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Federal Government must urge Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to save the lives of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike!
Berlin, 08.05.12 Annette Groth, MdB Platz der Republik 1 11011 Berlin Tel.: +49 30 227-77207 Fax: +49 30 227-76207 firstname.lastname@example.org Spokeswoman on human rights for the Left Party parliamentary group in the Bundestag
Around 4600 Palestinians are being held in Israeli prisons, 300 of them in administrative detention. Two hundred of the prisoners are children. Since 2007, all family visits to the 456 prisoners from Gaza have been banned. Over 2000 of these prisoners are on hunger strike. For 70 days now, they have been risking their lives to protest against arbitrary administrative detention and against the conditions of their detention, in particular the solitary confinement which is frequently imposed. Under international law, administrative detention, since it is imposed without charge or trial, may only be used in absolutely exceptional circumstances. In Israel, it is used arbitrarily and excessively, in contravention of international law. Often, it is used to intimidate human-rights activists involved in peaceful movements, such as Stop the Wall, and to deter others from following their example. Administrative detention can be imposed for up to 6 months and can be extended an unlimited number of times. The longest known case of administrative detention in Israel involved a prisoner detained for five years in this way. The life of some of the prisoners on hunger strike is in danger. Yet doctors from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel are being refused unrestricted access to the prisoners. Annette Groth, spokeswoman on human rights for the Left Party parliamentary group in the Bundestag, made the following statement: “Physicians for Human Rights must be given unrestricted access to those prisoners whose life is in danger. Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, who have been on hunger strike for 71 days, as well as all prisoners on hunger strike for more than 40 days, must be transferred to a public hospital immediately. All those on hunger strike must be given the right to medical treatment, access to a lawyer and visits from their family. Those receiving medical treatment must be freed of their handcuffs.”
Annette Groth continued: “I call for Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, along with all other Palestinian prisoners in administrative detention, to either be released immediately or tried in a proper court of law. To this end, the Federal Government and German officials must display the same vehemence in urging their Israeli counterparts to take action as in their support for Yulia Tymoshenko. Foreign Minister Lieberman’s visit to Berlin offers an important opportunity for this. Yet it appears that the Federal Government is failing to use this opportunity, once more demonstrating the double standards of its human-rights policy. It therefore continues to lack credibility in the area of human-rights policy on the international stage.”