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Over 400 administrative detainees in Israeli prisons to launch hunger strike

June 1, 2018 1:19 P.M. (Updated: June 2, 2018 2:42 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners being held under administrative detention in Israeli prisons are expected to launch a hunger strike next week in protest of their detentions, in addition to their ongoing boycott of Israeli courts.

Issa Qaraqe, head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners Affairs, said in a statement on Thursday that some 500 prisoners being held under administrative have been boycotting Israeli courts since February, in an effort to end the widely condemned policy, which allows for the detention of Palestinians without charge or trial.

Qaraqe added that the detainees would be “escalating measures” in early June, and would be launching a widespread hunger strike, though it remained unclear when the strike would begin.

The administrative detainees are calling upon all Palestinian people to support the scheduled hunger strike, Qaraqe said, adding that he expects Israeli authorities to “exercise unprecedented repression and isolate detainees” during the strike. to end this scheduled hunger strike, and to face it similarly as the hunger strike in 2017.

The strike is expected to mimic last years “Freedom and Dignity” hunger strike, during which hundreds of Palestinian prisoners launched a weeks-long strike in demand of their basic needs and rights as political prisoners, and to end to the practice of arbitrary administrative detention, torture, ill-treatment, unfair trials, detention of children, medical negligence, solitary confinement, inhuman/degrading treatment, deprivation of basic rights such as family visits and the right to education.

Hanan Ashrawi wrote in an impassioned statement regarding last year’s hunger strike, “since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip began nearly 50 years ago, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been kidnapped and imprisoned by Israel, and in the past two years alone, at least 13 discriminatory and racist laws have been enacted by the Israeli government that deliberately target Palestinian prisoners and are in direct violation of international law and conventions.”

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