Alaa Hammad resumes hunger strike, appeals for international support

alaa-hammadAlaa Hammad, the Palestinian prisoner with Jordanian citizenship who has carried on an open-ended hunger strike since May 2, resumed his hunger strike on Sunday, December 9 after a brief suspension of his strike.

Hammad suspended his strike after the Israeli prison authorities agreed to facilitate family visits with his wife and children, and with his aunts and uncles. His aunts and uncles visited on Saturday, December 8 but no progress was made by the prison authorities to allow Hammad’s wife and children to visit him.

Therefore, Hammad, who has been denied family visits for 7 years, resumed his strike. Hammad originally was on hunger strike along with four other political prisoners holding Jordanian citizenship. After severe health consequences, the other four ended their strikes with agreement to facilitate family visits.

However, Hammad maintained his strike and Israeli prison authorities have repeatedly refused or delayed family visits for all of the prisoners.

Alaa Hammad released the following letter on his resumption of hunger strike (translation via GCPPP (formerly free Samer Issawi campaign), Abbas Hamideh and Maie Abu Damous):

In the name of God the most gracious, the most merciful.

To my father and mother my most precious people, to my wife and children the apple of my eye, to my brothers and sisters my heart and soul, to all the loyal people working for the political prisoners freedom:

I send you all my greetings and would like to inform you about the resumption of my open hunger strike on Sunday evening at 4 PM, as the Jordanian government was quick to immediately announce the suspension of my open hunger strike within only few hours after my declaration, although they haven’t reported my news nor did anything to help me get my freedom for 215 days. Their action was reflexive and unusual because their ears are close to the mouth of the israeli trumpet. They hastened to declare my hunger strike suspension which pleased them to put an end to an era of shame that lasted for seven months of deliberate negligence against the children, wives, mothers and brothers asking for the right to visit their sons in Israeli occupation jails.

Accordingly, I inform you that I am continuing my open hunger strike until the fulfillment of what I agreed upon with the Israeli occupation Foreign Ministry which includes the visit of my children and wife in addition to other demands that I will not mention here to avoid a lengthy letter. The occupation authorities have only allowed my extended family who live in Jerusalem to visit me and that was one demand of the agreement and they have been procrastinating on the visit of my wife and children and all I have been hearing are only empty promises.

Therefore due to the Israeli occupation prison service stalling on fulfilling their end of the agreement I hereby announce the resumption of my hunger strike until they fulfill my demands with the following options: My freedom to go back home to my place of residence in Jordan where my immediate family lives or the right of 1/3 sentence as per the Israeli occupation prison law and if these demands are not met I will continue the strike protesting the brutal oppression that I and all the Palestinian political prisoners endure on a daily basis behind these jails of injustice where we are held hostage.

I now wait for the second response at four o’clock in the evening on Tuesday and perhaps this is the last response I will hear from them before we shut this door permanently and start over with the strike demanding liberation since we can’t get our basic rights any other way.

This is all I have to say for now with all thanks due to God and I of course still count on you and your courageous support as usual. I may not have all the energy for this second round so I may throw the ball in your court to assist me in this victory from the Almighty God.

Thank you and God bless you and your brave efforts in standing with justice for all Palestinian political prisoners!