PCHR Calls upon the International Community to Intervene to Save Lives of Bilal Diab and Tha’er Halahla Who Have Been on Hunger Strike

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is deeply concerned over the lives of two administrative detainees, Bilal Diab and Tha’er Halahla, who have been on hunger strike for 64 days.  PCHR holds the Israeli occupation authorities fully responsible for the two detainees’ lives.  PCHR calls upon the international community to exert pressure on Israeli occupation authorities to immediately release Diab and Halahla, as they have been placed under administrative detention without charges or trials.

Bilal Sa’eed Diab, 27, from Kufor Ra’ei village near Jenin, and Tha’er ‘Aziz Halahla, 34, from Kharas village near Hebron, who had been detained in Negev prison in Israel, have been on hunger strike since 29 February 2012.  Diab has been placed under administrative detention since 17 August 2011, while Diab has been placed under administrative detention since 29 June 2010, as his detention has been renewed 8 times.

Since Diab and Halahla declared their hunger strike, IOF have rejected their requests to be released.  On 23 April 2012, the Israeli military court rejected an appeal filed by the lawyer of the two administrative detainees.  The Israeli military judge claimed that “the hunger strike was their choice, so they are responsible for their health conditions.” The Israeli Supreme Court will hold a session on Thursday, 03 May 2011, to consider a petition filed by the lawyer of Diab and Halahla.

Due to the deterioration of their health conditions, Halahla was transferred to the hospital of al-Ramla Prison on 22 March, and Diab was transferred to the same hospital two days later.  Diab and Halahla have been receiving medical treatment at the hospital under security supervision.  In a serious development with regard to their health conditions, media sources reported that Diab was transferred on Tuesday, 01 May 2012, to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center.  Doctors stated that he is in a critical condition and about to enter into a comma as his body has lost salts and minerals, and due to the irregularity of his heart’s performance, his life is endangered.  With regard to Halahla, he is also in a serious condition as he has not taken medical solutions for four days, and he suffers from severe pains in the back and the lung, and an increase in the count of white blood cells, which indicates that he could have attracted infection or inflammation.

Dibab and Halahla and their lawyers have not been informed of their charges, and the prosecution has informed the court of their charges as confidential information, which further confirms the arbitrariness of administrative detention procedures adopted by Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian detainees.

In the meantime, at least 2,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention facilities have been on hunger strike since 17 April 2012 in order for their demands to be accomplished.  These demands include: improving their living conditions in the Israeli prisons; ensuring family visitations, particularly for the prisoners from the Gaza Strip; allowing detainees to receive education; and putting an end to the solitary confinement policy, repression and night searches.  This strike was preceded by an open hunger strike by 8 Palestinian prisoners at various periods.

PCHR is concerned over the deterioration of Diab’s and Halahla’s health conditions in Israeli detention, and in light continued use of administrative detention policy by Israeli occupation forces, PCHR:

1.     Calls upon the international community to exert pressure on IOF to immediately release Diab and Halahla in order to save their lives;

2.     Calls upon international human rights and solidarity organizations to exert more efforts to put an end to the Israeli policy of administrative detention which violates the fundamental right to fair trial.

3.     Is concerned over the deterioration of living conditions of approximately 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails;