Thursday, March 8, 2012

On International Women’s Day, stand with Palestinian women prisoners

Palestinian university students hold a rally in
solidarity with Hana al-Shalabi, Gaza City,
6 March 2012 (Ashraf Amra / APA images)
On International Women’s Day, stand with Palestinian women prisoners by Maureen Clare Murphy

The Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer put out a statement today marking International Women’s Day (March 8), calling for the release of all Palestinian female political prisoners.

Israel currently holds seven Palestinian female prisoners in detention, including Hana al-Shalabi, who is being held without charge or trial and has been on hunger strike since 16 February. Al-Shalabi vowed to continue her hunger strike today as a military judge postponed the decision in the appeal of al-Shalabi’s four-month administrative detention order.

In an update on al-Shalabi’s case today, Addameer reported:
Addameer lawyer Mahmoud Hassan noted that Hana appeared to be very weak in today’s hearing, and was handled roughly by soldiers. The military judge only allowed four of Hana’s lawyers to be present in the room and asked all others to leave. After hearing the legal arguments of her defense team and the military prosecution, the judge requested that the prosecution consider revising its position before he made a decision. He stated that he would make his decision on Sunday, 11 March, or Monday, 12 March.
Hana’s father arrived at Ofer military base at 8:00am in order to see Hana, but the military judge and Israeli soldiers made every effort to ensure that he would not be able to see her even from a distance. Furthermore, the door of the courtroom in which the hearing took place was locked so that no one would be able to open the door for him to look through from outside. The military judge repeatedly rejected all of Hana’s lawyers’ inquiries related to this matter.
Prior to this afternoon’s hearing, members of the Nahshon—a special escort and intervention unit of the Israeli Prison Service known for its particularly brutal treatment of Palestinian prisoners—arrived to transfer Hana from Hasharon Prison to Ofer. Hana stated that prior to her transfer to the court, a female soldier informed Hana that she would be conducting a strip search in front of the other female prisoners. After arguing, the female soldier agreed to conduct the strip search in the bathroom. After the strip search, Hana was told that she would be punished upon her return to Hasharon. Hana’s arms and legs were then shackled in a very strict manner.

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