Palestinian detainees continue hunger strikes as health declines

hungerstrikePalestinian administrative detainees, Muammar Banat, Waheed Abu Maria, and Akram Al-Fassisi have now been on hunger strike for 64 days, and have held continuously to their strike over that time. All three are held without charge or trial under secret evidence. On March 9, the three had appeal hearings in their cases, seeking their release, at Ofer military court.

Due to the deterioration in their health, Banat and Al-Fassisi are held in Kaplan hospital and Abu Maria in Wolfson hospital. Abu Maria was shackled hand and foot to his hospital bed in order to forcibly take blood samples from him after he rejected vitamins and medical tests, the Palestinian Prisoners Society reported on March 6.

Banat, 26, is from Arroub refugee camp and has been held since August 13, 2013; al-Fassisi, 31, from Ithna and detained since November 2012, engaged in a previous 59-day hunger strike demanding his release. He ended his earlier strike due to serious health problems. Abu Maria, 46, has been held without charge since October 2012.

Ameer Shammas, 22, from al-Khalil, is also held in administrative detention without charge or trial. He is now on the 61st day of his hunger strike, seeking his release from detention without charge, in which he has been held since September 2013.

Addameer reported that in addition to regular confinement in isolation cells and 24-hour video monitoring through camera systems provided by British-Danish security firm G4S, “they have been denied recreational hours in the yard, family visits, the ability to purchase basic supplies and goods from the prison canteen, and have been subject to frequent night raids and searches.”

In addition, Aref Hareebat, 30, Ayman al-Tabeesh, 33, Ahmed Abu Ras, 31, and Kifah Hattab, launched a hunger strike on February 28 that they have now engaged in for 15 days. All are held in administrative detention without charge or trial. Al-Tabeesh relaunched his hunger strike after, in violation of the agreement that ended his earlier 105-day hunger strike, his administrative detention was extended in January 2014. He had ended his strike in September 2013 with a written agreement that his detention would not be further renewed.

Hareebat reported that prison officials are attempting to pressure the hunger strikers to end their strikes by denying family visits and holding them during the day in a dirty room, reported the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society.