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Palestinian prisoner thrown in solitary for 'inciting' others to join mass hunger strike

April 14, 2017 6:20 P.M. (Updated: April 17, 2017 1:02 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israel Prison Service (IPS) raided Section 10 of Nafha prison on Friday afternoon, where they assaulted Palestinian prisoners and reportedly threw one prisoner in solitary confinement for “inciting prisoners” to join an upcoming mass hunger strike for Palestinian Prisoners’ Day.

Ashraf Hanaisha, representative for prisoners in Section 10, released a statement saying that IPS forces raided the section and targeted Palestinian prisoner Nasser Salah, a resident of the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem who is serving a life sentence.

Hanaisha said that IPS forces assaulted Salah, who delivers the weekly Friday sermon to Muslim prisoners, and transferred him to solitary confinement after officials accused him of “inciting and encouraging prisoners” to join a mass hunger strike, organized by the Fatah movement, that is to be launched on April 17.

The events on Friday came two days after prisoners of various political factions being held in sections 3, 4, 10, 13 and 14 of Nafha announced that they would be joining the strike, led by imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi.

After the hunger strike was announced, an IPS official reportedly said that they would not respond to any of the prisoners’ demands, while Israel TV reported that Israeli security has expressed fear of a “collapse in security conditions” in prisons during the strike.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Channel 2 reported Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan ordered for the establishment of a military hospital to ensure that hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners were not transferred to civilian hospitals -- which have so far refused to force feed hunger striking Palestinian prisoners.

While the Israeli Supreme Court recently decided force feeding hunger-striking prisoners was constitutional, Israeli doctors have sided with internationally accepted medical ethics that regard the practice as a form of torture.

Palestinian prisoners’ solidarity network Samidoun warned that it was “highly possible” that Erdan’s field hospital proposal was “an attempt to impose mass force feeding on striking Palestinian prisoners outside of the civilian medical framework.”

Last month, Barghouthi and participating Palestinian prisoners called on the Palestinian public and activists around the world to support them in their upcoming strike, which includes a list of demands such as ending “provocative and humiliating” searches of prisoners, terminating medical negligence inside prisons, and ensuring regular family visits.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,500 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons as of January, 65 percent of whom are affiliated with the Fatah movement, the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs reported.
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