Palestinian prisoner Iyad Abu Fannoun to be deported to Gaza

abu-fannounPalestinian political prisoner Iyad Abu Fannoun will be deported to Gaza by order of the Ofer military court, said his lawyer Ahlam Haddad on Thursday, June 20, 2013. Abu Fannoun, 35 years old, is from Battir village in Bethlehem, in the West Bank.

Abu Fannoun was released from occupation prisons after serving 9 years of his original 29-year sentence in the prisoner exchange of October 2011. He was re-arrested by the Israeli military on April 20, 2012. He was threatened to be sentenced to his original sentence period to serve another 20 years in Israeli prisons.

When Abu Fannoun, who was accused of membership in Hamas and its military wing, threatened to go on hunger strike, he was presented by the Ofer court with two options: deportation to Gaza for 10 years or imprisonment for 20 years. The forced deportation will be implemented in one month.

Long-term hunger striker Ayman Sharawna was forcibly deported to Gaza in March 2013, following upon forced deportations to Gaza in the prisoner exchange of October 2011 and the deportation of hunger striker Hana Shalabi.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights has highlighted examples of forced deportation practiced against Palestinians, including “the deportation of 40 Palestinian prisoners to other countries, and 163 others to the Gaza Strip in the context of the prisoners swap deal between Palestinian resistance groups and IOF, under which 1,027 Palestinian prisoners were released, in exchange for the release of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who had been captured by Palestinian resistance groups.” Forcible deportation is a form of collective punishment and reprisals prohibited under the Fourth Geneva Convention,  particularly Article 49 which prohibits “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or nott,” notes PCHR, which has repeatedly called for deported or displaced Palestinian former prisoners to return to their homes.