On Friday, 11 prisoners of conscience across Palestinian Authority (PA) prisons began a hunger strike, as a protest against their detention and conditions within the prison.
According to detainees’ families, the prisoners were arrested by PA forces several weeks ago in the village of Urif, in the Nablus governorate. The detainees have suffered poor conditions, beatings, and other tortures, from the moment they were arrested.
Among those arrested was Yassin Shehadeh. Subsequently released, Shehaden, as a result of torture, has lost several bodily functions; he lost 20 kilograms over his detention.
Shehadeh was detained in Jericho prison, with 20 young men from the same town, from the start of Israeli aggression against Gaza.
Over the last days, the PA-controlled Nablus court extended the detention of Muhammad al-Koni by four days, despite his needing an urgent medical operation.
Al-Koni has been on hunger strike for five days, against his being detained in PA prisons.
As the Urif prisoners begin their hunger striker, outrage remains across Palestine at the assassination of the political activist Nizar Banat in Hebron. He died last Thursday (24th), after his house was stormed by PA security forces at dawn. He was severely beaten in front of his family.
Furthermore, PA forces arrested a student at Birzeit University, Ayman Maatan, after beating him during a march protesting against Banat’s killing.
Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) condemned the PA security services’ killing of Banat, and said the services record is a catalagoue of brutal, inhumane treatment of Palestinian citizens. “They have arrested thousands of Palestinians and brutally tortured them, leading to at least six deaths, and to several permanent disabilities.”
As AOHR UK has said in a statement, “following at the end of the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip, and light of the aggression against Shaykh Jerrah, Jerusalemites and al-Aqsa mosque, the PA has arrested dozens of Palestinians.
“These services pose a threat to citizens’ lives and freedoms – the time has come to create a unified police apparatus, to ensure the protection of citizens and to defend them against occupation forces’ and settlers’ attacks.”
AOHR UK has affirmed, “the murder of activist Nizar Banat should not go unnoticed. An international investigation must be opened, one that would oversee the autopsy and establish a clear path to prosecute all those responsible for it.”