Mahmoud Shalatwa, 32, Palestinian political prisoner held in administrative detention without charge or trial in Israeli prison, announced that he is launching an open hunger strike on 14 January, protesting the renewal of his detention for an additional four months after 33 months in prison under arbitrary administrative detention. His detention has been extended ten times. Shalatwa was arrested only eight months after his wedding; his wife has been denied permission to visit him in the Negev prison for two years.
Shalatwa’s family said that he rejected an offer of deportation outside Palestine and is demanding his freedom through a hunger strike. He is one of the longest-held administrative detainees, arrested in early May 2012; his detention has now been renewed four times since then.
He launched his strike one day after Khader Adnan, prominent Palestinian prisoners’ rights activist and former long-term hunger striker, concluded his planned one-week hunger strike in protest of his own renewed administrative detention without charge or trial. Adnan had stated in advance that his one-week strike was a first protest step to demand an end to administrative detention.
These strikes come amid announements from prisoners that they are preparing collectively to escalate their protest against repression and sanctions against Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons.
A statement from the prison branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said that ” Palestinian political prisoners are exploring the possibility of escalating steps of struggle and collective protest in order to end the sanctions and improve the conditions of prisoners’ lives, especially those who belong to Hamas, the Popular Front, Islamic Jihad, the Democratic Front and the People’s Party, considering that these prisoners are most impacted by the sanctions that have been imposed upon the prisoners following the disappearance of three settlers in Hebron in June 2014.
These steps of protest will be initiated in response to the ongoing delays and evasions of the prison authorities in regard to repeated calls to end the sanctions imposed on prisoners.”
The Palestine Prisoners Center for Studies also said that the prisoners have submitted demands to the prison authorities in relation to medical care, family visits, limits on canteen (prison commissary) donations from family members and access to media, noting that there will be escalating steps of struggle depending on the response.