A protest gathered outside the headquarters of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Gaza on Sunday, November 10, in solidarity with Palestinian academic and administrative detainee Ahmad Qatamesh and all administrative detainees in occupation prisons, demanding an end to international silence on administrative detention.
The protest was organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and included participants from national and Islamic forces, families of prisoners, and representatives of the Progressive Student Action Front and the Palestinian Progressive Youth Union.
Former prisoner Allam Kaabi reported that the next hearing of Palestinian academic Ahmad Qatamesh, held under administrative detention without charge or trial for over two and a half years in Israeli prisons, has been transferred from Ofer prison to Megiddo.
Qatamesh, 62, has had his administrative detention extended seven times, most recently in August. He is recognized by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience. Prior to his recent administrative detention, he spent six years in Israeli jail, from 1992-1998, and wrote a memoir of his experiences in Israeli prisons, including torture.
Kaabi noted that Qatamesh is in poor health and the travel from Ramon prison, where he is being held, to Megiddo, is over 12 hours and will cause significant negative health impacts. Qatamesh rejected this decision and prison authorities responded to threaten to transfer him by force to Megiddo. Kaabi said that this is a malicious attempt to injure and fatigue Qatamesh and force him to accept the principle of a hearing that he rejects as illegitimate.
He said that the Bosta, which is used to transport prisoners, creates health risks not only in the length of time it takes for transport and the resulting severe fatigue, but that the prisoner is transferred in unclean conditions, shackled to an iron chair inside the transport, without sufficient openings in the vehicle for ventilation.
Kaabi called upon the Palestinian masses and national institutions to take urgent action on the issue of prisoners held in administrative detention, particularly the issue of Ahmad Qatamesh, detained since 2011. He also called for international pressure on the occupation to implement the agreement with the prisoners in the Karameh hunger strike in May 2012, tto provide a private car to transport sick prisoners and abolish the “Bosta” system.
Kaabi warned of the repercussions of the continuing systematic practices targeting Qatamesh’s health and life, noting that the last time he was transferred he suffered bruises due to falling in the Bosta in light of continued deterioration of his health.
Kaabi said, “We stand today in front of the headquarters of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Gaza Strip, in protest against the policy of silence followed by the international institutions toward our brave prisoners in Israeli jails, especially the administrative detainees.” He urged action to support the protest threatened by administrative detainees if there is no response to their demands, saying all energies must be mobilized for their release and to launch a global campaign of solidarity with them.
Kaabi said that the release of all prisoners, especially the sick prisoners, administrative detainees, and leaders of the Palestinian people, must be a top priority as a just cause, as the prisoners have been and continue to be at the forefront of the Palestinian nation in confronting the occupation and building steadfastness.
Article by Ahmad’s daughter Haneen about his arrest: http://electronicintifada.net/content/when-israeli-soldiers-came-arrest-my-father/9901
Addameer profile of Ahmad Qatamesh:
1998 interview with Ahmad Qatamesh:
In 1999, Ahmad Qatamesh was detained by the Palestinian Authority for joining a protest against corruption: http://www.phrmg.org/pressrelease/1999/04dec1999.htm