well as Human Rights organizations to take action and express their deep concern against these human rights violations.”

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