New Yorkers protested on Friday, 29 April, as Palestinian prisoner Sami Janazrah, 43, reached his 58th day of hunger strike, protesting his administrative detention without charge or trial. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network organized its weekly protest outside the offices of British-Danish security corporation G4S, which provides security systems, equipment and control rooms to Israeli prisons, interrogation centers, checkpoints and police training centers. Protesters demanded G4S get out of occupied Palestine – and freedom for Janazrah and his 7,000 fellow Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Janazrah, a Palestinian refugee from Iraq al-Manshiyya living in al-Fuwwar refugee camp near al-Khalil, has been on hunger strike since 3 March protesting his administrative detention without charge or trial. He has been held in solitary confinement since he began his strike and was moved to hospital as protesters demanded his freedom – and then once again to solitary confinement one day later. He is joined by fellow hunger strikers Fouad Assi and Adib Mafarjah, on hunger strike since 3 April in protest of their own administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial. Majdi Yassin, 33, has also been on hunger strike for one week; he is a lawyer and a Swedish citizen detained by Israeli occupation forces at the Allenby bridge crossing to Jordan as he left Palestine for Sweden. Janazrah, Assi and Mafarjah are among approximately 700 Palestinians held without charge or trial under administrative detention – military orders that can imprison Palestinians for up to six-month periods, indefinitely renewable. They are also among approximately 7,000 total Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
New York protesters – including Palestinians from Deir al-Balah and Ramallah – urgently demanded Janazrah’s release as he approaches the critical 60th day of hunger strike. Despite his physical weakness, significant weight loss, fainting spells and pain, Israeli prison officials continue to transfer him repeatedly between solitary confinement prisons and between prison and the hospital, causing him further physical distress and pain.
G4S is subject to a global call for boycott from Palestinian prisoners and civil society because of its involvement in profiting from the Israeli imprisonment and oppression of the Palestinian people – as well as its role in deporting and detaining migrants and in youth detention in the US, UK, Australia and elsewhere – and has lost significant contracts due to the boycott campaigns. In March 2016, the corporation announced that it would sell off its Israeli subsidiary and other “reputationally damaging” businesses; however, Palestinian organizers emphasized the importance of continuing to pressure G4S until it follows through on its pledge, as Palestinian prisoners continue to suffer in the prisons G4S equips.
New York organizers will return outside the offices of G4S, 19 W. 44th Street, on Friday, 6 May at 4:00 pm, and encourage supporters of Palestine and the rights of the Palestinian people to join them, in urging freedom for Janazrah and his fellow prisoners and justice and liberation for Palestine.
Photos: Joe Catron