27th June 2017, www.inminds.com
On Friday 30th June 2017, Inminds humans rights group will hold a vigil outside the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, in solidarity with Palestinian lawyers targetted by the Israeli occupation, in particular demand the release of Palestinian lawyers Muhammed Allan and Shireen Issawi.
Inminds chair Abbas Ali said "We are symbolically holding this vigil outside the highest court in the land to focus on the plight of Palestinian lawyers in Israeli dungeons. Israel cannot justify abducting Muhammed Allan so they are pointing to his facebook posts as a catch all reason to cage any Palestinian who disagrees with the occupation of his land. And Shireen Issawi and her brothers are caged simply for doing their job as human rights lawyers providing a legal defence for fellow Palestinians incarcerated by the illegal occupation. It is about time the legal profession recognised Israel as a pariah state that has total contempt for the law, and to treat it as such!"
33 years old Palestinian lawyer Muhammed Allan was abducted by the Israeli army from him home in the village of Einnabus, near Nablus on the West Bank, in a pre-dawn raid on 8th June 2017. To protest is imprisonment he has been on hunger strike since then, Friday will be his 23rd day without food. He is being held without charge or trial.
The only reason given by the occupation as to his abduction is that they don't like his facebook posts. According to figures released by the Israel army and security service Shin Bet, in less than a year, the Israeli occupation forces and Shin Bet have arrested more than 400 Palestinians for facebook posts critical of the occupation, and the names of another 400 were passed to the PA for arrest as part of the policy of security coordination between the PA and Israel.
MUHAMMED ALLAN - PREVIOUS HUNGER STRIKE
Previously, in 2014, Muhammed Allan was abducted by the occupation forces, dragged to his law office and forced to hand over all his confidential client files to the occupation in disregard of attorney-client privilege laws, and then he was locked up without charge or trial under Israels illegal system of administrative detention. He was caged for 6 months without any reason being given. Muhammed Allan demanded Israel either charge him and put him on trial so he can defend himself, or otherwise release him. At the end of the 6 months Israel just renewed his administrative order for another six month. To protest, Mohammed Allan went on hunger strike. Both the Brussels based International Association Of Democratic Lawyers, and the National Lawyers Guild in the Unites States urged Israel to release Muhammed Allan. Israel ignored their requests and it took Muhammed 66 days of hunger strike to finally win his freedom in November 2015.
Many Palestinians are caged without the formality of a charge, let alone a trial, or even a set length of sentence - people are just locked up indefinitely on the whim of the occupation under what is called administrative detention Ė a vile form of internment.
Administrative detention orders can be up to 6 months long, and can be renewed indefinitely.. month after month.. year after year. For example administrative detainee Mazen Natsheh has been locked up cumulatively for nearly 10 years without charge or trial. Detention orders can be based on so called "secret information" which never needs to be produced, either to the detainee nor their lawyer, but often Administrative Detention is used to arbitrarily jail Palestinians where there is no evidence for a trial, or as punishment. Israel has on average issued over 2000 detention orders every year. Today over 500 Palestinians are held under Administrative Detention orders. The United Nations Human Rights Office has on many occasions condemned Israels practice of administrative detention, demanding Israel end it, pointing out that it violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Israel has ratified.
Palestinian human rights lawyer Shireen Issawi has been imprisoned by Israel for defending Palestinian political prisoners and supporting their families.
Shireen lives in the village of Issawiyeh in occupied East Jerusalem. On 6th March 2014 Israeli forces surrounded her home. With helicopter circling above they attacked, breaking the front door, they terrorising her elderly parents. But she wasn't in, they tracked her to a nearby checkpoint and abducted her. She was dragged to Israel's infamous torture den at Jerusalem Prison called the 'Russian Compound'. For two months she endured their endless interrogation sessions, forced into torturous stress positions for hours, which has left her with permanent joint and back pain. She was caged in solitary confinement, and denied family visits. Her weight dropped to just 39Kgs. Despite the abuse she did not break, and in May they moved her to HaSharon womens' prison near Haifa.
Five other lawyers were arrested at the same time as Shireen, including her brother Medhat and Amjad Safadi. Sadafi suffered 50 days of torture at the Russian Compound. Five days after his release he was found hanged.
HaSharon is a filthy prison infested with rats and cockroaches where 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. On 3rd May 2015 the prison guards at HaSharon savagely beat Shireen right across her entire body before taking her into isolation in Ramleh for several months. Her tiny cell was completely sealed with plastic so there was no room for air until she choked and lost consciousness then the prison administration removed the plastic from the door. In June 2015 Shireen went on hunger strike to protest the poor conditions, she says "the cell lacked the minimum requirements for life. I was forced to sleep on the floor without even a mattress. The guards confiscated my personal belongings.." The cell had no amenities like water, and she was not allowed to buy any food.
The Law Society of England and Wales, representing 145,000 solicitors, demanded that Israel immediately release Shireen or conduct her trial in accordance with international human rights standards (17 Apr 2015) . The Israeli military court, with its Palestinian conviction rate of 99.7%, ignored this petition and on 7th May 2016 sentenced Shireen to 4 years imprisonment and her brother Medhat to 8 years.
Shireen Issawi has always worked for prisoners rights and in 2014 she won the Swiss based Alkarama Award for Human Rights Defenders for her work for Palestinian prisoners. Her parents received the award in Geneva on her behalf.
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Inminds Palestinian Prisoners Campaign