Action Alert: Save Samer Issawi
Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi has been on hunger strike for 150 days now (as of December 28 2012), in protest of his administrative detention orders. Samer Issawi was freed from Israeli prison after last year’s exchange of a captured Israeli soldier for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. But today he is awaiting hearings in two Israeli courts, Ofer military court in the occupied West Bank and Israeli Magistrates Court in Jerusalem.
Thirty-two-year-old Samer is from the Palestinian village of Issawiyeh in Jerusalem. On 15 April 2002, Samer was captured by the Israeli army in Ramallah during the invasion of multiple West Bank cities, dubbed by Israel “Operation Defensive Shield.” Samer was sentenced to thirty years in prison on charges of possession of weapons and forming military groups in Jerusalem.
Nearly 10 years later, in October 2011 Samer was released along with 476 Palestinian prisoners as a result of an Egypt-brokered deal between Hamas and the Israeli government. However, on 7 July 2012, he was re-arrested near the Palestinian village of Hizma, an area within the boundaries of the municipality of Jerusalem. Israel wrongly and falsely claimed that Samer broke the terms of his release by leaving Jerusalem.
Samer’s life now hangs by a thread. On December 24th, Samer forwarded a short message via his lawyer, “My detention is unjust and illegal, just like the occupation is. My demands are legitimate and just. Thus I will not withdraw from the battle for freedom, waiting for either victory and freedom - or martyrdom."
Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. There are currently 178 administrative detainees, a significant increase since the attacks on Gaza in November 2012.
Friends of Al-Aqsa condemns the continued practice of administrative detention against Palestinians. Friends of Al-Aqsa calls on the international community to pressure their governments and Israel to end this arbitrary practice and to comply with international humanitarian and human rights law.
The plight of Samer Issawi needs to be brought to the world’s attention so that he, along with the other 175 Palestinians held under administrative detention can be put on trial or released. For decades, Israel has used administrative detention to arrest and imprison Palestinians without cause. Many never know why they are being held and face months if not years imprisoned. This will only stop if the right pressure and influence is exerted and it should be lead by the British Government.
Contact your MP and inform them about the case of Samer Issawi, and the other 175 prisoners held under a policy of ‘administrative detention’ by Israel.
Inform your MP that Israel is breaking international rights under Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which says that no person should be "subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention".
Ask your MP to write to the Foreign Secretary to ask him to formally condemn administrative detention and call for the immediate end of its use by Israel.
You can find your MP’s contact details here.