Mahmoud El Youssef: Charge or Free Samer Issawi
Hunger striker Samer Issawi, 33 years old, has been on hunger strike for over 184 days now, protesting the injustice of his detention and that of all the other Palestinian political prisoners. Like other Palestinian political prisoners, Samer Issawi’s indefinite detention without charges or trial is inhumane and an Israeli facade to continue to persecute the Palestinian people and those who dare to stand against Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine and its crimes against the Palestinian people.
Issawi was previously sentenced to 30 years by Israel in 2002 and was among freed Palestinian prisoners who were released in October 2011 under a prisoner exchange deal between Hamas and Israel after he had served 11 years. However, this time Israel reneged and rearrested him eight months later, as it did in previous prisoner exchange deals. Such as in the case of Palestinian prisoners of Ziad Abu Ain in 1983 and Hanaa Shalabi in 2011.
Eight months after his 2011 release, Israel violated the terms of the swap deal and rearrested Issawi under Mickey Mouse charges (administrative detainee). Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret evidence without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. According to Aldemeer, a Palestinian Human Rights watch dog group, there are 25 members of the Palestine National Council, including the Speaker of the Parliament, who are among 5,000 Palestinians held captive in Israeli dungeons. These include 6 women, 166 children and 320 “administrative detainees.”
Since the year of 2000, the Israeli occupation authority issued over 20,000 administrative detentions orders. Palestinian held prisoners often boycott the Israeli military courts, as they view them as sham courts that are used by the Israeli occupation army and Israeli intelligence as a cover of illegal detention based on “secret” files and lack of indictment.
Basic element of democracy requires Israel to either charge or free Samer Issawi and other administrative detainess. Under a democratic system of government you are innocent until you are proven guilty. Not guilty till you’re proven innocent. So, if you are a Palestinian living under Israeli occupation, forget about the rules of law, as it does not apply to you.
Last December, Israeli guards assaulted Samer Issawi during a court hearing for the whole world to see when he tried to greet his family in a Jerusalem court, while the prisoner’s hands and feet were cuffed.
Issawi who assigned to Israel’s Ramleh prison was briefly hospitalized when his heart dropped to 36 beats/minute. That did not stop the guards and Israeli forces from assualting Issawi again as he tried to address the media. The guards dragged him by hands and feet to court’s detention room.
To add insult to the injury, Israeli forces raided Issawi’s home town North of Jerusalem on the day he was beaten in court and arrested his sister, Shireen without any charges, other than defending her brother’s right to freedom. Shireen who is an attorney is telling the world now to “stand by my brother beofore it’s too late!”
To make his voice heard, and challenge his illegal detention and inhumane treatment, Issawi went on an open-ended hunger strike until death or freedom. As of this writing, Issawi is on his 183th day. He is currently in a very critical condition due to an acute vitamin B-12 deficiency. Also, he suffered from neural and muscular problems, lost control of his limbs, got vision problem and blood vomiting.
Last December, Amer lost consciousness for 48 hours after he was give “medicine.” This is clearly very critical and inhumane treatment. Israel should be held accountable for this flagrant violation of human rights.
From a personal experience and from someone who lobbied for 18 months for his brother’s freedom from an Israel concentration camp in south Lebanon in 1980s, I do know that writing, challenging Israel publicly does make a difference. So, I do urge all people of conscience who read this to have their voice be heard and be counted, as I did few days ago. Yes, I did get a response back and not a death threat, a visit by DHS or the FBI : These two officials hold the highest two political ranks in Israel.
Write to the President and prime Minister of Israel:
Email: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu :firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com
Email: President of the state of Israel Mr. Shimon Peres:firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax: +972-2-5664838 ; +972-2-5887225 (You can send via free fax)
Subject: charge or free Amer Issawi
Dear President/Prime Minister,
For the love of peace, please use your power to prevent injustice!
Retired USAF Veteran