28 février 2012

Palestinian hunger striker's brother: she won't eat until she is free

Published Monday, February 27, 2012

The father is also on hunger strike, outside, to support her daughter
The brother of a female Palestinian hunger striker has warned she will not stop her protest until she is freed.
Hana Shalabi has refused to eat since she was arrested in a violent raid and held without trial 12 days ago. Since beginning her strike she has kept in solitary confinement without access to her family, her lawyers said on Monday.
Taking strength from the success of Khader Adnan's campaign, Shalabi's brother said she had sworn to continue until she is released.
Israel struck a deal last week with Adnan persuading him to end his 66-day fast after assuring him that he would be released in April from his detention without trial.
“Her protest is an open hunger strike until she is freed. That is the one demand,” Shalabi's brother Ammar told Al-Akhbar.
Ammar said she had been arrested by Israeli security forces in a violent raid on Febraury 16.
“The army came to the house, and went around for five minutes beating everyone. But they were looking for her by name, they picked her up and dragged her out.”
“Her medical situation is bad, very bad. The army hit her and they are holding her in solitary confinement. She hasn't been allowed to see a doctor but a lawyer has been permitted.”
Like Adnan, Shalabi is being held under so-called administrative detention, where she can effectively be held without trial indefinitely.
Shalabi was held by Israel for 25 months under the system before she was released last October as part of a prisoner swap in which some 1,000 Palestinians were freed in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held in Gaza for five years.
Israel has claimed she is active within Islamic Jihad, the same claim made against Adnan, but her brother called on the Israeli authorities to produce evidence to back up the charge.
“They say that she is an activist in Islamic Jihad, but they have arrested her under administrative detention because they have no proof,” he said.
“They just took her and gave her administrative detention and said she is a danger to the state of Israel because they don't have any evidence.”
Ammar said allegations of mistreatment were of great concern to his family and promised to protest for her release.
"Of course we are very worried and we are working all the time. We have a sit-in and God willing she will be freed."
Israel's Prisons Service denied the allegations. "The isolation was part of routine procedure to deal with hunger strikers and she was put in a cell on her own, but it was not solitary confinement punishment. Today she was returned to a cell with another inmate," spokeswoman Sivan Weizman said.
"There has been no mistreatment in prison. She was not searched by a male prison guard and she is getting visits. Indeed, she has not complained of mistreatment while in the custody of the Prisons Service," Weizman added.
Human rights groups have condemned detention without trial. Amnesty International has called on Israel to either release or charge all prisoners held under the law.
Israeli authorities say the procedure is used in some security-related cases and helps to protect confidential sources from exposure in court.
Qaddoura Fares, the chairman of the main Palestinian prisoner's organization, said 310 Palestinians are in administrative detention. He said that since the Shalit deal, 15 Palestinians have been rearrested and six are still in jail.

Al-Akhbar, Reuters

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