UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed Friday his “grave concerns” for the “poor health” conditions of Palestinian hunger-strikers inside Israeli jails. He called on the Israeli authorities to bring charges against them or release them immediately.
Palestinian administrative prisoners started their hunger-strike on April 24 protesting against their detention by the Israeli occupation without charges or trials. Dozens of them were taken to hospitals because of their deteriorating health conditions.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: “The Secretary-General is concerned about reports regarding the deteriorating health of Palestinian administrative detainees who have been on hunger-strike for over a month.”
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Dujarric added: “He [Moon] reiterates his long-standing position that administrative detainees should be charged or released without delay.”
A spokeswoman for the Israeli prisons services said that the total number of hunger-strikers is 290, 70 of them are being hospitalised in different Israeli hospitals. Among the hunger-strikers, 125 have refused food since April 24.
Meanwhile, lawyers for the Palestinian ministry of prisoners and former prisoners, who visited the hunger-strikers in hospitals said that the Israeli occupation deals “savagely” and “violently” with the prisoners.
A statement of the Palestinian ministry said that most of the hunger-strikers taken to hospitals are in grave health conditions. The ministry’s lawyer Motaz Shqeerat, who visited Ayalon Prison, reported ill-treatment of the Palestinian prisoners by the Israeli prison officials.
In a related matter, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) voiced concern over a bill before Israel’s parliament which would allow the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike against their will.
Administrative detention is a form of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The detention order can be renewed for indefinite periods of time.
Palestinian prisoners have been subject to human rights violations such as the use of torture during interrogation.