On Monday, 22 August, the Israeli Supreme Court convened in the case of Bilal Kayed, Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike for 69 days against his administrative detention without charge or trial. Kayed, 34, was ordered to six months in indefinitely-renewable administrative detention on 13 June after completing his 14.5-year sentence in Israeli prison. He launched a hunger strike immediately after, on 15 June, demanding his freedom. The court set the next hearing case for 25 August, when it will continue the hearing on the appeal against his administrative detention.
International action and organizing, at an intensified level, is critical in the coming days to demand Kayed’s release and intensify the pressure on Israeli occupation authorities to release Kayed while the case is under consideration. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all international friends of Palestine to intensify mobilizations and direct actions to demand freedom for Bilal Kayed on 22-25 August.
The court is also expected in the coming days to issue a decision on the related filings by human rights organizations challenging the continued shackling of Kayed to his hospital bed by his hands and feet and the ongoing denial of access to an independent physician.
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Kayed’s lawyers, issued a statement on the hearing. “During this hearing, the court did not investigate the credibility of secret information provided to them by the police and discussions of the nature of the secret information took place inside a closed hearing session (where only the intelligence service (shabak), the judge, and the prosecution were allowed to attend). The lack of access by defendants to such information stands counter to the need for a fair trial,” noted Addameer.
Before the hearing, which was attended by observers from the European Union, Germany, the UK, Spain and a number of human rights organizations, Rahiba Kayed, Bilal’s mother confronted the court. “After 15 years, what do you want from him? Why do they do this to him? They chain his hands and legs!” she demanded. In the past days, the United Nations and Amnesty International have weighed in after two months of silence on the case, denouncing Kayed’s administrative detention without charge or trial. On a popular level, protests around the world are escalating to demand Kayed’s immediate release.
Kayed is currently in a very dangerous health situation; he is consuming only water and salt. He was transferred to intensive care in Barzilai Hospital on 19 August after he refused to take sugar or vitamin B1. He reaffirmed in his meeting with his lawyer, Farah Bayadsi, on 21 August, that he will continue his hunger strike until he achieves freedom.
As Bilal Kayed approaches 70 days of hunger strike towards freedom, joined by over 100 fellow Palestinian prisoners, as his health situation becomes increasingly dangerous and critical, it is more urgent than ever to escalate international mobilization. Protests and actions are planned in the coming days in Derry, Belfast (1) and (2), Sao Paulo, New York City, Barcelona, and elsewhere. Irish activists are scheduled to launch a one-day hunger strike in solidarity with Bilal.
Now is the time for urgent action to save Bilal and support him and his comrades in their struggle for justice and freedom:
1. Hold a direct action, protest, picket or demonstration, including building the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign to internationally isolate Israel, its institutions, and the corporations – like G4S -that profit from imprisonment, occupation, racism, colonialism and injustice. Demand freedom for Bilal Kayed and all Palestinian prisoners. Download signs and literature at this link: Free Bilal Kayed! Resources and Materials for International Day of Action Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or post to Samidoun on Facebook about your events and actions.
2. Join the call-in actions for freedom for Bilal Kayed! As Palestinian political prisoner Bilal Kayed fights for his freedom before an occupation court, call your government to demand it intercede for his immediate release.
Call during your country’s regular office hours:
- Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop: + 61 2 6277 7500
- Canadian Foreign Minister Stephane Dion: +1-613-996-5789
- European Union Commissioner Federica Mogherini: +32 (0) 2 29 53516
- New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully: +64 4 439 8000
- United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson: +44 20 7008 1500
- United States President Barack Obama: 1-202-456-1111
Tell your government:
- Bilal Kayed, a Palestinian political prisoner, has been on hunger strike since June 14 to protest his administrative detention without charge or trial by Israel.
- Your government must demand Bilal’s immediate release and end all support for Israel’s political imprisonment and other crimes against Palestinians.
- Israel’s use of administrative detention is a universally-recognized violation of human rights and international law.
- The government must do more than criticize administrative detention or express concern, but should also take serious measures to end these violations.