UN Experts to Israel: Charge or Release the Five Palestinian Hunger Strikers

Protesters stand in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. (Photo: via ActiveStills.org)

Expressing grave fear for the lives of five Palestinians currently on hunger strike in Israeli prisons, United Nations Human Rights experts have called on Israel to either release or charge the prisoners, and completely end its unlawful practice of administrative detention, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

“In violation of international law, Israel continues to use administrative detention to imprison more than 500 Palestinians – including six children – without charges, without trials, without convictions, all based on classified secret information that the detainees have no access to,” the experts said in a press statement yesterday.

“They have no recourse to challenging these undisclosed allegations, and they do not know when, or if, they are going to be released.”

“These practices would appear to be arbitrary detention, which is strictly prohibited under international law, including international humanitarian law”, said the experts. “And the arbitrary detention of children is particularly abhorrent, violating the minimum standards established by the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

The UN experts said that Israel’s practice of administrative detention drives prisoners to desperate measures, even risking their lives, to bring attention to their plight.

The five hunger strikers, all men in their twenties and thirties, have been refusing food for between 58 and 99 days to protest being held in administrative detention for months or even years at a time.

Two of the Palestinian prisoners, Kayed Al-Fasous and Miqdad Al-Qawasameh, are said to be in imminent danger of death. Mr. Al-Fasous, who was reportedly previously held in harsh conditions in solitary confinement, now is in Barzelai hospital.

Al Qawasameh was transferred to Kaplan Hospital after his health deteriorated; he has been in intensive care there since October 19.

Two other prisoners, Alaa Al-Araj, and Hisham Ismail Abu Hawash, were transferred to Israeli hospitals on October 19, after their health deteriorated. The fifth prisoner, Mr. Shadi Abu Aka, is currently in Ramleh prison clinic.

The UN experts noted that, under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, an occupying power is not permitted to transfer prisoners from the occupied territory to detention centers in its territory.

“The United Nations has regularly observed that Israel is in violation of this legal duty, and has called upon it to comply with its obligation, but to no avail.”

The human rights experts also called upon Israel to end its harsh detention conditions of Palestinian prisoners.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

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