25 August 2003
Urgent Action : Grave Concern for health of detainees after 15 days hunger strike
Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association
Addameer is gravely concerned for the well being of two detainees currently being held at Ramle Prison in isolation cells after over 15 days of hunger strike. Ahmad Talab Mustafa Barghouthi, a 27-year-old resident of Ramallah, was detained on 15 April 2002 and subsequently sentenced to 13 life sentences. Ahmad has been held in solitary confinement for the past 8 months. Moussa Mohammad Salem Doudin, a 31-year-old resident of Hebron, was detained on 20 December 1992 and subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment. Moussa has been held in solitary confinement for the last 5 months, and has not seen his father for the past 7 years as a result of continuous denials of visit permits.
Both Ahmad and Moussa originally went on hunger strike from 29 May - 30 June 2003 in protest of their isolation whilst both were being held individually in solitary confinement at Beer Sheva Prison. As a result of their deteriorating health, they were moved to Ramle Prison Hospital, after which an agreement was reached with the prison administration that they would end their hunger strike upon being removed from solitary confinement.
On 10 July 2003, both Ahmad and Moussa were released from Ramle Prison Hospital, after their health stabilized, and moved to Hadarim Prison. However, at Hadarim they were again placed in solitary confinement for 4 days. They were then moved to Ramle Prison, and placed together in a solitary confinement cell. Within the same isolation section at Ramle Prison, two other detainees, Mahmoud Issa and Moutaz Hijazi, are being held together in another solitary confinement cell.
On 11 August 2003, Ahmad and Moussa began an open-ended hunger strike, with their sole demand being their removal from solitary confinement. During the past week, they have been refusing all food and fluids, including water, and their health has been rapidly deteriorating. With fears mounting over the health of the two detainees, Addameer’s lawyer, Advocate Mahmoud Hassan, requested to visit Ahmad and Moussa on 24 August 2003. Adv. Hassan was informed by the prison administration that both detainees were refusing to meet with any lawyers.
This afternoon, 25 August 2003, Adv. Hassan visited Ramle Prison in order to try to meet with the detainees, and was again informed of their refusal to meet lawyers. However, he was able to meet with another detainee in solitary confinement in the same section, Mahmoud Issa. In his affidavit to Adv. Hassan, Mahmoud Issa confirmed that Ahmad and Moussa had been on an open-ended hunger strike since 11 August and that during the last week they were refusing to take water. He also stated that the two would only end their hunger strike if they were removed from isolation. He went further to state that the two had not been able to move from their beds for the past 5 days, and that when he called to them as he passed their cell on his way to visit the lawyer, Ahmad did not respond at all to his calls, while Moussa moved his body a bit but did not respond. He stated that their health conditions were so bad that he feared for their lives.
After several attempts to request a meeting with the director of Ramle Prison, Adv. Hassan was finally able to meet with him and ask that they move the detainees to the hospital immediately. The prison director stated that the two detainees were receiving daily medical attention and that he did not have the authority to move the detainees to hospital, but he would willingly do so should the medical department of the Shabas, the Israeli Prison Service, request him to do so. Upon contacting the Shabas, Adv. Hassan was informed by an official that at this stage, there was no need to move them to hospital based on recent medical examinations. However, the official response from the IPS remains unsatisfactory, particularly as, in his affidavit to Adv. Hassan, Mahmoud Issa stated that 5 days earlier he had observed an ICRC delegate and doctor visit the detainees, but that he had not been aware of any other visits by doctors since then.
The mothers of both detainees began an open hunger strike this past week, with Moussa’s mother not taking food for the last 5 days and Ahmad’s mother for the last 2 days, until their sons are moved from isolation and to the hospital.
Addameer is gravely concerned for the well being of both Ahmad Barghouthi and Moussa Doudin, and holds the Israeli Authorities responsible for their lives. Addameer also calls on the ICRC to take immediate action in regards to their case, and strongly urges the international community to send letters of protest, calling for the removal of the two detainees from solitary confinement and their immediate transfer to hospital, to the following :
Mrs Orit Adato
Israel Prison Service
Fax : +972 8 921 0649
Attorney-General/Legal Advisor to the Government
Ministry of Justice
29 Salah al-Din Street
Jerusalem 91010, Israel
Fax : +972 2 6285438
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
To query the Israeli Prison Service directly, contact :
Tel : +972 8 9776806