Call to Action: Support Hana al-Shalabi as her health declines 4 weeks into hunger strike in Israel jail

The parents of hunger-striking political prisoner Hana al-Shalabi have issued a call to all Palestinians to protest this weekend in support of their daughter who is on her 28th continuous day without food in protest at her detention without charge or trial by Israel:

“We call upon the Palestinian National Authority, the Palestinian national factions, and all Palestinians to take to the streets on Saturday, March 17 and to demonstrate in support of our daughter Hana Shalabi and all administrative detainees.

Pressure on the Palestinian street is imperative in achieving Hana’s immediate release, as well as support for her open hunger strike [that began on February 16, 2012]

We as Hana’s family continue to support her hunger strike, and we want to let our daughter know that we are with her in every step of her hunger strike until she achieves her immediate release from the Israeli occupation jails.

Finally, we call upon all administrative detainees to join Hana’s hunger strike until they achieve their own release and to put an end to the unjust Israeli policy of adminstrative detention, which violates human rights and international law.”

Sharply deteriorating health

Yesterday Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHRI) visited Hana and reported that her health had deteriorated significantly.

“The second doctor’s second examination on 12 March indicated an additional deterioration in Ms. Shalabi’s condition, shown mainly in advanced muscle atrophy and wasting, additional weight loss, a significant reduction in blood sugar, severe dizziness and severe muscle pain, especially in her chest and back.”

Hana was violently re-arrested by Israel on February 16th after her release in the first half of the Hamas-Israel prisoner deal in October. She had spent 25 months on administrative detention, without ever being informed of the reason of her detainment and with no charges brought against her. Her hunger strike is one for freedom and dignity, which began immediately as a result of being horribly mistreated during her last arrest, which included a forced strip search by a male soldier, beatings, and later solitary confinement. She is held in HaSharon prison.

Amnesty International reiterates urgent concern

Amnesty International reiterated its concern for Hana al-Shalabi’s condition following the examination by PHRI doctors. Earlier this month, Amnesty issued an urgent action alert calling on people to contact authorities to demand  Israel release Hana al-Shalabi and other so-called “administrative detainees” held without charge or trial by proper international standards.

Background on Hana al-Shalabi

Background from Addameer

“On 23 February 2012 Ms. Hana Shalabi was given an administrative detention order for six months. On 29 February there was a discussion regarding her detention in Ofer military court. On 4 March the military court decided to reduce the detention period from six to four months, but without promising not to extend or renew it. As a result, Ms. Hana Shalabi announced she would continue to hunger strike until her release. On 7 March, an appeal hearing regarding the court’s decision was held at Ofer, and the military judge ordered the parties to try and reach a compromise by Sunday 11 March, but an agreement has not yet been reached.

Administrative detainees’ protests are growing. Two additional administrative detainees, Bilal Diab and Thair Halahleh declared hunger strikes on 1 March, which they claim will continue until their release from administrative detention. On 3 March, two other administrative detainees declared hunger strikes until their release. Since the beginning of March, a number of administrative detainees have refused to acknowledge the military court and refused to participate in legal discussions of their cases. Due to Israel’s use of administrative detention, and the unwillingness of the military court to interfere in this practice, a hunger strike serves as a non-violent and sole tool available to administrative detainees to protest and fight for their basic human rights.

Approximately 310 Palestinians are currently held in administrative detention in Israeli prisons. Administrative detention allows Israel to hold detainees for indefinitely renewable six-month periods. The arrest is granted on the basis of “secret information” and without a public indictment. Therefore, administrative detainees and their lawyers cannot defend against these allegations in court.”


Linah Alsaafin

Linah Alsaafin's picture

22 years old, from both Gaza and the West Bank. Writer and editor based in Ramallah. 

Twitter: @LinahAlsaafin