Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu,
Office of the Prime Minister,
3, Kaplan Street, PO Box 187,
Kiryat Ben-Gurion, Jerusalem,
Israel, Fax: +972- 2-651 2631,
Re: Israel: Two administrative detainees on hunger strike severely ill-treated by the Israeli Prison Service
Dear Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu,
I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com.
I have been informed by the International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) that they have received new information and requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
I have been informed that the International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by Addameer and Al Haq, two members of OMCT SOS-Torture Network, that Mr. Samer Al-Barq and Mr. Hassan Safadi, two administrative detainees on hunger strike, were severely ill-treated by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), in the forms of physical brutality and psychological torture.
According to the information received, on 13 August 2012 at about 9:00 am, IPS guards entered the isolation room that Mr. Hassan Safadi shares with Mr. Samer Al-Barq in Ramleh prison medical clinic and announced their intentions to move the two hunger strikers to a room with other prisoners in the medical clinic who are not on hunger strike. Mr. Safadi and Mr. Al-Barq refused the transfer, as they considered it an attempt to further pressure them to break their hunger strikes by surrounding them with individuals who would be regularly eating in front of them.
According to the same information, after refusing to be moved, the IPS guards attacked both Mr. Hassan Safadi and Mr. Samer Al-Barq. Mr. Safadi’s head was allegedly slammed against the iron door of the cell two times, causing him to fall to the ground, unconscious. The guards then reportedly dragged him through the hall to be seen by all the other prisoners. Later that night, at about 10:00 pm, Mr. Safadi and Mr. Al-Barq were taken to a new isolation room with no mattresses. As a result, Mr. Safadi, who is currently on his 57th day of hunger strike, subsequently announced that he would no longer be drinking water.
Mr. Safadi and Mr. Al-Barq, who is currently on his 87th day of hunger, remain on hunger strike in protest against their administrative detention orders being renewed following the conclusion of Palestinian prisoners’ mass hunger strike in May. Mr. Safadi had been explicitly included in the agreement ending the hunger strike and had been guaranteed his release following the expiration of his order at the time. A final decision regarding Mr. Safadi’s extension (which was planned to take place on 6 August 2012) has been consistently postponed by an Israeli military judge and has not been reached to date.
According to the same information, Mr. Ayman Sharawna also remains on hunger strike. He is currently on his 47th day. OMCT has been informed that a fourth Palestinian detainee, Mr. Samer Al-Issawi, is on his 16th day of hunger strike. Both detainees were former prisoners who were released in last October’s prisoner exchange deal and subsequently re-arrested. They are being held based on secret information and view their hunger strikes as their only tool to protest against their re-arrest.
Along with OMCT, I express its deep concern about the situation of the four aforementioned hunger strikers and urge the competent authorities to take immediate measures in order to ensure that they receive a proper medical treatment in an adquate medical facility, and that they are treated humanly under all circumstances. Along with OMCT ,I am gravely concern that detainees carrying out a hunger strike are getting punished, including by using physical brutality, psychological torture and poor conditions of detention.
I am also concern that the procedure under which their administrative detention has been ordered does not meet international human rights standards, including their right not to be arbitrarily detained as well as their absolute right at all times not to be subjected to any cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
OMCT had earlier been informed by Addameer and Al Haq about the administrative detention of Mr. Samer Al-Barq, Mr. Hassan Safadi and Mr. Ayman Sharawna, as well as their serious health condition caused by their hunger strike in protest of their detention. OMCT was also concerned about the health condition of Mr. Akram Rikhawi who ended his hunger strike after 102 days.
Israel has been holding hundreds of persons from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) in administrative detention. In the occupied Palestinian West Bank, the Israeli army carries out administrative detention on the basis of Military Order 1651, which empowers military commanders to detain an individual for up to six months if they have “reasonable grounds to presume that the security of the area or public security require the detention.” On or just before the expiry date, the detention order is also frequently renewed and this process can be continued indefinitely.
Administrative detention deprives detainees of basic safeguards, including the right to challenge the evidence on which the detention is based, warrants are not required, and the detainee may be held in incommunicado detention for an extended period, subject to renewal.
The United Nations Committee Against Torture has expressed its concern that administrative detention does not conform with article 16 of the Convention. This type of indefinite administrative detention, following manifestly unfair proceedings, can amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
I urge to the Israel authorities:
i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Samer Al-Barq, Mr. Hassan Safadi, Mr. Ayman Sharawna and Mr. Samer Al-Issawi;
ii. Guarantee their unconditional access to independent physicians;
iii. Order their immediate transfer to a public hospital with adequate care that does not include being shackled while in the hospital;
iv. Guarantee unconditional access to all members of their families, and guarantee that the family members are provided with all information concerning their medical condition;
v. Order their immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges that are consistent with international legal standards, or, if such charges exist, bring them promptly before an impartial, independent and competent tribunal that will ensure due process at all times;
vi. Carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the aforementioned facts, notably the aforementioned allegations of ill-treatment, the result of which must be made public, in order to bring those responsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
vii. Guarantee that adequate compensation is awarded to them for the violation of their human rights;
viii. At all times ensure strict respect for international human rights and humanitarian law in the exercise of its jurisdiction, including in connection with military operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador For Salem-News.com