Seven Palestinian prisoners continue hunger strike against administrative detention despite deteriorating health

Graphic: Collectif Palestine Vaincra

Seven Palestinian prisoners are continuing their open hunger strikes against Israeli administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial, despite intensified repression and worsening health situations. In particular, Jafar Ezzedine and Huzaifa Halabiya are suffering from serious health problems after 37 and 22 days of hunger strike, respectively.

The seven prisoners currently on hunger strike are:

  • Jafar Ezzedine, on hunger strike for 37 days
  • Ahmad Zahran, on hunger strike for 30 days
  • Mohammed Abu Aker, on hunger strike for 22 days
  • Mustafa Hasanat, on hunger strike for 22 days
  • Huzaifa Halabiya, on hunger strike for 22 days
  • Hassan al-Zaghari, on hunger strike for 14 days
  • Sultan Khalaf, on hunger strike for 5 days

Halabiya, 28, from Abu Dis near Jerusalem, is on strike to protest his imprisonment without charge or trial under Israeli administrative detention. He suffered burns over 60% of his body in childhood and is a leukemia survivor with heart and liver problems. He is being held in the Ela detention center in isolation, where he was transferred in retaliation for his hunger strike.

Ezzedine, 48, has been on hunger strike for 37 days after he was arbitrarily transferred to administrative detention after completing a five-month prison sentence on 16 June 2019. He is being held at the Ramleh prison clinic after losing over 22 kg (45 pounds) of weight and suffering from dizziness, weakness and severe headaches. He has carried out several long-term hunger strikes in the past while held in administrative detention. He suffers from severe and persistent insomnia and vomiting of stomach acids.

All of the strikers have been subjected to serious repression and retaliation for their hunger strikes, including denial of family visits, transfer from one prison to another, a particularly harsh situation for prisoners not receiving nutrients, and solitary confinement and isolation. The strikers face round-the-clock harassment, room invasions and loud noises from prison guards as a form of sleep deprivation. Abu Aker was tranferred to isolation in Ashkelon prison while Mustafa Hasanat was transferred to isolation in Ohli Kedar prison. Halabiya, Abu Aker and Hasanat were all transferred one day before their lawyers’ scheduled visits, preventing them from meeting with their lawyers.

Jafar Ezzedine has been detained since 30 January 2019. Sentenced to a five-month prison sentence by an Israeli military court, he was instead transferred to imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention on the day of his announced release. He has carried out three previous long-term hunger strikes. He is married and the father of eight children.

Ahmad Zahran, 42, from Deir Abu Mashal village near Ramallah, has spent a total of 15 years in Israeli prison; he has been jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention since March 2019 and is held in the Ramla prison clinic. He is married and the father of four children.

Mohammed Abu Aker, 24, from Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, is a former prisoner, student activist and organizer in the camp. He has been jailed without charge or trial since 1 November 2018; he is the son of Nidal Abu Aker, who has himself frequently been jailed under administrative detention.

Mustafa Hassanat, 21, from Dheisheh refugee camp, has been jailed without charge or trial by the Israeli occupation since 5 June 2018. He is also a youth activist and organizer in Dheisheh camp.

Huzaifa Halabiya has been jailed without charge or trial since 10 June 2018 despite a need for serious health treatment and follow-ups following his cancer treatment.

Hasan al-Zaghari, from Dheisheh camp, was also scheduled to be released after completing a seven-month prison sentence. Instead, he was ordered jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention on the day of his release. He is being held in isolation in Ofer prison.

Sultan Khalaf, 38, from Burqin near Jenin, was ordered to administrative detention on 18 July 2019. He immediately launched an open-ended hunger strike to reject his imprisonment with no charge or trial on the basis of so-called “secret evidence.” He was arrested by occupation forces on 8 July and is a former prisoner who spent four years in Israeli prisons. He is married.

Several other administrative detainees, including Ihsan Othman, Fidaa Damas and Jamal Tawil, suspended their hunger strikes after reaching agreements to end their imprisonment without charge or trial.

Lawyers from Addameer visited Ezzedine and Zahran at the Ramle prison clinic on 17 July. Both noted that immediately after announcing their hunger strikes, they were transferred to filthy, humid cells in the summer heat and subjected to ongoing invasions by prison guards, especially at night. Addameer lawyers were scheduled to meet with Abu Aker, Halabiya and Hasanat but were prevented from doing so due to the sudden transfers to isolation imposed on the three hunger strikers.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all to stand with these courageous prisoners who have put their lives on the line to seek freedom and an end to the unjust system of administrative detention. International solidarity can help them win their struggles, so all of our participation, protests, petitions and phone calls can play a role in helping them to seize victory for justice and freedom.