Sunday, May 20, 2012

Strike deal 'does not end administrative detention'

May 18, 2012
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A deal struck early Tuesday to end the Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike will not halt administrative detention, prisoners groups said Wednesday.

The document signed by prisoners representatives states that prisoners will halt hunger strikes and "security activity" inside Israeli jails in exchange for Israeli "facilitation" on policies toward solitary confinement, family visits and living conditions.

Prisoners society official Qaddura Fares told Ma'an the document outlines the core issues, while further details will be agreed in talks between prisoners representatives and the Israeli authorities.

The agreement is a "successful victory," he said, while warning that it is "not clear enough" on the issue of detention without charge.

Prisoners representatives have secured clear commitments that five administrative detainees on long-term hunger strike will be released at the end of their term, while Mahmoud Sirsik is still negotiating the date of his release, Fares said.

Meanwhile, Israel committed not to renew the administrative detention of all 322 Palestinians held without charge if there is no new information that requires their imprisonment, he noted.

However, Fares warned: "Who can check this new information ... no one can be sure."

Under Israel's administrative detention policy, prisoners can be held without formal charges for renewable periods of six months. Defendants and their lawyers are not given access to the evidence used to imprison them.

Prisoners rights group Addameer said after the hunger strike deal it is "concerned that these provisions of the agreement will not explicitly solve Israel’s lenient and problematic application of administrative detention, which as it stands is in stark violation of international law."

Translation of the full text of the document:

1. We, the undersigned in our capacity as representatives of all security prisoners in Israeli, hereby pledge on behalf of security prisoners in Israel, and in line with what faction leaders have pledged, to avoid practicing any security activity from inside Israeli prisons.

2. Security activity here means recruiting people for security missions, giving instructions, coordinating, providing support or undertaking any action that would provide actual support to security activity targeting the state of Israel.

3. Fulfillment of this pledge is a precondition for facilitation the state of Israel will give in the following matters:

-- Keeping security prisoners in solitary confinement.
-- Allowing prisoners’ families from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to visit prisoners.
-- Security prisoners’ living conditions -- to start discussing hunger strikers’ demands.

4. If any security activity is practiced from inside prisons, and if hunger strike is resumed in Israeli prisons, that will mean annulment of Israel’s pledge to give facilitation.

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