50 days of hunger strike: Freedom for Kayed Fasfous!

Palestinian prisoner Kayed Fasfous is on hunger strike for the 50th day, struggling against his administrative detention — Israeli occupation imprisonment without charge or trial. Yesterday, 20 September, fellow hunger striker Sultan Khallouf suspended his hunger strike after achieving the limitation of his administrative detention; he will be released on 2 December 2023.

Khallouf’s victory also came after a number of prisoners of the Islamic Jihad movement declared that they would launch a hunger strike in solidarity with him. This came days after fellow prisoner Maher al-Akhras suspended his hunger strike after he was charged in the military courts in order to pursue his legal strategy.

Fasfous, 34, previously won his liberation from administrative detention in a 131-day hunger strike that drew the attention of the world in 2021. He is currently being held in the Naqab desert prison in isolation, as he has been since he began his hunger strike on 3 August. His four brothers, Akram, Khaled, Hafez and Hasan, are all also held without chrge or trial under administrative detention. He is married and the father of a daughter.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society reported that Fasfous’ cell is searched daily and his clothing and appliances were confiscated. He was left with only the clothes that he was wearing when launching his strike.

In the past two years, the occupation prison administration has refused to transfer Palestinian hunger strikers to civilian hospitals, even when their health has deteriorated to an extreme level. Transfer to a civilian hospital was, in the past, frequently associated with suspension of administrative detention due to medical condition. While this began as an attempt to compel Palestinians to end their hunger strikes only to be returned to administrative detention, the prisoners began inviting journalists and family members to visit them in the hospital. Their videos, images and words were able to reach people throughout Palestine, the Arab region and around the world, sparking widespread attention.

The occupation is now attempting to keep the case of Fasfous and all Palestinian hunger strikers deliberately silenced, in order to undermine solidarity action with them. Most notoriously, the denial of medical care was a form of assassination of Sheikh Khader Adnan, who died after 86 days of hunger strike on 2 May 2023 after denial of transfer to a civilian hospital.

On 20 September, a Zionist military court rejected Fasfous’ appeal against his administrative detention. The Prisoners’ Society declared that “this rejection is tantamount to a decision to execute him, especially after such a long period of time has passed since he began his open strike, with the escalating risks to his life. The occupation courts are the most prominent mechanism used to consolidate the crime of admnitrative detention, as part of the system that works to target prisoners on a daily basis. These courts, both the military courts and the occupation Supreme Court, have devised strategies and mechanisms to undermine the cause of the hunger strikers. They only impleent the decisions of the occupation intelligence.”

Fasfous is one of 1200 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention, out of approximately 5200 Palestinian prisoners in total. Administrative detention was first introduced to Palestine by the British colonial mandate and was adopted by the Zionist regime. Palestinians are routinely jailed for years at a time under repeatedly renewed detention orders. In the past year, the number of administrative detainees has more than doubled as part of the ongoing “war” on the prisoners’ movement.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters of Palestine to take action to support Kayed Fasfous and all Palestinian prisoners struggling for freedom, for their own lives and for the Palestinian people. These sons of the Palestinian popular masses are confronting the system of Israeli oppression on the front lines behind bars, with their bodies and their lives, to bring the system of administrative detention to an end.

It is particularly important to stand with the strikers and not let their cases be silenced — earlier this year, on 2 May, Sheikh Khader Adnan’s life was taken after 86 days of hunger strike while being actively denied medical care. He had previously won his freedom four times through hunger strikes. These Palestinian prisoners are putting their bodies, health and lives on the line for liberation.

With over 1200 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial — over 20% of all Palestinian prisoners — the struggle to bring down administrative detention is more urgent than ever. Take these actions below to stand with the hunger strikers and the struggle for liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea!

Download these signs for use in your campaigns: