Palestinian prisoners continue to face repressive attacks and punitive transfers inside Israeli occupation prisons. The Handala Center for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners reported on 26 February that there is an escalated state of tension and overcrowding in Ramon prison following the transfer of prisoners in Section 5 to the Nafha prison by occupation forces.

Repressive units invaded room 65, where prisoners of Islamic Jihad movement are held, ransacking their belongings and transfering them all en masse to Nafha prison under the pretext of “repairs.”  In total, 70 prisoners were removed and transferred.

After the move, the prisoners were again invaded and attacked in Nafha prison; one of the prisoners attacked was Wael al-Natsheh, who was severely beaten by the guards of the repressive unit after he refused to undergo a strip search. Natsheh was transferred to the hospital with injuries; from al-Khalil, he has spent 20 years in Israeli prisons and is serving a life sentence.

This is the section of the prison that is occupied by imprisoned Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat, and the state of anger within Ramon prison generally has risen following the invasion of repressive units and raids on a number of sections and rooms as prisoners protested the transfers and repression. The Center emphasized that the situation is expected to escalate if the prison administration does not end its ongoing attacks and repressive measures targeting Palestinian prisoners.

Two other PFLP leaders, Shadi Shurafa and Thaer Hanani, were transferred last weekend from Ramon prison to Megiddo prison. On 26 February, fellow PFLP leader Munther Khalaf Mifleh was transferred from Hadarim prison to Ramon prison. Khalaf has been engaged in collective hunger strikes in 2004, 2006 and 2012 as well as the strike in solidarity with Bilal Kayed in 2016.  He is serving a 30-year sentence imposed upon him in 2003 after three months of interrogation and was previously arrested in 1995; he joined the Palestinian national liberation movement in 1988 during the intifada.

These actions come only days after other mass transfers; on 20 February, Islamic Jihad prisoners were suddenly returned to Section 1 of Ramon prison after being transferred to Nafha prison several months ago under the pretext of a thorough search of the section.

Prisoners have frequently noted that these transfers are used to disrupt prisoners’ organization and structure of life and work inside the Israeli occupation prisons and impose tension, harassment and exhaustion. The transfer process is carried out by the infamous “Bosta,” exacerbating the difficulty and discomfort of the journey for prisoners. In addition, transfers are frequently accompanied by confiscation and destruction of prisoners’ personal belongings.