Palestinian Administrative Detainee on Hunger Strike in Critical Condition

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13 August 2015

Call for Urgent Action
Palestinian Administrative Detainee on Hunger Strike in Critical Condition

The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council, the Arab Association for Human Rights, Adalah and Physicians for Human Rights - Israel call for urgent action to save the life of Palestinian administrative detainee and attorney Mohammad Allan, who has been on hunger strike for 57 days in protest of his administrative detention without charge or trial since 6 November 2014. Mohammad Allan is currently detained in Barzilai hospital in Askalan. The Israeli Prison Services transferred Allan from Soroka hospital on 10 August after informing Allan’s lawyer of their intention to seek authorization to force-feed him, which was met by the refusal of the medical staff at Soroka hospital to carry out any forced examinations or treatment or Mr. Allan. Mahmoud Allan is currently in a dire physical state and in a very critical condition.

Adv. Samer Sama’an from Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association visited Mr. Allan in Barizlai hospital on 12 August 2015. Mr. Allan confirmed that he seeks to live, but a life of dignity and freedom. He also reported to adv. Sama’an that he suffers from blurred vision, strong pressure in his ears, fatigue, general pain in the body, and numbness in the hands and feet. He experiences difficulty in movement and in signing papers. He also suffers from weakness in the hands and legs, difficulty in balance, and inability to stand. He also complains of the lack of ability to sleep in Barzilai hospital for extended hours. He continues to refuse to take medical examinations and is only taking water. Despite his very fragile and critical situation of, the Israeli Prison Service still insists to keep Mr. Allan shackled by foot and arm to what could potentially become his deathbed in a very inhumane treatment and gesture.

Mohammad Allan was arrested by the Israeli occupation forces on 6 November 2014 and has been under administrative detention since then. A six-month administrative detention order was issued following his arrest and was subsequently renewed in May 2015. After extending his administrative detention, Mohammad embarked on an open-ended hunger strike on the 16th of June 2015 in protest of his continued detention without trial.

The undersigned organizations warn that Mohammad Allan has reached a critically advanced medical condition and now may be nearing death. The continued arbitrary detention of Mohammad Allan under administrative detention violates international norms and standards as enshrined under the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits the systematic use of administrative detention by the occupying power against protected persons and limits its use for imperative security reasons and according to legal procedures which guarantee the right of a fair trial. The continued detention of Mohammad Allan endangers his life and violates his most basic rights to fair trial and human dignity.

The undersigned organizations further stress that any forced treatment, coercion or feeding of hunger striker Mohammad Allan while he is conscious and mentally competent constitute violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Any medical coercion on Allan despite his refusal may cause the opposite effect and result in severe health problems and even potentially jeopardize Allan’s life, as evident in Israel’s previous attempts to force-feed Palestinian hunger strikers during the 1980s, which resulted in several deaths. Force-feeding violates medical ethics as it administers forceful treatment to a patient against his will, and is considered a form of torture. The World Medical Association addressed the Prime Minister of Israel, stating the following: "Force-feeding is violent, very painful and absolutely in opposition to the principle of individual autonomy. It is a degrading, inhumane treatment, amounting to torture. But worse, it can be dangerous and is the most unsuitable approach to save lives." Article 7 of the 1975 World Medical Association Declaration of Tokyo explicitly states that doctors are not allowed to force-feed hunger strikers.

The undersigned organizations condemn Israel’s policy to allow the deterioration in the health condition of Mohammad Allan and refusing to negotiate his release in an attempt to escalate the current situation so as to proceed with force-feeding Mr. Allan and to undermine the use of hunger strikes as a non-violent form of protest by Palestinian prisoners and detainees who have no other means to protest and bring attention to the flagrant human rights violations they face in Israeli prisons. Depriving Palestinian detainees and prisoners from their fundamental right to peaceful protest by the means of hunger strikes is a major setback to the just demands of Palestinian detainees and prisoners in Israeli prisons who are demanding justice, dignity and basic rights.

We hereby urge immediate action including writing to relevant authorities, decision-makers, international bodies, diplomatic missions, and United Nations representative offices and agencies to pressure Israeli authorities to stop the use of administrative detention, to dismiss their plans to force-feed Mr. Allan and to put an end to his arbitrary detention in blatant violation of international human rights and humanitarian law guarantees and standards– in order to save his life.