Wife of prisoner, mother of slain youth denied visit with husband: permit torn up at Israeli checkpoint

abu-fannounehsThe wife of imprisoned Mohammed Abu Fannouneh and the mother of Palestinian youth Mahmoud Abu Fannouneh, killed ten days before by Israeli occupation soldiers, was prevented from visiting her husband on Monday, 28 March, as her visit permit was ripped up by occupation soldiers at a checkpoint.

Osama Shaheen of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies said that this action is part of a framework of harassment and collective punishment of the family being carried out by the occupation after the killing of Mahmoud, 21. Mahmoud was shot dead by Israeli occupation soldiers on Friday, 18 March at Etzion junction; they accused him of attempting to carry out a resistance action by stabbing occupation soldiers. No soldiers were injured.

Mohammed Abu Fannouneh has been held in administrative detention without charge or trial since 7 June 2013. He has, through his life, served nearly 10 years in Israeli prisons, most of that time under administrative detention. He was consistently denied visits with Mahmoud throughout his imprisonment. Abu Fannouneh suffers from multiple serious health conditions and participated in several hunger strikes against administrative detention. He and his wife are the parents of nine children.

Shaheen noted that the process to acquire a permit to visit is complicated and requires processing through the International Committee for the Red Cross and approval by the occupation; such permits are frequently denied under the pretext of security. The issuing and then destruction of such a permit, Shaheen said, is meant to undermine the morale of the prisoners and their families, noting that prisoners within the prisons are processed to receive a family visit and then told that their family member will not come. He called upon the ICRC to take action to end this policy and reject the tearing of permits at checkpoints.