Solidarity strike supports Ahmad Zahran on 100th day of hunger strike

Palestinian political prisoner Ahmad Zahran entered his 100th day of hunger strike on the eve of the new year, 31 December 2019, as a number of prisoners of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine launched a one-day strike in support of his struggle. Zahran, 42, from the village of Deir Abu Mishaal, has been on hunger strike since 22 September against his administrative detention, Israeli imprisonment without charge or trial.

Earlier in the year, Zahran went on hunger strike for 39 days. He ended his strike on the basis of a promise to release him; instead, Israeli occupation forces issued a new arbitrary detention order against him. He has spent 15 years in multiple occasions in Israeli prison and is the father of four children.

The prisoners who launched a solidarity strike are: Wael al-Jaghoub (transferred the day before to collective isolation in Hadarim by Israeli occupation prison officials in retaliation for this support action), Nassar Jaradat, Raed al-Rayyan, Musab Mahmoud, Fadi Khairzan, Mohammed Abu Hamed, Mohammed Abu Ghazi and Ahmed Abu Amsha, in addition to Jamil Yousef Ankoush, who launched a solidarity strike three days before to support Zahran’s demands for freedom.

The Handala Center for Prisoners and Former Prisoners said in a statement that “Zahran and his fellow prisoners of the PFLP are launching the year 2020 with a new heroic battle that will add to the legacy of the prisoners’ movement, on the front lines confronting the occupation.” The PFLP prison branch said that this solidarity strike is part of a rolling series of strikes and actions. “This will be followed by other prisoners launching strikes to pressure the prison administration and intelligence agencies to end the suffering of comrade Zahran through his unconditional release. If the occupation continues to detain the comrade, these activities of pressure will escalate to a strategic strike by all PFLP prisoners in all prisons, which could escalate further to include all of the struggling prisoners in the jails of the occupation.”

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said in a statement on 31 December that Zahran is facing severe health deterioration in the Ramleh prison clinic, noting that the occupation forces are attempting to break his strike through delaying his appeal in the military courts and transferring him back to interrogation despite his weakness and fatigue after over three months without food. His lawyer said that he has lost 35 kilograms (77 pounds) of weight and has a slow heartbeat, pain throughout his body and acute vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Administrative detention orders are indefinitely renewable and can be issued for up to six months at a time. Palestinians have spent years in Israeli prison under these orders. Currently, around 450 of over 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners are detained under administrative detention orders, initially introduced to Palestine by the British colonial mandate and then adopted by the Zionist state.

Israel’s practice of administrative detention, which is used systematically to imprison Palestinians without charge or trial, comes in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and is also a form of psychological torture for the detainees and their families: They never know when and how they may be released, if ever.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network reiterates our full and unconditional solidarity with Ahmad Zahran and all Palestinian prisoners struggling for freedom. We urge all supporters of justice around the world to take a stand with Ahmad Zahran, whose life is on the line as he struggles to bring an end to administrative detention. International solidarity can be important to show Palestinian prisoners like Ahmad Zahran that they are not forgotten and to put pressure on the Israeli state – and the governments that support it – to support Zahran in achieving victory for justice and freedom.

See the call to action here: