Thirteen Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons are currently on an open-ended hunger strike to protest their continuous administrative detention without charge and based on secret evidence, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).
The PPS said that six detainees in Rimon prison joined the hunger strikers on Thursday, bringing the total number of hunger strikers to 13. The hunger strikers are demanding their release or a fair trial.
The PPS said that the administrative detainees Saif Hamdan, Saleh Rabaya, Qusay Khader, and Osama Khalil, have been on hunger strike for 14 days, while the detainees Kayed al-Fasfous and Sultan Khlouf have been on strike for 10 days, in addition to the detainee, Osama Daqrouq, who started his strike six days ago.
The PPS also said that the strike of the 13 detainees coincides with other protest steps taken by the administrative detainees in Ofer prison and several other prisons, and the continuous boycott of about 60 detainees of the military courts.
The Israeli occupation issued more than 2,000 administrative detention orders against Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) during 2023. This is the highest number of such orders since 2017, when Israel issued 1,698 orders.
Administrative detention is a practice that allows Israel to detain Palestinians without charge or trial, based on secret evidence that is not disclosed to the detainees or their lawyers. The orders can be renewed indefinitely, and some Palestinians have been held for years under this regime. Israel claims that administrative detention is used for “security reasons”, but human rights groups have denounced it as a form of collective punishment and a tool to suppress political dissent.
Among the 2,000 administrative detainees in 2023, there were 40 women, 200 children, and 10 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The majority of the detainees were from the West Bank, especially from Hebron, Jerusalem, and Ramallah districts. Some of the detainees were also from the Gaza Strip and from lands beyond the Green Line.
Several reports documented the harsh conditions and ill-treatment that administrative detainees face in Israeli prisons, such as solitary confinement, torture, medical negligence, denial of family visits, and lack of access to education and legal representation.
The use of administrative detention by Israel has been widely condemned by the international community and human rights organizations as a violation of international law and human rights. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the transfer of prisoners from occupied territories to the territory of the occupying power, and stipulates that any person arrested or detained shall be informed of the charges against them and shall be entitled to a fair trial. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also guarantees the right to liberty and security of person, the right to be informed of the reasons for arrest, the right to challenge the lawfulness of detention, and the right to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal.
Palestinian and international human rights groups such as Addameer called on the international community to pressure Israel to end its policy of administrative detention and to release all Palestinian political prisoners. The organizations also urged the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent commission of inquiry to investigate Israel’s violations of international law and human rights in the oPt, including its use of administrative detention.