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Press Release: Al Mezan calls for urgent intervention as the health of Palestinian detainees on hunger strike continues to deteriorate

14-11-2021

Al Mezan is gravely concerned by Israel’s continued issuance and extension of administrative detention orders against Palestinians. The Israeli authorities do so without procedural safeguards and fundamental guarantees in place that are designed to ensure that individuals receive a fair trial and are protected from being unlawfully or arbitrarily deprived of their fundamental human rights and freedoms. This practice means that Palestinian detainees are systematically deprived of their right to a lawyer and to have their lawyers present during interrogation. They are also held in custody indefinitely without being informed of the charges and evidence against them. Palestinian administrative detainees undertake hunger strikes as a last resort for justice.     

    

Al Mezan’s monitoring shows that five Palestinian detainees are currently facing serious health consequences as they remain on a prolonged hunger strike in protest of their administrative detention. The hunger strikers—all men between 24-43 years old—are Kayed al-Fasfous (123 days), Alla al-Araj (99 days), Hisham Abu Hawash (90 days), Ayyad al-Harimi (51 days), and Luay al-Ashqar (31 days). Miqdad Qawasmah recently ended his 113-day hunger strike after reportedly reaching an agreement with Israeli authorities to be released in February 2022.  

 

According to figures circulated by human rights organizations and other relevant institutions, by the end of October 2021, there were around 4,650 Palestinian detainees, including 34 women, 160 minors, and around 500 administrative detainees, being held by the Israel Prison Service (IPS). In the same month, Israeli authorities also issued 49 new administrative detention orders and extended 57 others.

 

Al Mezan recalls that under the Fourth Geneva Convention Israel is legally responsible, as an occupying power, for the wellbeing of Palestinians in its custody, including by providing the medical attention required by their state of health. Even more importantly, Israel must rescind the administrative detention orders in question to preserve the detainees’ lives in accordance with the legal protections guaranteed to persons deprived of their liberty under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.        

 

The Israeli policy of administrative detention directly violates the fair trial guarantees enshrined in Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and infringes the right to liberty, which can only be subjected to restrictions as authorized by a court order that safeguards these guarantees, otherwise, the detention is unlawful.

 

Al Mezan calls on the international community to uphold its moral and legal obligations vis-à-vis the protected Palestinian people and ensure Israel’s respect for international law. International human rights bodies are also urged to promptly intervene to end Israel’s pervasive use of administrative detention, which drives Palestinian detainees to hunger strike for their rights, and to safeguard all legal standards related to the protection of persons deprived of their liberty.  

 

Tags / #detention #Strike #IHL