On Saturday, 21 November, Palestinian organizers and activists from a number of organizations, including youth and student groups and women’s organizations as well as members of Samidoun Network in occupied Palestine, joined a demonstration in Manara Square in Ramallah called by the General Union of Palestinian Women to demand freedom for Palestinian women prisoners.
Participants in the demonstration called for the liberation of Khitam Saafin, the president of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, detained without charge or trial under Israeli administrative detention, and her fellow Palestinian prisoners. They also denounced the Palestinian Authority’s announcement of the resumption of security coordination with the Israeli occupation as an attack on the Palestinian people.
Fellow imprisoned Palestinian feminist, parliamentarian and leftist leader, Khalida Jarrar, recently met with her lawyer and spoke about the conditions faced by the women prisoners in Damon prison. She has been imprisoned since 31 October 2019 and repeatedly brought before the military court on charges related to her public political activity.
In a report published in Arabic in Hadf News, Jarrar’s lawyers noted that the women prisoners in Damon prison have launched a series of protest steps against the poor conditions of their detention since September 2000.
“The women prisoners began to partially return meals throughout September and October and continued to do so until 4 November. The Zionist prison administration met these protests with extensive and punitive inspections that began on the morning of 11 October 2020, confiscating all ‘extra’ clothes belonging to the prisoners,” Jarrar told her lawyers. “This repression included the confiscation of clothes, educational books, and stationery in general, in addition to closing the women prisoners’ section for 24 hours and taking Fadwa Hamadeh, a sick prisoner, to solitary confinement for a full week, accusing her of attacking one of the women jailers.”
Jarrar noted further that “the prison administration threatens the women prisoners with transferring them to isolation cells and forbidding them from going out to the prison exercise yard if they continue their steps of struggle. However, these protests have extracted a commitment to improve the floor of the prison yard, painting the walls and obtaining additional products to serve the human needs of the women prisoners.”
However, she also noted that repression is continuing: “The prison administration formally announced a few days ago that they have suspended installing public phones in the prison yard, an achievement gained in the 2017 mass hunger strike. The 39 women prisoners held in Damon prison – and the one, university student Shatha al-Tawil, held in HaSharon prison – are all being prohibited from seeking or continuing their university educations.”
On 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, join Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, the US Palestinian Community Network, the International Women’s Alliance – Europe, Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Within Our Lifetime – United for Palestine, Alkarama Palestinian Women’s Mobilization and the Palestinian Youth Movement for a social media storm and Twitter campaign to free Khitam Saafin, Khalida Jarrar and all Palestinian women political prisoners.
For more information about the social media campaign, please visit this link: https://samidoun.net/2020/11/freekhitamsaafin-freepalestinianwomen-join-the-social-media-action-25-november/