Prisoners on hunger strike are denied vital salts, medical treatment and access to their lawyers. In a press conference today at the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem, several Israeli Organizations provided an update on the prisoners, condition on the 12th day of the hunger strike and on the legal actions taken to stop the violation of their basic rights.
Adalah Lawyer Abeer Baker submitted a petition to the High Court today, demanding that the prison authority stop denying the prisoners salt (to prevent lasting damage to the hunger strikers). Adalah also submitted a petition that deals with the right of the prisoners, children for physical contact with their parents, and a pre-petition (with ACRI) demanding clear guidelines for lawyer’s access to their clients.
Baker also protested the distribution of Marwan Barguti’s picture by prison authorities with the caption: “Is he or is he not on Strike?” which she says was used to weaken the movement.
Human Rights Lawyer Lea Tsemel reported that on a visit to Beer Sheva prison yesterday she learned that the only medical treatment given to fasting prisoners is eating. “The sick prisoners are locked in a room, tempted with food for five hours and, if they refuse to eat, returned to their cells without treatment. Steaks are grilled outside the cells, cigarettes were confiscated and, according to Tsemel, the prisoners are constantly shifted around from cell to cell and only allowed one hour per day outside.”
Maher Talhami of Physician for Human Rights reiterated his organization’s demand to provide medical treatment to prisoners by impartial outside personnel as the prison,s doctors are caught between their ethical obligation to their patients and to the state. Moreover, PHR found that these doctors had signed their name on a statement distributed to prisoners that provided such false information as hunger strikes can cause impotence and other irreversible health problems.
Ahmad Jaradat, AIC staff member and former political prisoner, emphasized that solidarity with the prisoners, expressed in protest tents, hunger and general strikes, has spread across the Palestinian Occupied Territories to the region and the world.
Executive Director Hannah Friedman of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) said her organization protested to the prison authorities about the water stoppage in the Be’er Sheva prison during the hunger strike. According to Friedman, “Israel is in complete violation of the International Conventions it had signed regarding prisoner rights.”