14TH AUG 2015 – EMERGENCY PROTEST – DEMAND FREEDOM FOR DYING HUNGER STRIKER MUHAMMED ALLAN – NO TO FORCE FEEDING
Date: Friday 14th August 2015 3pm-5pm
Location: G4S HQ, 105 Victoria Street (Closest public transport: Victoria Tube/Rail station)
Palestinian lawyer Muhammed Allan is approaching death after nearly two month of complete hunger strike. Muhammed launched his hunger strike on 15 June 2015 to protest Israel’s illegal practice of Administrative detention – of caging Palestinians indefinitely without charge or trial. He has been caged by Israel without charge since 6th Nov 2014 on never ending rolling detention orders.
Muhammad Allan has in total suffered 3 years in occupation prisons with several administrative orders having been issued against him. He went on hunger strike after the occupation again renewed his administrative detention. As punishment for refusing food he was locked up in isolation confinement at Ayala prison near Tel Aviv until his condition deteriorated, forcing them to transfer him to hospital.
Friday will mark the 60th day of hunger strike without any food or nutrients apart from water. He is suffering loss of motor skills and he is unable to rise from his bed – the protein from his muscles having long been consumed for cell metabolism. He is nearly blind and is losing his hearing – signs that he body has run out of essential vitamins. His whole body is in pain and numbness and he has started vomiting blood. There is a high risk of organ failure, and death from heart failure.
In this weak condition Israel mercilessly keeps Muhammed chained with his hand and foot shackled to the hospital bed. He is surrounded by three Israeli prison guards who hurt him, causing him injuries.
The Israeli government has made it clear that it intends to force feed Muhammed. The World Medical Association has described force-feeding of hunger-strikers as ‘tantamount to torture’. In the past five Palestinian prisoners have been killed through being force-fed. Two Israeli hospitals have so far refused government orders to force-feed Muhammed Allan. Any doctor involved in such torture, which is against the Geneva Conventions, would be open to prosecution by the International Criminal Court.
Please join us on friday outside G4S HQ as we demand freedom for Muhammed Allan, an end to Administrative detention, and no to force-feeding. The British security firm G4S secures many of the prisons where Palestinian political prisoners are caged and tortured, including children as young as 12 years old. We will also be demanding that G4S end their complicity in Israel’s war crimes.
As with previous protests for Muhammed Allan, this protest is being organised in co-ordination with our friends at the ‘Prisoner’s Center for Studies’ in Gaza as part of a joint protest with ones they are holding in Gaza to show global united solidarity with the hunger strikers.
BACKGROUND – ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION
Muhammad Allan is on hunger strike to protest against Israel’s practice of Administrative detention. Administrative detention is a practice used by Israel to imprison Palestinians indefinitely without charge or trial. Prisoners are given rolling detention orders which can be anything from 1-6 months, renewable indefinitely. Such practice is against international law.
For example administrative detainee Mazen Natsheh has been locked up cumulatively for nearly 10 years without charge or trial. Muhammad Allan has in total been caged for 3 years under different administrative detention orders without charge or trial.
Detention orders are based on so called “secret information” which never needs to be produced, either to the detainee nor their lawyer. Administrative detention is often used to arbitrarily jail Palestinians where there is no evidence for a trial. It is also used for punishment as in the case of 8 Palestinian MPs who are currently caged in Israeli dungeons to punish them for their political stance.
Palestinian prisoners rights group Addameer have documented “many cases where the detainees themselves will say that administrative detention is actually far worse than a fixed sentence, be that five years, ten years, 20 years, or whatever and why. With a fixed sentence, you know when you’re going home, a prisoner knows when he goes home. It could be ten years or 15 years down the line, but they know when they’re going home. Not with an administrative detention..” They have documented “many cases where prisoners or detainees have been literally leaving the prison, walking out of the prison with their bags in their hand after their administrative detention order has expired [with their family waiting on the other side] and the Israelis have handed that detainee another administrative detention order and they have to go back into the cell to recommence another administrative detention order. Now, this is a form of psychological torture for not only the detainee [but also] their families.”
Israel has on average issued over 2000 detention orders every year (between 2007 and 2011). Today there are around 450 administrative detainees. Most of them, like Muhammad Allan, having been transferred from the West Bank into Israel in contravention of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, with their families being prevented from visiting them.
BACKGROUND – FORCE-FEEDING HUNGER STRIKERS
On 30th July 2015 the Israeli parliament approved a law permitting the force-feeding of Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli prisons. Israel’s Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan who led the bill, justified it by writing “Alongside attempts to boycott and delegitimize Israel, hunger strikes of terrorists in prisons have become a means to threaten Israel”.
The World Medical Association has described force-feeding of hunger-strikers as ‘tantamount to torture’. Physicians for Human Rights says the bill ‘legalises torture and gross violations of medical ethics and international conventions’, noting that between 1970 and 1992 (when Israel permitted such force-feeding) five Palestinian prisoners died while being force-fed.
Abdulrahim Nubani, a Palestinian political prisoner who survived being force fed in an Israeli prison 35 years ago recalls “the pain was larger than words”. Although he spent 20 years in Israeli prison between 1974 and 1994, he says that he can’t think of a day worse than that when his name was called and he was accompanied to the prison clinic on July 21, 1980. Until then Nubani says he had only heard of force-feeding.
“It was used to break spirits, not to feed prisoners – it was torture,” he says.
“There was a pot of boiling water and a plate of rice pudding,” Nubani recalled. “I sat on the chair, an officer asked me to eat. I refused – I told him I was hunger-striking.”
Trembling, he described how he was tied down to a chair, stripped off his clothes.
“They tied me down and brought a tube, shoved it down my nose and pushed – I felt my head exploding, down to my stomach,” Nubani said recreating the scene. “I felt my stomach burn… I was bleeding and powerless.”
In that hunger strike of 80 prisoners two Palestinian prisoners – Rasem Halaweh and Ali Ja’fari, died due to forced-feeding and two others died later of medical complications.
Maz’zuza, the 65 years old mother of Palestinian political prisoner Muhammad Allan who has been on hunger strike nearly two months, when interviewed could hardly complete a sentence without crying. She said “I’m a mother; I’ve spent nights up looking after him… I’m so scared.. I didn’t sleep since he started his strike, now that this law was introduced I feel I’m a 100 years old,” she says. “I’m terrified.”
So far two Israeli hospitals have refused government orders to force-feed Muhammed Allan. Any doctor involved in such torture, which is against the Geneva Conventions, would be open to prosecution by the International Criminal Court. Muhammed Allan was transferred on 10th Aug 2015 to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon from Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba after it didn’t comply with orders to force-feed Muhammed Allan. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to build a special unit in Barzilai to force-feed hunger-striking detainees but so far Barzilai Hospital has also refused to participate in torture through force-feeding.
LIVE UPDATES DURING PROTEST
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Palestinian Prisoners Campaign