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4 hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners' healths deteriorate, 3 moved to solitary

Oct. 30, 2016 10:23 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 31, 2016 12:03 P.M.)
(AFP/Jack Guez, File)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- The healths of four hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners were seriously deteriorating, Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe said on Sunday.

Qaraqe told Mawtini radio station that Palestinian prisoners Anas Ibrahim Shadid and Ahmad Abu Farah, who have been on hunger strike for 37 days, were now being held in Ramla prison hospital after their conditions severely deteriorated.

Qaraqe added that two other hunger-striking prisoners, identified as Hassan Rabayaa and Majd Abu Shamla, were transferred to solitary confinement in the Ela detention center after their healths worsened 26 days into their hunger strikes.

Meanwhile, fellow Palestinian prisoner Musaab Manasra, who has been on hunger strike for five days, was also transferred to solitary confinement in Ela.

Israeli Prison Service (IPS) officials routinely place Palestinian hunger strikers into solitary confinement in an effort to exert pressure on the detainees to end their strikes.

Qaraqe said that Munther Snawbar and Samer al-Issawi, who are both being held in Nafha prison, also started open-ended hunger strikes six days ago.

Snawbar and al-Issawi launched their hunger strikes to obtain the end of the mistreatment of Palestinian female prisoners in Israeli custody, access to medical care for sick prisoners, and the reinstatement of family visitations for all Palestinian prisoners.

Qaraqe added that prisoner Yousif Abu al-Saed had ended his hunger strike after Israeli authorities accepted his demands and transferred him from Ashkelon prison to Gilboa.

IPS authorities have also regularly used raids, confiscation of personal belongings, and forcible prison transfers to pressure Palestinian prisoners to end their hunger strikes, most notably this summer when a large-scale solidarity movement formed in support of a number of high-profile, hunger-striking prisoners denouncing being held in administrative detention -- internment without trial or charges.

Scores of Palestinian prisoners have launched hunger strikes in the past year to protest administrative detention or the conditions of their incarceration. The most prominent hunger strikers included Muhammad al-Qiq, Bilal Kayid, and Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul.

Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.

Rights groups have also claimed that Israel's administrative detention policy has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political and social processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, students, and journalists.

According to Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons as of August. The prisoners rights group estimates that 40 percent of Palestinian men have been detained by Israel at some point in their lives.
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