Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has expressed deep concern at reports of the deteriorating condition of Palestinian Hunger Strikers held in Israeli Jails, under what the Israelis term ‘administrative detention’.
This is a process condemned by human rights groups as denying Palestinians the right to trial. Instead, they are given indefinite sentences based on shady intelligence reports.
Calling for the immediate release of the six prisoners, Miqdad al-Qawasmi, Kayed Fasfous, Alaa al-Aras, Hisham Abu Hawash, Shandi Abu Aker, Ayad Hraimi, the Wicklow TD said:
“These six men are protesting against their illegal detention. Israel is holding them under what it terms ‘administrative detention’.
“This means that they can be held indefinitely without charge and without trial, and without evidence, other than what Israel terms ‘secret information’ which it refuses to divulge.
“These men have been denied the right to a fair trial. They are being held illegally and are being effectively systematically murdered by the Israeli state.
“Miqdad al-Qawasmi is on hunger strike for over 100 days, and is close to death’s door. It is not even clear whether intervention at this late stage would be enough to save his life.
“There are five other hunger strikers, who are all in serious condition. Some prisoners are being held in conditions, which, if you did the same to a dog, you would run the risk of being jailed here in Ireland.
“Kayed Fasfous is also on hunger strike for over 100 days. Kayed is chained in the dark, 24 hours a day, in a windowless cell, alone except for hostile guards, and is being denied the right to shower or go to the toilet. This is simply barbaric.
“Ireland has a long history, going back to the days of the Brehon Laws, of using hunger strikes as a means of addressing wrong.
“It is the last weapon of the dispossessed – of the man or woman who has nothing left to fight with but their own bodies.
“Our own hunger strike martyrs have made this act of defiance synonymous with anti-colonial struggles across the globe throughout the twentieth and now the twenty-first centuries.
“I am asking, as a gesture of humanity, for the Irish government to use its influence to pressurise Israel into bringing this protest to an end by freeing these men from their illegal captivity.
“I am also calling on all citizens, and all in civic Ireland, to use their influence, to lobby their local representatives, to do what they can to bring sufficient pressure to bear in order to end the hunger strike and save the lives of these six illegally detained Palestinians.”