Israeli prison service starts to punish hunger-strikers

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – The Israeli prison service has started serious punitive procedures against Palestinian prisoners who recently started a hunger strike in solidarity with cellmates held in solitary confinement.

Issa Qaraqe, a former minister of prisoners affairs and currently chairman of the prisoners affairs committee, told Ma’an Sunday that some hunger-strikers were sent to wards of criminal prisoners, some were ordered to pay fines, others were deprived of family visits and still others of buying from the prison cantina for two months.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said in a statement that more than 30 prisoners have recently joined 70 others who started a hunger strike seven days ago. The move was to exert pressure on the Israeli prison service to end the solitary confinement of Nahar al-Saadi.

Israeli intelligence has accused al-Saadi, who is serving four life sentences in Ayalon prison, of planning to abduct Israeli officers while in custody. For about a month, he has been on hunger strike protesting very dire conditions in solitary confinement.

The statement added that the Israeli prison service started moves to quash the hunger strike in the weekend. Five leaders of the strike were moved to other prisons.

In addition, the administration of Negev prison has notified 45 hunger-strikers that they would be moved, but they haven’t been told where and when.

Thirty prisoners jailed in Rimon have also been told they will be moved.

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