5,000 prisoners begin mass hunger strike in Israeli jails
Published Thursday 08/05/2014 (updated) 10/05/2014 09:38
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Over 5,000 Palestinian prisoners started an open hunger strike on Thursday in solidarity with detainees held in administrative detention by Israeli authorities, a Palestinian official said.
Palestinian Authority Minister of Detainees Issa Qaraqe said that the prisoners are demanding that Israel end the practice of holding Palestinians in custody without charge or trial.
More than 100 Palestinians in Israeli prisons launched a mass, open-ended hunger strike on April 24 in protest against their detention without trial.
Qaraqe said he holds Israeli authorities responsible for this "explosion" in protest action. He declared May 9 a 'Day of Rage' in solidarity with administrative detainees, which will see a range of solidarity activities after noon prayers.
A number of the strike leaders have been placed into isolation in Beersheba prison, including Muayad Sharab, Sufian Jamjoum and Abd al-Kareem Qawasmi.
An Israeli prison services spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
A 2012 agreement which ended a hunger strike of 2,000 Palestinian prisoners was meant to end the detention without trial of Palestinians, but as of March 1, 183 Palestinians were still being held under administrative detention.
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.