Thursday, April 10, 2014
Palestinian prisoners' Day April 17th, 2014
Thursday 17th April is Palestinian Prisoners Day, a day of solidarity with the 5000+ Palestinian men, women and children who are languishing in Israeli dungeons.
We will be holding two events on the day, one following the other, and both from Victoria Street (near Victoria Station):
Date: Thurday 17th April 2014, 3pm - 6pm
3pm Mystery Action
We will meet on Victoria Street in front of Westminster Cathedral (3mins from Victoria station) for a mystery action jointly with our friends from London Palestine Action
Please note that punctuality is essential as we will leave for the action within a few minutes of 3pm.
4pm Protest outside G4S HQ, 105 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QT
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/770480126304031
There will be several themes for this years Prisoners Day. They will centre around our continued campaign against G4S. British multinational G4S is the worlds largest security contractor and provides security for many prisoners in Israel where Palestinian men, women and children are tortured and caged.
Ministry of Detainees’ Affairs in Gaza has asked us to highlight the urgent cases of the Palestinian sick detainees this Prisoners Day, those whose health is critical due to Israel's systematic policy of medical negligence towards Palestinian political prisoners. We will be reading out a message from one of the families of these critically ill prisoners.
Child Prisoners - we will continue out campaign for child prisoners, in particular the Hares Boys who have been caged in a G4S secured prison now for over a year, going from one postponed military hearing to another, for a crime that didn't even happen.
Women Prisoners - there currently 22 women prisoners nearly all locked up in G4S secured HaSharon prison from the longest serving woman, Lena Jarboni who has been caged for nearly 12 years, to the newest woman prisoner Shireen Issawi who was just transferred to HaSharon this morning from her interrogation cell at the Russian Compound of Jerusalem prison - another G4S secured facility. The transfer of Palestinian prisoners from the occupied West Bank and Gaza to into Israel (to HaSharon Prison) is illegal under international law and constitutes a war crime, G4S is complicit in this by the services it provides to HaSharon Prison.
PALESTINIAN SICK DETAINEES
Israel has a systematic policy of medical negligence against Palestinian detainees. Long delays in providing substandard medical treatment are typical. Prisoners are prescribed painkillers like paracetamol and aspirin as a 'cure' to all diseases, including those which are very serious. Prisoners are left with diseases which eat away at their bodies; already weakened by the atrocious prison conditions, the lack of basic food, access to natural light, poor hygiene with rodent and cockroach infestations common place. This along with being tortured to death are the two most common reasons for Palestinian prisoners dying in Israeli custody. One in 5 Palestinian political prisoner is in dire need to medical care. Some with very serious diseases such as cancer, kidney failure, clogged arteries, diabetes, and stroke.
We will highlight the plight of all ill detainees by focusing on some of the most urgent cases including :
1. Mo’tasem Radad
2. Reyad El Omour
3. Muhammed Merdawi
4. Muhammed Abrash
5. Murad Abu Muelek
6. Yusri Al Masri
7. Amer Muhammed Bahar
8. Ibrahim Halabeyah
9. Samer Ewessat
This time last year Palestinian lawyer Shireen Issawi was the spokesperson for her brother Samer Issawi who was on hunger strike. Before Samer's condition deteriorated he had been caged in Ofer prison in the West Bank which is secured by G4S. Shireen sent a message to us to read at our protest outside G4S, in part it read:
"We greet the demonstrators against G4S that provides equipment for the prison administration. G4S realizes that they are used in non-humanitarian ways against Palestinian prisoners.
Deliver the voice of the oppressed prisoners and hold this company G4S accountable for its responsibility towards these prisoners and its partnership to the occupation in its inhumane practices. It must stop providing these supplies to the occupation..
Freedom for our prisoners, for our heroes."
Last month Shireen Issawi herself along with 4 other lawyers and two of her brothers were abducted by the occupation forces. She was interrogated at the notorious Russian Compund which is infamous for torture, even of young children. And today, on 7th April 2014, Shireen was transfered to another G4S secured facility - HaSharon prison, a dirty rat infested dungeon where women are routinely abused. Her next military hearing is on April 10th.
Lena was born in 1974 to a Palestinian family near Acre in 1948 Palestine. Due to financial difficulty she could not complete her studies and worked in sewing workshops to help her family. In 2002 she was picked up by Israeli security on suspicion of "collaborating with the enemy" - she unlike her Palestinian friends has Israeli citizenship. They tortured her for 30 days at Israels notorious G4S secured Al-Jalame torture den. Interrogation sessions lasted up to 20 hours at a time. Deprived of sleep, she was made to stand stationary in stress positions for that time - her joints have never recovered. Between interrogation sessions she was caged in a tiny 1m x 2m hole in the ground cell. They brought her younger brother in and brutally tortured him, beating him mercilessly in front of her to pressure her to confess. When she didn't break they released him and abducted her younger sister and tortured her, and then they dragged her elderly mother to the interrogation room and threatened to torture her. Her frail mother suffers from heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. To save her family Lena confessed to the fabricated charges and she was sentenced to 17 years in HaSharon women's prison.
At HaSharon prison Palestinian women prisoners have to endure beatings, insults, threats, sexually explicit harassment and sexual violence, and humiliation at the hands of Israeli guards. They are often forced to undergo degrading strip searches during the middle of the night - forced to squat naked and subjected to intrusive internal body searches, for no reason other than as a punitive measure. Women have been beaten and left tied to their bed for a day and a half and not allowed to go to the toilet as punishment for spilling water. The cells at HaSharon prison are overcrowded, dirty and infected with rodents and cockroaches. There is a total absence of basic hygiene, women have even been denied sanitary pads when menstruating. The heat is unbearable, The windows are closed and covered so that hardly any air or daylight can enter. The food is insufficient, and of inferior quality & dirty, often containing insects & worms, at times there are not enough portions for all the women. At HaSharon Lena became the spokeswoman for the other prisoners and converted the squalid rat infested cellars in to an area for prayer and education. She taught sewing classes and Quran.
Israel has adopted a systematic policy of medical negligence regarding Palestinian prisoners, a study conducted in 2008 revealed that 38% of Palestinian female prisoners suffer from treatable diseases that go untreated. Due to medical negligence Lena can no longer walk and suffers from extreme pain in her stomach and constant migraines. The prison refused to transfer her to hospital for an essential cholecystectomy operation in time. It was only when all the women prisoners threatened to go on hunger strike that they finally allowed her the operation. She has never recovered and her condition is deteriorating. Having endured nearly 12 years in HaSharon prison she is the longest serving Palestinian woman prisoner. She has over 5 more years left of her sentence, in her condition it is very unlikely she can survive that. We are demanding her immediate release.
PALESTINIAN CHILD PRISONERS - FREE HARES BOYS
On 14th March 2013, a simple car accident where a illegal Israeli settler car speeding along a road built illegally on stolen Palestinian land, crashed in to the back of an Israeli truck which had stopped to change a flat tire, resulting in four people being hurt, was later at the behest of angry settlers presented as an attack by Palestinian stone throwing youth. The truck drivers earlier testimony that he stopped due to a flat tire was replaced with the new reason being that he had seen stones by the road, and an accident that nobody saw suddenly became a terror attack with 61 witnesses including the police!
Over the next few days over 50 masked Israeli soldiers with attack dogs stormed the local village of Hares in the early hours of the morning and in waves of violent arrests kidnapped the children of the village. In total 19 children were taken to the infamous G4S secured children's dungeon at Al Jalame and locked up in solitary confinement for up to 2 weeks in filthy windowless 1m by 2m hole in the ground cells with no mattress. The Israeli prime minister Benyamin Natanyahu announced to the settlers that he had “caught the terrorists”. The children were violently tortured and sexual threats were made against the female members of their families in order to coerce confessions from the boys.
With the confessions and the new “eye-witness” statements, five of the Hares boys were charged with 25 counts of attempted murder each, even though there were only four people in the car and all are now safe at home. Apparently the military court had decided that 25 stones were thrown, each with an "intent to kill". The five boys - Ali Shamlawi, Mohammed Kleib, Mohammed Mehdi Suleiman, Tamer Souf, and Ammar Souf are currently locked up in another G4S secured facility - Megiddo prison where G4S provides the entire central command room.
In violation of international law Israel has turned prisons in to money making enterprises with the boys essentially forced to pay for their own imprisonment. Israel deliberately fails to provide Palestinian prisoners the basic essentials - edible food, cloths (underwear, shoes..) and hygiene products (soap, toothbrush..). The boys are forced to buy these at the extortionately priced prison shop costing the families over € 125/month to provide for one child's basic needs in prison.
With no evidence of a crime the military court keeps on postponing the hearing dates from one month to the next, meanwhile the boys remain caged indefinitely and their families facing financial ruin in the process. The occupation in its cruelty doesn't inform the families of cancellations. The families spend most of their day queuing and enduring the humiliation at the checkpoints, then waiting at the court in anticipation of catching a glimpse of their son.. only to be disappointed at the end. Not that evidence, or lack of it, has any bearing in an Israeli military court - a study conducted by the Israeli NGO 'No Legal Frontiers' over a 12 month period concluded that 100% of Palestinian children brought before the military court are convicted. If the five boys are convicted they will be locked up for over 25 years - five young lives ruined with no evidence of a crime let alone their guilt.
We are demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all the children and hold G4S complicit in Israel's crimes, particularly in the torture of Palestinian women and children.
LIVE UPDATES DURING PROTEST
We will, inshAllah, be tweeting live (hash tags #PalestinianPrisonersDay #G4S ) from the protest with live photos being uploaded to our twitter and facebook page. So if you can't join us on the day, please help us by sharing the photos as they get uploaded.
Palestinian Prisoners Campaign
The Palestinian Prisoners Campaign aims to raise awareness for the plight of Palestinian prisoners and build solidarity for their struggle and work towards their freedom. The campaign was launched by Innovative Minds (inminds.com) and the Islamic Human Rights Commission (ihrc.org) on the occasion of Al Quds Day 2012 (on 17th August 2012), since then we have held actions every fortnight in support of Palestinian prisoners, if you can spare two hours twice a month then please join the campaign by coming to the next action.