With deep concern, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights monitors the health of Palestinian detainee Hisham Abu Hawash, who has been on hunger strike for 141 days in protest of his detention without trial. The Israeli authorities are disregarding international regulations and standards relating to people deprived of their liberty in Abu Hawash’s case and in the other cases of administrative detention.
Israel’s extensive policy of administrative detention violates the fair trial guarantees that entitle detainees to be informed of the charges against them, access to a lawyer, trial without undue delay, and equality of arms, in addition to other safeguards that Palestinian detainees under administrative detention are being denied. The denial of these rights prompts detainees to launch open-ended hunger strikes, gravely risking their health and life, in attempts to pressure the Israeli authorities to meet the State’s obligations under international law.
Hisham Abu Hawash, 39, resident of Hebron city, has been held under administrative detention since 27 October 2020. During his arrest, three administrative detention orders were issued against him. On 26 December 2021, the Israeli authorities froze the administrative detention of Abu Hawash and his family was allowed visitation under the surveillance of hospital guards.
The health condition of the hunger striker has recently significantly deteriorated and accordingly, on 23 December 2021, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) ordered his transfer to Assaf Harofeh Hospital. He has suffered immense weight loss, become immobile and unable to speak, and according to doctors, he could die at any time.
Al Mezan is gravely concerned for the life of Abu Hawash and holds Israel fully responsible for his wellbeing as the detaining power. The authorities must end his administrative detention and uphold international standards for people deprived of their liberty.
Al Mezan asserts that Israel’s administrative detention policy is in breach of fair trial guarantees and violates the right to liberty, which prohibits arbitrary detention, according to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The Center calls on the international community to uphold its moral and legal obligations vis-à-vis the protected Palestinian people and to ensure Israel’s respect for international law. International human rights bodies and officials are urged to promptly intervene to call for the end to Israel’s pervasive use of administrative detention and to ensure that legal safeguards are in place for Palestinian detainees.