New Yorkers protested on Friday, 6 May outside the offices of G4S, the British-Danish security corporation and the world’s second-largest private employer, demanding it get out of the business of profiting from occupation and apartheid; they highlighted the case of Palestinian prisoner Sami Janazrah, on hunger strike for 65 days against his imprisonment without charge or trial under Israeli administrative detention.
Janazrah refused water in protest of being shackled to his hospital bed and denied access to the bathroom by Israeli prison guards in Etzion hospital, where he has been held for the past week after nearly two months of solitary confinement in several prisons since he began his hunger strike on 3 March. Imprisoned since 15 November 2015, Janazrah’s detention without charge or trial was renewed on 13 March for an additional four months; administrative detention orders are indefinitely renewable. He is facing an Israeli court hearing on his case on 16 May; he is demanding his immediate release. At 65 days of refusing food and consuming only water, he is at extreme risk to his health and experiences pain and fainting spells, along with significant weight loss. Janazrah, 43, is a Palestinian refugee from Iraq al-Manshiyya born and living in al-Fuwwar refugee camp near al-Khalil in the occupied West Bank of Palestine; he is married, with three children, and was a youth activist with Fateh, having served five years in Israeli prison in the past.
He is not the only hunger striker in Israeli prisons – fellow administrative detainees Fouad Assi and Adib Mafarjah have been on hunger strike since 4 April, also demanding their release from imprisonment without charge or trial. Mohammed Qawasmeh has been on a hunger strike for 15 days against his isolation in Ashkelon prison, and Osama Rajbi has been on hunger strike for 27 days against his solitary confinement. Said Mujahid, 20, has now been on hunger strike for one week in protest of his solitary confinement and his torture under interrogation, where his left leg was broken.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network organizes weekly protests in New York City outside the offices of G4S, a major security corporation that provides security systems, equipment and control rooms to Israeli prisons, checkpoints, police training centers and even the Erez/Beit Hanoun crossing with Gaza, where the Israeli occupation implements its siege. G4S is subject to a global boycott campaign due to its profiting from the occupation and oppression of Palestinians, as well as its involvement in youth incarceration and migrant detention and deportation in the US, UK and Australia. In March 2016, G4S pledged to exit “reputationally damaging” businesses and sell off its Israeli subsidiary; however, Palestinian organizers have emphasized the importance of continued boycott and pressure of G4S so long as Palestinian prisoners continue to suffer in G4S-equipped prisons and interrogation centers.
Samidoun’s next weekly protest, on Friday, 13 May, will also call for the release of Janazrah and his fellow imprisoned hunger strikers, and all Palestinian prisoners. Protesters will gather at 4:00 pm at 19 W. 44th Street, outside G4S’ Manhattan office. Samidoun activists will also join the Nakba Day March for Resistance and Return on Sunday, 15 May, at 1:30 pm at City Hall Park, marching over the Brooklyn Bridge to Cadman Plaza, in a mass protest remembering the 1948 Palestinian Nakba, and supporting Palestinians’ right to resist; Palestinian refugees’ right to return; and the liberation of Palestine.
Photos by Nick Maniace