In the evening hours on Monday, 23 December 2013, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) released Palestinian prisoner, Samir Al Issawi, 34, after a long battle against arbitrary detention.
Al Issawi underwent the longest recorded hunger strike in history.
As part of a deal with the Israeli military prosecution, Issawi agreed to end his 266-day hunger strike and serve a further eight months, starting on 23 April 2013.
Samer Al-Issawi, 34, from Jerusalem, was arrested in 2003 and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
He served ten years before he was released in a prisoner exchange agreement on 18 October 2013.
On Saturday, 7 July 2012, IOF arrested Al Issawi at Jaba’ checkpoint, northeast of East Jerusalem.
He was arrested while he was travelling from Ramallah.
On 21 February 2013, an Israeli court sentenced him to eight months imprisonment for violating a military order not to enter the West Bank.
The military committee created under Article 186 of Military Order 1651, which allows a military committee to sentence released prisoners to serve the remainder of their previous sentence, tried to re-arrest Samir to serve the rest of his 20 years imprisonment.
On 1 August 2012, Samir a launched hunger strike which continued for 266 days.
The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights congratulates Samir Issawi on his release.
Al Mezan reiterates its condemnation of the Israeli grave and systematic violations against Palestinian detainees including the abuse of administrative detention.
Al Mezan asserts its intention to continue to defend Palestinian political prisoners and detainees, to expose the violations perpetrated against their rights and work towards securing their liberty.
Al Mezan notes that the efforts of human rights organizations cannot be expected to bear fruit unless Palestinian political unity is restored; the issue of Palestinian prisoners and detainees held by Israel is prioritized; and Arab and international efforts are taken to exert pressure on Israel to respect its obligations and end the systematic violations of the relevant rules and standards of international law.
In this context, Al Mezan reiterates its call on civil society organizations, local and international human rights organizations, and political parties to take serious action towards exposing IOF violations of the rules of international law.
Action must also be taken to ensure IOF respect of the relevant obligations; including providing for the needs of prisoners and detainees; such as healthcare, family visits and contact with the outside world.
Palestinians must be protected from torture and abuse.
Moreover, efforts must be doubled to secure the release of children, women and those detained without charge or trial, as a first step towards releasing all Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons and detention centers.