Four Palestinian prisoners continue hunger strikes for liberation

Four Palestinian prisoners are continuing their hunger strikes for freedom against administrative detention and arbitrary imprisonment: Kayed Fasfous, Sultan Khallouf, Abdel-Rahman Baraqa and Maher al-Akhras. Fasfous and Khallouf have now been on hunger strike for 35 days, while Baraqa has been on strike for 28 days and al-Akhras for 15 days.

Fasfous, Khallouf and Baraqa have all been ordered jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention. These orders, initially introduced to Palestine by the British colonial mandate before being adopted by the Zionist regime, are issued for up to six months at a time and are indefinitely renewable. Palestinians routinely are jailed for years at a time with no charge or trial, and they are jailed on the basis of “secret evidence” denied to both the detainee and their lawyer.

Al-Akhras has been on hunger strike since the moment of his arrest and is still being held under interrogation. Fasfous, Khallouf and al-Akhras have all won their freedom in the past through individual hunger strikes, many of which garnered widespread Palestinian, Arab and international attention.

In the past year, administrative detention orders have shot up rapidly, reaching 1200 out of 5100 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, over double the number of administrative detainees one year ago. The escalation in the use of administrative detention comes hand in hand with a series of attacks on the prisoners, most recently far-right Zionist racist minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s announcement that family visits would only be allowed once every two months and the denial of early release for Palestinian prisoners, including Walid Daqqah, fighting against a rare cancer and denied proper medical treatment.

The Palestinian prisoners’ movement has called for a mass hunger strike beginning on Thursday, 14 September to demand an end to Ben Gvir’s attack on the prisoners and a complete retreat from these attacks by the occupation.

These cases are particularly urgent following the martyrdom of Sheikh Khader Adnan, who died after being denied medical treatment on his 86th day of hunger strike in occupation prison on 2 May 2023. Adnan had previously won his freedom from detention on four separate occasions through hunger strikes and was one of the most influential leaders of the prisoners’ movement in developing the wave of individual and small group strikes confronting administrative detention over the past decade.

Taghreed al-Akhras, the wife of Maher al-Akhras, said: “We as a family direct our appeal to solidarity movements, and we always count on our people and our free people all over the world, and on the families of prisoners and martyrs to stand by our prisoners, because their cause is just, and they refuse to submit to this unjust occupier inside prisons.” She noted that her imprisoned husband always said that “the means of resistance that the prisoners have behind bars is their empty stomachs.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters of Palestine to take action to support the Palestinian hunger strikers 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: