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Israel urged to investigate mistreatment of Palestinian detainees

Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website; press release] on Thursday stated that Israel should investigate the alleged mistreatment of two Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike [JURIST news archive]. The lawyer for Hassan Safadi and Samer al-Barq, who have been on hunger strike since June 21 and May 22 respectively, argued that they were subject to beatings and other maltreatment by prison officials at the Israel Prison Service Medical Centre in the city of Ramleh. The detainees have been diagnosed as being in high health risk and possibly facing death if they continue their hunger strikes. AI's Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Ann Harrison called on Israeli authorities to immediately release Hassan Safadi, Samer al-Barq and all other administrative detainees, or promptly charged them with recognizable criminal offenses and have them tried in accordance with international standards. Safadi, who has been detained since June 2011 and ended his first hunger strike in May went on another hunger strike after his administrative detention was renewed for another six months.

In June AI urged the Israeli government to release all prisoners of conscience and other administrative detainees [JURIST report] or immediately try them under international fair trial standards. AI revealed that Israel has been using a number of laws, such as the Military Order 1651 and the Emergency Powers (Detention) Law, to detain only Palestinians despite its application to everyone. It also discovered that those who went on hunger strike were subject to ill-treatment and punishments. In May, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] called on Israel to try or release more than 1,000 prisoners [JURIST report] who had been on hunger strike to avoid health risks. Earlier the same month the Israeli Supreme Court [official website, in Hebrew] ruled against [JURIST report] two detainees who had been on hunger strike in their appeal seeking release from detention. During the same month, UN Special Rapporteur of the occupied Palestinian territory [official website] expressed its concern [JURIST report] for the continued human rights violations in Israel's prisons. It called the country to comply with the international standards of how to treat detainees.

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