Political prisoner Ameer Makhoul, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and civil society leader currently held in Gilboa prison, says that Palestinian prisoners welcome the call for an international day of action on 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. He also says that Palestinian political prisoners at Gilboa held a one-day hunger strike on 13 February, for which they were punished by the prison authorities.
Makhoul is serving a nine-year prison sentence upon accepting a plea deal after a sham trial based on a coerced confession. Following his arrest at his family’s home in Haifa in the middle of the night in May 2010, Makhoul was subjected to ill-treatment that his lawyers say amounts to torture before the state leveled trumped-up charges of espionage based on secret evidence against him.
Makhoul had participated in a hunger strike that took place across Israeli prisons last October, shortly before the announcement of the prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas.
“The cause of liberating the prisoners requires the struggle to be waged on two complementary fronts, within and outside the prison walls,” Makhoul wrote in an article published earlier this year.
Makhoul’s message in support of the international day of action, sent to this writer, states:
What great news regarding the Palestinian political prisoners campaign. [Ameer Makhoul’s partner] Janan updates me and I also updated the Palestinian political prisoners. I feel that the prisoners are more aware of international solidarity and the strategy of campaigns, as well as the interaction between inside and outside prison. Yesterday – 13 February – there was a one day strike here [Gilboa jail]. Palestinian prisoners in four sections - 2,4,5 and 1 - rejected any mail and food for one day from the prison authorities. This was an escalating act because prison authorities closed the section for the day. All day - excluding one hour - all political prisoners [had to] remain in their rooms, no canteen, no basic services and no lawyers visits [were allowed]. The message of the prisoners was clear: not to address the prison authorities but through them to address the state security (Shabak) as well as the government, that Palestinian political prisoners are in solidarity, united and one voice. In addition, [the message was] that the case of Khader Adnan is not an individual case but it is matter to all Palestinian prisoners with all consequences and responsibility. On the other side, it was an act that strengthened the Palestinian prisoners internally, because this act was not for any service provision or benefit. It was for the solidarity with [a] fighter for freedom. It is a great moment. The motto of our action was that if we Palestinian political prisoners request others to express solidarity with us and to campaign for us, we should be in solidarity among ourselves.
Call for international day of action
Rights organizations from several countries have united to support hunger striker Khader Adnan’s fight for the rights of Palestinian political prisoners. They released a call to make Palestinian Political Prisoners’ Day, 17 April 2012, a day of international action. The approximately sixty signatories demand the immediate release of all Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, because they have been targeted by an unfair and unequal legal system. Their imprisonment reflects Israel’s inherent system of injustice and racism. In addition, Israel must immediately halt its practices of:
- Administrative detention.
- Torture and ill-treatment of detainees.
- Solitary confinement and isolation.
- The use of military courts in the occupied Palestinian territory that illegally try civilians.
- Undermining a fair trial by using secret evidence against the accused.
- Arresting vulnerable groups, such as children, disabled, elderly and ill people
Make Palestinian Political Prisoners’ Day - 17 April 2012 - A Day of International Action. Join the campaign by organizing protests and express solidarity with the prisoners and their families.