Thaer Halahleh thrown in isolation as tension rises in Ofer prison

Thaer Halahleh

A state of tension has continued to escalate in the Israeli occupation Ofer military prison as Palestinian prisoner and former long-term hunger striker Thaer Halahleh has been ordered into solitary confinement after he began an open hunger strike two days ago.

Halahleh launched the strike after three leading Palestinian Islamic Jihad activists in Ofer prison were assaulted and suddenly transferred to other prisons on Sunday, 18 June. His strike is demanding the return of the three prisoner leaders to Ofer prison.

Halahleh has been imprisoned since 28 April 2017; he is held without charge or trial under an administrative detention order. Halahleh, 35, is from the village of Kharas near al-Khalil; he has been imprisoned eight times and spent over 12 years in Israeli prisons, mostly in administrative detention without charge or trial.

He was last released from Israeli prison in October 2016 and conducted multiple long-term hunger strikes to demand his release from administrative detention. Halahleh also suffers from Hepatitis C, which he obtained during a dental surgery procedure in Israeli prison.

The three assaulted prisoners also include well-known administrative detainees and former long-term hunger strikers. Mohja al-Quds said that the three prisoner leaders are Ayman Ali Suleiman al-Tabeesh, Akram Yousef Mohammed Fassisi and Shehadeh Mohammed al-Tamari.

Akram al-Fassisi

Al-Fassisi went on hunger strike earlier this year against his imprisonment without charge or trial; he previously conducted 58 and 70 day hunger strikes in 2013 and 2014, both against his administrative detention. Only two months after his release in 2014, he was seized by Israeli occupation forces again; after nearly two more years of detention, he was released in 2016 and again was arrested only two months after his release.

Ayman al-Tabeesh

Al-Tabeesh has also been repeatedly arrested and held without charge or trial under administrative detention, where he carried out multiple hunger strikes during his last imprisonment of nearly three years without charge or trial. He has now been imprisoned once more since 2 August 2016.

The Ofer prison administration also closed Section 14 in the prison, where 35 prisoners affiliated with Islamic Jihad are held, after they demanded the return of al-Fassisi, al-Tabeesh and al-Tamari. Meanwhile, fellow prisoner leader Moatassem Ahmed Jaradat, 40, was suddenly transferred from Ramon prison to Ofer prison.  Mohja Al-Quds Foundation said that the Ofer prison administration is intending to destabilize the prisoners through constant transfers and disruption of prisoner leaders inside Israeli jails.