Take Action: End Solitary Confinement and Isolation, Support Palestinian Hunger Strikers

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Samidoun:

Over 100 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails are now participating in a collective hunger strike, as prisoners from Eshel and Ramon prisons joined the strike demanding an end to the policy of solitary confinement and in solidarity with Nahar al-Saadi, who has been held in solitary confinement since May 2013 and has been on hunger strike since 20 November. The collective strike was launched by 70 prisoners on 9 December. The strikers are demanding al-Saadi’s release from isolation; regular family visits for al-Saadi; and an end to the use of solitary confinement and isolation against Palestinian prisoners.

Al-Saadi, in isolation for a year and seven months, has been denied family visits and medical treatment, and was denied a lawyer visit just this week. Take Action today: Demand an end to solitary confinement and isolation!

Addameer and Physicians for Human Rights issued an urgent call regarding the situation of Nahar al-Saadi, calling for an immediate end to solitary confinement. Isolation and solitary confinement are forms of torture, and Israel’s use of administrative detention is contrary to international law and human rights standards. Isolation is recognized by the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Torture as a form of torture when used for extended periods, as it is in Israeli prisons.

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Nahar al-Saadi with his mother

As Addameer and PHR report, “The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture details the severe psychological effects of solitary confinement, including that it causes ‘psychotic disturbances’… anxiety, depression, anger, cognitive disturbances, perceptual distortions, paranoia and psychosis and self-harm.’ Solitary confinement can also cause physiological damage. Prisoners often develop ‘gastroenterology, vascular, urinary and reproductive system illnesses as well as suffer from sleep disturbances and extreme fatigue. They also complain of tremors, recurrences of heart palpitations, recurrences of excessive perspiration.’

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society also reported that a meeting is being held between the leadership of the strike and the prison officials in Nafha prisons, as of the evening of 16 December.

Depending on the outcome of these discussions, it is expected that more prisoners will join the strike in coming days, in the event that the prison administration continues to reject the demands of striking prisoners. The Israeli prison administration has been imposing severe repression on the hunger strikers in an attempt to break the strike, transferring them from prison to prison, isolating 30 of them, threatening them and in some cases transferring them to Israeli “criminal” prison sections, away from other Palestinian political prisoners, as well as engaging in frequent violent raids and inspections in strikers’ rooms. Hussam Abed, one of the prisoners on hunger strike, said that he was denied salt and sugar, which he had been taking with water, by occupation prison officials.

IMEMC reported that “the detainees, held in solitary confinement, are currently in the prisons of Eshil, Nafha, Majeddo, Asqalan, Ramla and Ramon, facing very harsh living conditions and constant violations.

In addition, the Palestinian Prisoners Society has reported that the Prison Administration in the Negev Detention Camp has informed 45 striking detainees it intends to transfer them to other, unspecified prisons.”

Rafat Hamdouna, director of the Prisoners Center for Studies, said that the prisoners’ movement will not allow an open hunger strike to drag on for tens of days, urging international institutions to intervene and resolve this issue, and for broad actions in solidarity to ensure the success of the strike which aims, once more, to end the policy of isolation and solitary confinement.

In May 2012, in order to end the collective hunger strike of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, the Israeli prison administration agreed to end the use of solitary confinement and isolation, releasing the 19 then held in isolation into general population. Since that time, the use of isolation and solitary confinement by Israeli prisons has been escalating, sparking this renewed hunger strike.

 TAKE ACTION! Demand:

  • the release of Nahar al-Saadi from solitary confinement
  • restoration of family and legal visits to Nahar al-Saadi, and proper medical access and treatment
  • an end to the use of solitary confinement and isolation against Palestinian political prisoners

1. Take action and demand an end to the use of solitary confinement and isolation, and the release of Nahar al-Saadi from solitary confinement. Sign the letter here and send it to Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Netanyahu.

2. Take action for Palestinian prisoners: protest at an Israeli consulate or embassy, or hold an educational event Palestinian prisoners. Share this alert on solitary confinement and the hunger strike.

3. Join the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions. Isolate Israel for its mass political imprisonment of Palestinians. Boycott products like HP and SodaStream, and demand an end to security contracts with G4S, which operates in Israeli prisons. Learn more at bdsmovement.net.

 

End Isolation and Solitary Confinement: Support Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike

Write today to support the demands of the over 70 Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike and call for an immediate end to the use of solitary confinement and isolation against Nahar al-Saadi, and all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Statement: From Ferguson to New York to Palestine, Solidarity with the Resistance to Racist Oppression

From: Samidoun
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“Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them…Prisons are a profitable business. They are a way of legally perpetuating slavery. In every state more and more prisons are being built and even more are on the drawing board. Who are they for? They certainly aren’t planning to put white people in them. Prisons are part of this government’s genocidal war against Black and Third World people.”

– Assata Shakur

“I speak as a victim of America’s so-called democracy. You and I have never seen democracy – all we’ve seen is hypocrisy. When we open our eyes today and look around America, we see America not through the eyes of someone who has enjoyed the fruits of Americanism. We see America through the eyes of someone who has been the victim of Americanism. We don’t see any American dream. We’ve experienced only the American nightmare.”
– Malcolm X

“This trial cannot be separated from the process of the historical struggle in Palestine that continues today between the Zionist Movement and the Palestinian people, a struggle that centers on Palestinian land, history, civilization, culture and identity…As for your judicial apparatus, which is where this court comes from: it is one of the instruments of the occupation whose function is to give the cover of legal legitimacy to the crimes of the occupation, in addition to consecrating its systems and allowing the imposition of these systems on our people through force.”
– Ahmad Sa’adat

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes the resistance led by the Black movement that has taken the streets of every major city and town in the United States in defense of Black lives and in resistance to state-sponsored police killing, targeting and profiling of Black people and of other oppressed communities. These protests, led by strong and militant Black youth and their comrades, have occupied highways, roads and bridges, disrupted “business as usual,” and are true sparks of Intifada against a racist system of exploitation and oppression.protest-300x181 “I can’t breathe.” “Hands up, don’t shoot.” “Black Lives Matter.” The slogans, in their clarity, are an assertion of existence and resistance in the face of a racist system that has been built for centuries on the devaluing, dismissal and suppression of Black rights, existence and struggle.

The grand jury verdicts declining to bring murder charges against the police who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York; John Crawford in Cleveland, Illinois; and the acquittal or refusal to bring charges against countless other police who have acted with the full authority of the state to terrorize Black communities are not mere flaws in the system. Rather, they reflect the racist and oppressive nature of the legal system of the United States.

The United States, the world’s leading imperialist power, is responsible for occupation, exploitation and oppression around the world. The U.S. government was created through the dispossession and genocide of indigenous people and the country built upon the backs of Black people forced into slavery. Today, the United States government is the strategic partner and strongest ally of the occupation of Palestine, while the Israeli state trains U.S. police in repressive counter-insurgency tactics tested on Palestinians under occupation.
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The U.S. courts, police and prisons constitute a regime of mass incarceration that targets Black communities with systematic violence, disrupting and destroying communities. As documented by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, every 28 hours, a Black person is killed in the U.S. by state-sponsored or state-protected murderers, including police and vigilantes. The police – and their violent repression and impunity – and the prisons – and their mass incarceration – function alongside the courts, who give this racist structure the appearance of “legitimacy.” This legitimacy is exposed, as the killers of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, and countless others walk free while entire communities are terrorized by arrests and constant police surveillance and oppression.

The grand jury system that protects the impunity of police murderers is the very same grand jury system that has been used to carry out widespread investigations, political repression and institutionalized harassment and suppression of the Black liberation movement, the American Indian Movement, Puerto Rican independentistas, anti-imperialist organizers and continues today to be used to investigate, surveil and harass Palestinian community organizers and movements and anti-war and international solidarity activists, as in the cases of Sami al-Arian, Mohammed Salah, Abdelhaleem Ashqar and the “Anti-War 23” in Chicago and Minneapolis.protestfp2-300x200

When Palestinian prisoners are brought before Israeli courts, whether military or civil, there is no justice to be found – the Israeli legal system is built on the dispossession of Palestinian land and the negation of Palestinian lives and existence. When occupation soldiers and settlers are acquitted or not charged with the killing of Palestinians, this is once again not unusual, but part of the system itself. The Israeli legal system is an apartheid system, part and parcel of the occupation, of the very system which the Palestinian movement struggles to overturn in order to liberate land and people.

There is no surprise to be found in the alliance between the settler colonial states of the U.S. and Israel, based fundamentally on racism and oppression. It is U.S. imperialism that enables and arms the occupation and colonization of Palestine, and the Palestinian movement struggles to confront both Zionist occupation and U.S. imperialism. There is, however, true inspiration and hope to be found in the powerful movements taking to the streets, and in the long legacy of the Black liberation movement.

Today, U.S. prisons – with the highest incarceration rate in the world- hold over 2.2 million people and over 900,000 Black people, including the political prisoners of the Black Liberation Movement and Mumia Abu-Jamal, as well as Puerto Rican political prisoners Oscar Lopez Rivera and Norberto Gonzalez Claudio, Leonard Peltier of the American Indian Movement, and Palestinian political prisoners – Rasmea Odeh, community leader, torture survivor from occupation interrogation and imprisonment, held in solitary confinement; and the Holy Land 5, serving terms of up to 65 years for fundraising for Palestinian charity organizations.

protest2-300x188Palestinians and friends of Palestine, from Students for Justice in Palestine, the US Palestinian Community Network, and numerous collectives and organizations have been joining the protests on the streets of New York, DC, Chicago, Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, Cleveland, Ferguson, St. Louis and around the country. This is a promising step forward that recognizes the long-standing ties between Palestinian and Black communities and also moves to strengthen, solidify and build those ties in the struggle.

It is borne out of an imperative of justice that supports the Black movement’s struggle for liberation and recognizes its centrality, and it is also a recognition through common experience that “From Ferguson to Palestine, Occupation is a Crime.” These demonstrations contain within them the seeds of intifada and revolution, challenging the very nature of the racist imperialist system that is at the heart of repression from Ferguson and Black communities across the US to every Palestinian refugee camp, and building for the movement and action necessary to achieve Black Liberation and a liberated Palestine from the river to the sea.

Free All Political Prisoners, End Mass Incarceration, Abolish the Racist Prison System!

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network