vendredi 31 mars 2017

Palestinians aim to “break wall of silence” with hunger strike

Les Palestiniens visent à «détruire le mur du silence» avec une grève de la faim

Palestinians rally in solidarity with prisoners held in Israeli jails, in front
of the Red Cross office in Gaza City, 27 March. Ashraf AmraAPA images

Two Palestinians being held in extreme isolation by Israel are undertaking hunger strikes to draw attention to their cases.

Kifah Quzmar, 27, announced his hunger strike on 26 March after spending 19 days under interrogation without access to a lawyer. He has been jailed repeatedly in the past by the Palestinian Authority.

Mahmoud Saada, 41, launched his hunger strike on 12 March after being interrogated since his arrest in mid-February.

Neither of them has been sentenced or placed under administrative detention, Israel’s practice of holding Palestinians indefinitely without charge or trial based on secret evidence.
Severe health concerns

“They’re clearly being subject to this extended interrogation in an attempt to compel coerced confessions,” Charlotte Kates of Samidoun, a Palestinian prisoners support network, told The Electronic Intifada.

“One reason why they have launched these hunger strikes is to attempt to break the wall of silence around Israeli interrogation tactics,” Kates added.

Saada was arrested on 16 February at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank. Samidoun reports he has mostly been denied access to a lawyer while being subjected to prolonged interrogation.

In his third week without food, Saada faces serious health risks. His family, who have not been able to visit him, are particularly concerned because Saada has a kidney and colon condition for which he had two surgeries in 2015.

But his family knows little of his condition or what kind of care he is receiving because Saada has only been granted one legal visit since his arrest and has been denied all family visits.

On 26 March, after two weeks on hunger strike, Saada, a father of four children all under 10 years old, was taken to a hospital in the Jalameh detention center in the northern West Bank.

The next day, an Israeli military court extended his interrogation for nine more days. Saada’s lawyer was not allowed to at...

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