May 04, 2012 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
Mahmoud Issa is a Palestinian political prisoner who has been in prison since 1993 and in solitary confinement for the last 10 years. He is allowed only half-hour visits from his family while in February a judge denied Issa’s 75-year-old mother the right to visit him. Israel claims she is a “security risk”,
A report by Israeli daily, Haaretz, revealed that the ruling was based on what the judge called “secret material” and information submitted by Israeli Internal Security (Shin Bet).
Issa’s family stated that he has been kept in solitary confinement for all these years as an act of punishment.
His sister stated that it is unbelievable that Israel considers his 75 yea -old mother a security risk despite her sickness, old age and partial deafness.
She added that even when they are allowed to visit Issa they do not have any body contact because of the glass barrier that separates them during visits, and they can only speak to him through an internal phone monitored by the guards, Haaretz reported.
Israel claims it has not received visitation requests from Issa’s mother or family, and that should a request be submitted, “[i]t would look into it”. The claim was denied by Issa’s family who said they have filed numerous requests.
Israel’s Shin Bet orders the prison service to renew Issa's solitary confinement every six months, so he remains at all times in his small cell and denied his right to be among other political detainees.
Haaretz further reported that lawyer Abeer Baker told the District Court in Nazareth, back in November 2011 that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has ruled that extended periods of solitary confinement violate the American Convention on Human Rights.
But Judge David Cheshin ruled on November 30, that the prosecution had granted him “enough material to keep the detainee in solitary confinement”, and claimed that “preventing family visits and phone calls is not meant to be a punishment”.
An end to solitary confinement is one of the main demands that impelled Palestinian political prisoners, held by Israel to launch their open-ended hunger strike. The detainees are also demanding that visits to detainees from the Gaza Strip be allowed, and that their basic rights guaranteed by International Law be granted.
Detainees Bilal Thiab and Thaer Halahla have been on hunger strike for 67 days; both were brought to court on Thursday where Arab member of Knesset Dr. Ahamd Tibi examined them and diagnosed serious health conditions which require immediate hospitalization.
On Wednesday, detainee Rateb Ad-Deek, also on hunger-strike, lost his sense of hearing, and was vomiting blood after being given the wrong medication in prison, the Palestinian Prisoners Society reported.