UN rights experts concerned over Israel prisoners on hunger strike

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] expressed concern [press release] Wednesday over reports that three Palestinians being held in Israeli custody are in poor health. Tarek Qa'adan and Jafar Azzidine have been on hunger strike for 78 days and Samer Al-Issawi has been on partial hunger strike for 200 days to protest Israel's use of administrative detention. Pillay also expressed her own concerns as to Israel's use of administrative detention: "Persons detained must be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees in accordance with international standards, or be promptly released." UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk went further and called for the immediate release [press release; UN News Centre report] of the three men. Falk called the conditions that the three men were being held under as "inhumane" and demanded that Israel either produce evidence against the men to bring charges or release them. Qa'adan and Azzidine are reportedly near death.

Israel has been criticized for its treatment of Palestinian prisoners and going on hunger strike to protest administrative detention by Israeli authorities has recently become a common tactic by Palestinian prisoners. In June Falk called on Israel to release two Palestinian detainees [JURIST report] who have been on hunger strike for 82 and 58 days to protest their administrative detention. Earlier in June Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] urged Israel to release all prisoners [JURIST report] of conscience and administrative detainees or immediately try them under international fair trial standards. In May UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel to try or release more than 1,000 prisoners [JURIST report] who had been on hunger strike. Earlier that same month, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled against [JURIST report] two detainees who had been on hunger strike in their appeal seeking release from detention. During the same month, Falk expressed his concern [JURIST report] for the continued human rights violations in Israel's prisons. He called on the country to comply with the international standards of how to treat detainees.

 

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