4 more Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jail on hunger strike
Published Sunday 27/04/2014 (updated) 10/05/2014 17:16
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Four Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jail began a hunger strike on Wednesday in protest against their detention without trial, a Palestinian prisoner advocacy group said on Sunday.
News of the four hunger strikers follows reports that over 100 Palestinian prisoners began a mass, open-ended hunger strike in a number of Israeli jails on Thursday in protest against being held without charge or trial under a policy Israel calls "administrative detention."
The Palestinian Prisoner's society received a letter on Sunday from one of the four newly-reported hunger strikers in which he confirmed that the group would not end the strike until they were set free.
"We will fight this crime with our empty bowels which refuse to be filled at the expense of our freedom," Mahmoud Hamdi Shabanah said in his letter.
Describing how the "tyrannical" system of administrative detention works, he wrote in the letter that "prisoners are first forced to stand up before the judge, who with one swipe of a pencil decides that this Palestinian will be deprived of his freedom."
The details, he added, are confidential and considered "top secret," meaning that the prisoner does not have the right to see the charges lobbied against them.
It was unclear whether the four were in contact with the 100 other hunger strikers, who are located in Ofer, Megiddo, and Negev prisons and launched their strike after Israeli authorities reneged on a 2012 agreement made following an earlier mass hunger strike to limit the use of administrative detention to exceptional cases.
Palestinians held in administrative detention are often held without charge or trial for months and without access to the evidence leading to their detention, even though international law stipulates this tactic only be used in exceptional circumstances.
Over 800,000 Palestinians have been detained since 1967, with 5,224 currently being held in Israeli prisons, according to the PLO.
Under international law, it is illegal to transfer prisoners outside of the occupied territory in which they are detained, and the families of Palestinian prisoners' face many obstacles in obtaining permits to see their imprisoned relatives.