UPDATE AND CORRECTION: 14 May – Due to the restrictions on communication imposed by the Israeli prison administration, Ahmad Sa’adat’s transfer was widely reported in Palestinian and Arab media on the morning of Sunday, 14 May. However, he was in fact transferred to isolation in Ohli Kedar prison on Thursday, 11 May and should in fact receive his scheduled legal visit today. The report below has been updated to reflect the corrected information. We will update with any additional information and the results of his legal visit as soon as they are available.
Imprisoned Palestinian leader Ahmad Sa’adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, has been on hunger strike since 4 May, when he joined the strike with a number of leaders from across Palestinian political lines. Since he launched his strike he has been transferred on multiple occasions and has been consistently been denied all family and legal visits by the Israel Prison Service. This morning, Sunday, 14 May, it was reported that Sa’adat had been transferred once again, from isolation in Ashkelon prison to isolation in Ohli Kedar prison.
The transfer comes prior to a legal visit scheduled with a lawyer from Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association at 3:00 pm. The visit was scheduled only after the filing of a petition by Addameer after the repeated denial of legal visits to Sa’adat and fellow imprisoned leaders. The transfer is part of a policy of abusive and physically taxing transfers imposed on Palestinian prisoners in an attempt to break their hunger strike.
Strike leaders, including Sa’adat, Fateh leader Marwan Barghouthi, Hamas leader Abbas Sayyed and fellow PFLP leader Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, have been repeatedly and consistently denied legal visits since the beginning of the hunger strike, despite court orders to permit the visits. Nearly 1500 Palestinian prisoners launched the strike on 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, for a series of demands including an end to the denial of family visits, proper medical care and treatment, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial.
Prisoners have faced harsh repression, including frequent transfers; some striking prisoners have been transferred up to seven times. These transfers are physically taxing as well and take hours at a time; they are also clearly intended to demoralize the prisoners and disorient the strike organization. This comes in addition to confiscation of personal belongings, isolation and solitary confinement, confiscation of the salt necessary to sustain health and life, and frequent repressive raids on strikers’ sections, which have included assaults, beatings and the use of tear gas by Israeli repressive forces.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges widespread international organizing and action – and the escalation of the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and complicit corporations like HP and G4S – to support the prisoners in achieving the demands of their hunger strike, their freedom, and the freedom of the land and people of Palestine.