seif-idrissiSeif al-Idrissi, one of the six young Palestinian men on hunger strike to demand an end to their imprisonment by the Palestinian Authority since March/April 2016, was brought before a PA court on Thursday, 1 September, where his detention was extended for another 45 days. The judge did not allow his lawyer, Muhannad Karajah, to present his case before approving yet another extension of al-Idrissi’s detention; al-Idrissi, a well-known youth activist, was held caged when brought before the court.

Idrissi’s arrest in April 2016 prompted online protests by fellow activists, including leftist student leader Kifah Quzmar, whose arrest by the PA for his facebook posts drew international protest. Today, Idrissi is on hunger strike alongside Basil al-Araj, Mohammed Harb, Haitham Siyaj, Mohammed al-Salameen and Ali Dar al-Sheikh since Sunday, 28 August. The six young Palestinians have had their detention without charge or trial repeatedly extended by the Palestinian Authority after they were arrested in late March and early April, apparently as part of security coordination with the Israeli occupation. Under the Oslo accords, the Palestinian Authority shares intelligence information with Israel and has repeatedly arrested or jailed Palestinians in the context of stopping or preventing Palestinian resistance to occupation.

The young men’s lawyers, Muhannad Karajah and Anas Barghouthi of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, visited the six in Beitunia prison outside Ramallah on 1 September. The youth were deprived of their regular clothing and given a uniform to wear following the beginning of their hunger strike. Dar al-Sheikh is held in na isolation cell, as is Basil al-Araj. Siyaj and al-Salameen share one room and Saif al-Idrissi and Harb are sharing another room. They are provided with a sponge mattress from midnight until 8 am and it is then removed, and they must sit in their cells without a mattress. Al-Araj, who relies on his eyeglasses for sight, has had his eyeglasses confiscated by PA officials; they were returned to him for the legal meeting and then confiscated again after the meeting. Al-Araj is suffering from severe headaches as a result of being deprived of his eyeglasses. They were also denied family visits for 21 days.

The six emphasized their dedication to continue their hunger strike until freedom. The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council issued a statement on 1 September, pointing out that the detention of the six violates the right to a fair trial guaranteed in the Palestinian Basic Law. Palestinians in Ramallah will protest on Saturday, 3 September to support the six strikers and demand their freedom, as will supporters in Rabat, Morocco. Supporters of the six have phoned Palestinian embassies internationally to register the discontent of the Palestinian people and Palestinian communities in exile and diaspora with the continued imprisonment of these six young activists.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network revives and renews its call for international solidarity with these six detained Palestinian youth, prisoners of security coordination.  Samidoun emphasizes that support for these six prisoners comes hand in hand with support for the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in a comprehensive defense of Palestinians under attack and facing imprisonment at the behest of the Israeli occupation. We urge that international voices be raised to demand the immediate release of these six youth on hunger strike an and end to the policies of security coordination that further threaten Palestinian life and freedom at the behest of the occupation. 

Take Action!

1. It is critical that official Palestinian institutions hear from Palestinian communities in diaspora and exile and from friends of the Palestinian people in support of the six detained Palestinian youth.

We urge you to CALL the Palestinian Mission to the United Nations at +1 212 288-8500 and EMAIL the mission at palestine@un.int.

* Tell the mission that you are calling as a supporter of Palestine or as a Palestinian and your location, regarding the case of the six Palestinian youth detained in PA prison in the West Bank.

* Tell the mission that you are urging the immediate release of the six detained Palestinian youth who are currently on hunger strike in Beitunia prison.

* Tell the mission that PA security coordination with Israel only hurts the Palestinian people.

We also urge you to CALL the office of PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Ramallah at + 970 229 68989, or EMAIL the office at info@pmo.gov.ps. Please emphasize the same points above and the importance of the immediate release of the six youth.

2. Sign and Share the Petition – Call on PA officials to immediately release the six Palestinian youth! This petition was launched upon their arrest in April. Please sign and share this petition and build international solidarity to free the six! Sign and share: https://www.change.org/p/palestinian-authority-free-six-young-palestinian-activists-from-political-detention