Palestinian prisoners plan to escalate protest against solitary confinement


Reprinted from WAFA – Six Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails who have been held in solitary confinement have threatened to consider a set of measures in protest of their isolation, according to the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs (CPA).

CPA attorney Sherine Iraqi told WAFA that the six isolated prisoners, Fares Saadi, Hassan Abu Khaizaran, Alex Mans, Majed Jumaa, Hussam Omar, and Mohammad Abu Rabeeaa, threatened to go on a hunger strike in protest of their unjustified solitary confinement.

The six prisoners told Iraqi, who was recently allowed to visit them, that after Israel reneged on its agreement in 2012 to end solitary confinement of Palestinian political prisoners, the prisoners are seriously mulling the possibility to embark on various protesting measures, including going on a hunger strike.

The six prisoners are also deprived of their right to family visitation, in addition to other humanitarian rights.

According to prisoners’ rights group, Solitary confinement is one of several practices enforced routinely inside of Israeli prisons, in addition to torture, forcible transfers, and medical negligence.

Adalah, a Haifa-based human rights group, says that “solitary confinement of Palestinian political prisoners who are classified as “security prisoners” is doubly harsh because of the restrictions imposed on their contacts outside of prison, even when they are not held in isolation.”

Addameer noted that, “Although rules exist under Israeli and international law to closely govern the use of solitary confinement and isolation, both measures are often used impermissibly and at great cost to Palestinian prisoners and detainees.”

“All types of solitary confinement in prison should end, given its severe impact on the physical and psychological health of prisoners,” Adalah adds.

“Solitary confinement constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment and thus violates the International Covenant Against Torture (CAT) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The Israel Medical Association and Ministry of Health should strongly oppose its use as a method of imprisonment.”

Detainees in solitary confinement are held in an empty cell containing only a mattress and a blanket, and rely on the Israeli Prison Service to address all other needs.

“Other than their clothes, they are not allowed to take anything with them into solitary confinement, including reading materials, a television or radio set. The detainee or prisoner is held in their solitary confinement cell, which does not contain a toilet, 24 hours a day. When the detainee or prisoner wishes to use the toilet he or she must call out for a guard and wait until one agrees to take the prisoner out,” said Addameer.

To be noted, “The UN Committee Against Torture has sharply criticized the prolonged solitary confinement of prisoners, regarding it as an act of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment (CIDT) that constitutes a violation of Article 11 of the CAT, which requires States parties to ensure systemic review of conditions of incarceration,18 and of Article 16, which obliges states to protect prisoners under their jurisdiction from CIDT.”

“The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has also stated that prolonged solitary confinement constituted a violation of Article 5(2) of the American Covenant on Human Rights, which prohibits torture and the inhuman treatment or cruel punishment of prisoners,” stated Adalah.

To be noted, there are 15 Palestinian prisoners currently held in solitary confinement