An Appeal for Urgent Action
February 17th 2013: 4 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons are on a hunger strike.
Protest on incarceration without trial: Jafar Azzidine and Tareq Qa’adan, are held in administrative detention. Ayman Sharawna and Samer El Issawi, were released as part of the Shalit prisoner exchange agreement and rearrested by decision of the committee monitoring violations of the conditions of release that was established just before the Shalit agreement was implemented.
Arrested: January, 2012;
Began his Hunger Strike: July 2012. He stopped for a short period of time when it looked as if an agreement for his release is to be reached with the authorities. He then returned to his hunger strike.
An appeal against the committee’s decision to arrest him was already submitted half a year ago but still no date has been set for a hearing, and so the reason for his arrest – in what way did he violate the terms of release – is left unknown.
His attorneys, Neri Ramati and Ahalam Hadda, appealed to the Supreme Court and a hearing was scheduled for February 20th.
Samer El Issawi
Arrested: July, 2012;
Began his Hunger Strike: August 2012;
His attorneys submitted an objection to the arrest to the military committee; The committee has not yet reached a decision, nor set a date for announcing its decision.
Jafar Azzidine and Tareq Qa'adan
February 12th 2013: PHR-Israel's attorney visited Ja'afer and Tareq and had heard from them on their conditions and treatment.
Intensified Hunger Strike: Ja'afer and Tareq reported that they have intensified their hunger strike, restricting themselves to drinking only water, and refusing all medical treatment including vitamins and minerals. This obviously endangers the strikers’ health and lives, especially in light of their previous lengthy hunger strike (first half of 2012) during which they suffered medical complications. Their strike is now of more than 80 days.
Both Ja'afer and Tareq reported the attorney that their medical condition is deteriorating. They refuse to receive such treatment in protest not only against their administrative detention but also against the way the authorities have treated them during their strike.
Forced medical treatment and shackling during hospitalization: It is according to the decisions of the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) physicians, that hunger strikers are taken from for examinations in public hospitals. On Sunday, February 10th 2013, Ja’afer and Tareq were transferred to Asaff Ha-Rofe hospital, despite their objections. A large number of prison guards was used to forcibly transferr them. At the hospital they were subjected to pressure and threats so that medical tests could be carried out but they refused to agree to any treatment. They were told that it had been decided to hospitalize them overnight. During their hospitalization their hands and feet were shackled to the hospital beds. Jafar and Tareq asked to be hospitalized in a public hospital and receive ongoing treatment there. Because this, in other requests have not been granted, they refused to cooperate with the attending physicians
Diregard of the right to be followed by an independent doctor: Ja’afer and Tareq made repeated requests to those they were in contact with – the director of the IPS medical center, intelligence officers, attorneys who visited them, and a physician of the ICRC – to be monitored by a physician from PHR-Israel and to meet with its representative. They stressed that they regard PHR-Israel as a neutral organization they consider trustworthy.
"I didn't agree to receive IV’s or medications, or undergo medical examinations from February 1st 2013 until today (February 12th 2013). Two days ago, on Sunday, February 10th, we were taken to Asaf Ha-Rofe at 8 PM, following a decision of the IPS medical committee. Despite our objection, we were taken forcibly by a large group of soldiers.
We agreed to be examined because we had been threatened, but refused any medication or IV and asked them to call a PHR's physician and Amany Dayif, the PHR representative, an Arab physician and a Jewish physician, but they refused. We, on our part, refused to cooperate with them unless our demands were met.
We were then taken to the intensive care unit and our heartbeat and pulse were monitored. I underwent chest and abdominal x-rays, and we were told we’d remain there overnight under observation. They put us in beds, shackled hand and foot, until Monday morning at 11:30.”
Summary & Recommendations
The rights of hunger strikers are violated in a number of ways by various authorities whose representatives behave in a manner contrary to regulations, laws, norms of medical ethics and international conventions:
- Requests by PHR-Israel to allow its physicians to visit the hunger strikers have been responded to only after court appeals. The latest request to visit Jafar and Tareq was submitted to the IPS on January 1st2013. The IPS, backed by the courts, continues to prevent ongoing follow-up of hunger strikers by independent physicians, so even when a court rulling allows a visit, it is a one time event.
- In contravention of the IPS’s own procedures, treatment recommendations by PHR physicians who have visited hunger strikers are completely ignored.
- Hunger strikers continue to be shackled in hospitals in violation of norms of medical ethics and of the procedures of the Ministry of Health, the Israel Medical Association and the IPS, despite the fact that it is clear to all involved that shackling is the main reason for their refusal to be hospitalized. Repeated appeals to the Ministry of Health, to the Israel Medical Association, to the hospitals and to the IPS regarding the matter go unanswered, and do not receive the attention they require.
- In contravention of guidelines in international conventions, hunger strikers are denied family visits, even when their lives are in danger.
Israel’s use of administrative detention based on military regulations to incarcerate individuals without trial is evidence that this is but one more tool used to repress residents of the occupied territories. The fact that medical personnel are also involved, the violations of the right to health and the courts failure to preserve the inmates’ rights is evidence of Israel’s widespread and systemic moral, ethical and professional failures.
Therefore, PHR-Israel appeals to the Israeli and international public to help us in our determination to defend the right of these inmates to human dignity and to physical and mental health according to human rights and to medical professional and ethical norms. We urge you to contact the following individuals directly:
The Israel Prison Service – Dr. Goldstein, Chief Medical Officer, by fax: 08-9193970