Hassan Safadi was arrested at 2:30 am on 29 June 2011 from his home in Nablus by a large number of Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF). The IOF spent over an hour searching his house, during which time Hassan was repeatedly beaten. During the arrest Hassan’s mother passed out and was taken to a hospital, where she remained for three days.
Hassan was initially brought to Huwarra detention center before being transferred to Al Jalameh detention center near Bethlehem. Only one week before his arrest, Hassan had been released from Jenaid prison, near Nablus, where he was detained for 45 days by the Palestinian Preventive Security Force.
ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION AND HUNGER STRIKE
Since Hassan’s most recent arrest on 29 June 2011, he has received three administrative detention orders. His first order was from 29 June 2011 until 29 December 2011, which was subsequently renewed for another six months until 29 June 2012. As with all other administrative detainees, Hassan’s detention is based on secret information collected by Israeli authorities and available to the military judge but not to Hassan or his lawyer. This practice violates international humanitarian law, which permits some limited use of administrative detention in emergency situations, but requires that the authorities follow basic rules for detention, including a fair hearing at which the detainee can challenge the reasons for his or her detention. These minimum rules of due process have been clearly violated in Hassan’s case, leaving him without any legitimate means to defend himself.
The continued use of administrative detention against Hassan forced him to launch a hunger strike on 5 March 2012, along with seven other prisoners already on hunger strike, to protest his detention without charge or trial and demanding to be immediately released. Israeli authorities attempted to coerce Hassan to end his hunger strike by offering to deport him, but he refused. Hassan also reported that on 3 May, he was held down by prison guards and forcefully given treatment by a prison doctor via an injection in his arm. Hassan also recounted having refused water for several days until he was moved to Ramleh Prison medical center. Upon his arrival, he was beaten by prison guards, and the prison doctor refused to record the injuries sustained from the attack.
On 17 April 2012, Palestinian prisoners launched a mass hunger strike, during which about 2,000 prisoners demanded an end to the use of long-term isolation, an improvement in detention conditions, an end to the ban of family visits especially for prisoners from Gaza (who were banned from visits since June 2007) and an end to the policy of administrative detention. This mass hunger strike ended on 14 May when an agreement was reached between the hunger strikers’ committee and the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) and Israeli intelligence agency, with Egyptian mediation.
Since the agreement, limited progress has been regarding some of the prisoners demands, although the policy of administrative detention remains. Though a few of the administrative detainees who launched a hunger strike prior to 17 April were released upon the expiration of their current orders, some have had their administrative detention orders extended, including Hassan. With the agreement in place to release these long-term hunger strikers upon the expiration of their current orders, Hassan ended his hunger strike, which had lasted for 71 days, and was due to be released on 29 June 2012. However, on 21 June 2012, in breach of the agreement, Israel renewed Hassan’s administrative detention order for another six months. As a result, Hassan re-launched his hunger strike.
The IPS immediately transferred Hassan to Hadarim prison and placed him in solitary confinement. As Hassan’s health had not recovered from his previous hunger strike, it deteriorated rapidly following the resumption of his hunger strike. As a result of this deterioration in his health, he was transferred to Ramleh prison medical center on the tenth day of his renewed hunger strike and currently remains there.
According to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel lawyer Mohamad Mahagni following his visit to Hassan on 22 July, Hassan was being held in an isolated cell. Hassan has reported escalating pressure from the IPS to end his hunger strike. Hassan further noted that his court hearing on 25 July regarding the extension of his administrative detention order has been delayed again until 7 August, stressing that he is in no condition to travel 15 hours every time for the court hearings. He also reported suffering from kidney problems, sight problems, extreme weakness, severe weight loss, headaches, dizziness and has difficulty standing. His administrative detention order was later confirmed and reduced to a period of four months.
Hassan has been consistently targeted for arrest and administrative detention by Israeli authorities. No charges have ever been brought against him. These previous arrests date back to the mid 1990’s and range from periods of a few months to a number of years. On 28 June 2007, Hassan was arrested and interrogated for 60 days before being transferred to administrative detention, where he was held for 40 months and then released on 25 November 2010.
As stated above, Hassan was also detained by Palestinian Authority forces, being held in Jenaid prison for 45 days and release only one week prior to his most recent arrest by Israeli authorities.
Hassan’s family consists of his mother, who is 62 years old, and his 11 brothers and sisters. His brother Fareed was killed by the IOF in 1996.
Hassan’s family has been denied visits to Hassan since the first day of his arrest. His younger sister received permission to visit him in July, but this visit was subsequently revoked as punishment for Hassan’s participation in the hunger strike.
*Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that Hassan Safadi be released immediately and his administrative detention order not be renewed.
*Write to your own elected representatives urging them to pressure Israel to release Hassan Safadi and to put an end to such an unjust, arbitrary and cruel system of incarceration without trial.