Free Khalil Awawdeh and Raed Rayan: 115 prisoners joining collective strike to release long-term hunger strikers

Palestinian prisoners Khalil Awawdeh and Raed Rayan are continuing their long-term hunger strikes, even as Awawdeh’s administrative detention was renewed on 20 July after 142 days of hunger strike. Rayan has been on hunger strike for _107 days. Both are demanding their freedom from administrative detention, Israeli imprisonment without charge or trial. Now, over 115 Palestinian prisoners are joining them in a collective battle to bring their imprisonment to an end.

On the evening of Thursday, 21 July, 40 prisoners of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement in Ofer prison launched an open-ended hunger strike in solidarity with Awawdeh after the news that his administrative detention had been extended until 2 October 2022 despite his severe health conditions.

In addition, the prison organization of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine announced that 75 prisoners of the Front would launch a solidarity hunger strike on Sunday, joining the collective battle throughout the prisons in support of Raed Rayan and Khalil Awawdeh. In the statement announcing the strike, the PFLP prisoners also drew attention to the cases of Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, who was suddenly taken from their rooms in recent days to interrogation by occupation forces, and Shadi Maali, also jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention, who has been thrown into isolation for three months in an attempt to extract information from him about his son, Jad, 19, or force Jad to turn himself into the occupation forces.

Khalil Awawdeh, 40, from Ithna, near al-Khalil, is the father of four daughters. His health is in severe deterioration, and he has been repeatedly transferred back and forth between the notoriously negligent Ramle prison clinic and various civilian hospitals during his lengthy hunger strike. On the 111th day of his hunger strike, he briefly suspended his strike as he had been notified that the occupation forces had agreed to his release. Instead, two days later, he was informed that his administrative detention order had been reimposed, prompting him to continue the strike. Throughout this time, he has consistently been denied contact with his family and frequently with his lawyer.

Awawdeh originally intended to pursue medical school abroad but enrolled in an engineering course in al-Khalil at Palestine Polytechnic University before his studies were interrupted in 2002. Jailed for five years by the Israeli occupation, he was released in 2007. Later that year, he was once again seized and held without charge or trial under administrative detention for nearly three years. He has since been repeatedly detained. He launched studies at economics at Al-Quds Open University, which were again interrupted on 27 December 2021, when he was thrown in administrative detention without charge or trial once again.

He is severely emaciated, must use in a wheelchair, vomits water when he consumes it and can barely speak, with severe pain throughout his body. Nevertheless, he has continued the battle, even when the false claims of the occupation led to a dissipation of interest and attention to his case.

Raed Rayan, 27, from Beit Duqqu northwest of occupied Jerusalem, has een on hunger strike for 107 days. He has been imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention since 3 November 2021. He had been released from his last period of detention without charge or trial only months before, in April 2021. He launched his hunger strike afer his detention was extended for another four months in April 2022. He also must move in a wheelchair and suffers from severe head, stomach and eye pain through his extensive hunger strike.

What Is Administrative Detention?

Administrative detention was first used in Palestine by the British colonial mandate and then adopted by the Zionist regime; it is now used routinely to target Palestinians, especially community leaders, activists, and influential people in their towns, camps and villages.

There are currently approximately 682 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention, out of 4,700 Palestinian political prisoners. These orders are issued by the military and approved by military courts on the basis of “secret evidence”, denied to both Palestinian detainees and their attorneys. Issued for up to six months at a time, they are indefinitely renewable, and Palestinians — including minor children — can spend years jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention.

Administrative detainees have been engaged in a collective boycott of the military courts since 1 January 2022 and are currently planning to assess their next steps of struggle collectively, amid the growing movement for Awawdeh and Rayan’s freedom.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters of Palestine to take action to support Khalil Awawdeh and Raed Rayan, confronting the Zionist occupation forces with their bodies and lives on the line, and all Palestinian prisoners struggling for freedom, for their own lives and for the Palestinian people. Awawdeh and Rayan’s fellow prisoners are standing hand in hand with them in battle,  confronting the system of Israeli oppression on the front lines, with their bodies and their lives, to bring the system of administrative detention to an end.

Take these actions below to stand with the hunger strikers and the struggle for the liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea!

TAKE ACTION: 

Join the Social Media Campaign!

There is a growing social media campaign to #FreeRaed and #FreeKhalil. Use these hashtags and to post on Twitter and Instagram. Post in all languages!  Take action and join the social media outrage and break the isolation imposed upon Raed and Khalil by the Israeli occupation! Follow the Instagram accounts of their campaigns to Free Khalil and Free Raed

Protest in your city or country!

Join the many protests taking place around the world — confront, isolate and besiege the Israeli embassy or consulate in your city or country of residence. Or take to the streets in your neighborhood, on your campus or at a government building in your area. Make it clear that the people are with Palestine! Send us your events at samidoun@samidoun.net. Demonstrations have already been organized in Montreal, London, Manchester, Paris, Toulouse, Berlin and elsewhere.

Boycott Israel!

The international, Arab and Palestinian campaign to boycott Israel can play an important role at this critical time. Local boycott groups can protest and label Israeli produce and groceries, while many complicit corporations – including HP, G4S, Puma, Teva and others, profit from their role in support Zionist colonialism throughout occupied Palestine. By participating in the boycott of Israel, you can directly help to throw a wrench in the economy of settler colonialism.

Use these Posters and Signs:

Spread awareness by posting these signs and posters in your community or carrying them during your demonstrations:

Download the PDF file .