Report via: http://www.inminds.co.uk/article.php?id=10562. Full pictures and more available at that link!
Londoners protested outside the Israeli Embassy on Saturday 1st September 2012 demanding freedom for all Palestinian political prisoners as the Palestinian Prisoners Society reported that the clinic at Ramla Prison is withholding needed medication from Palestinian prisoner Ayman Sharawna, on hunger strike for 63 days, until he agrees to end his hunger strike.
Dozens of protesters picket the approach to the Israeli Embassy (red building – flag visible near centre of photo) which is on a private road.
Three hunger strikers – Hassan Safadi – 144 days, Samer Al-Barq – 133 days, and Ayman Sharawna – 62 days
Prison guards again attacked Hassan and Samer smashing Hassan’s head on the iron doors of the cell repeatedly until he was unconscious on the floor..
Around two dozen activists picketed the entrance to the private road which houses the Israeli Embassy in Kensington High Street. Their banner read “Free All Palestinian Political Prisoners” and they had placards around their necks dedicated to the remaining three hunger strikers – Samer al-Barq, Hassan Safadi, and Ayman Sharawna who are in critical condition, demanding their immediate freedom.
All three have been imprisoned under Israel’s infamous ‘administrative detention’ which means they have not been charged with anything and there is no trial and yet they have been locked up indefinitely on a rolling 6 month prison sentence.
Hassan Safadi and Samer al-Barq are both on renewed hunger strikes after Israel broke its deal to release them. They had previously already been on hunger strike for 71 and 30 days. Now Sameer has been on a renewed hunger strike from May 22 – a total of 133 days, and Hassan a total of 144 days.
Both men are in critical condition, barely able to stand and use wheelchairs for their daily needs. Amnesty has reported that even at the Medical Centre of the Israel Prison Service Samer and Hassan are being repeatedly beaten and abused.
The public were very sympathetic to the campaign with 100s of leaflets being given out in two hours. People seen eager to read even the small print on the leaflets.
Ayman Sharawna has been on hunger strike 63 days – since 1st July. Ayman was released as part of the prisoner exchange deal in October 2011, only to be re-arrested on 31 January 2012. No charges have been filed against him. Ayman was being held in solitary confinement in Rimon prison before being transferred to Ramleh prison medical center due to the deterioration in his health.
Two weeks ago (on Thursday 16th August) that the prison guards again attacked Hassan and Samer smashing Hassan’s head on the iron doors of the cell repeatedly until he was unconscious on the floor, they then dragged both prisoners to an isolation cell without any mattresses. To protest this inhuman and degrading treatment Hassan Safadi has announced that he will no longer be drinking water.
Israeli doctors are withholding Ayman’s needed injections until he agrees to end his hunger strike, using the denial of medicine as a weapon against the prisoners. The pain is so severe that he has been unable to stand on his own since the middle of August.
According to latest news released by Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association just yesterday (2 Sept 2012) doctors informed the prisoners that their “lives were under immediate threat”. Samer is now too weak to even get out of bed. Suffering extreme fatigue Hassan falls unconscious 2-3 times each day. Due to slow heart rate and severe potassium deficiency, Hassan was taken to Assaf Harofeh where tests revealed that his immunity level has fallen dangerously low; there is fluid in his lungs; and he has developed problems in his liver and kidneys. Even in this condition Hassan was shackled by all four limbs to the hospital bed with four soldiers left in the room to taunt him.
Prison doctors have informed Ayman that his life is also at risk. In addition to very low immunity levels and cirrhosis in his liver, he suffers from terrible joint pain and back pain from previous chronic conditions. The Israeli Prison Service doctors are withholding his needed injections until he agrees to end his hunger strike, using the denial of medicine as a weapon against the prisoners. The pain is so severe that he has been unable to stand on his own since the middle of August. Ayman is experiencing constant vertigo, severe headaches, high blood pressure and extreme weight loss of about 28 kilos from his original weight.
Palestinian flags calling for a boycott of Israel were also unfurled during the protest, the boycott being a practical method everyone can use to exert pressure on Israel. Hundreds of leaflets were given out to a very sympathetic public. Some approached us asking if they could take a boycott Israel flag to hang at home.
As with the last protest outside the Israeli Embassy the police took keen interest. At different stages we were approached by three different police teams and private security in charge of the Kensington Palace Gardens for the Crowne Estate which owns the road the Embassy is on. The private security wanted us some distance on the other side of the road away from the Embassy which we refused on principle. The police having a better understanding of the law allowed us to stay at the mouth of the private road in sight of the embassy. Later armed police from outside the embassy approached us to ask questions, despite their big guns and side arms they were polite. Near the end of the protest another officer turned up to ask the same questions. With Israels atrocious record of illegal occupation, ethnic cleansing, massacring civilians and murdering Palestinian children none of the police teams were surprised by the protest but were just there to ask routine questions.
The protest was the second one organised by the Palestinian Prisoners Campaign Group which was launched on the occasion of Al Quds Day this year (17 August 2012). The next action will be in a fortnight (14-16th Sept),see the campaign page for more information closer to the date.