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Ministry: Hunger-striking prisoners subjected to 'barbarity'

June 7, 2014 9:00 A.M. (Updated: June 9, 2014 12:28 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Lawyers for the Ministry of Prisoner Affairs on Friday accused Israeli prison services of treating around 125 hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners with "barbarity" as they entered their 45th day without food in protest against their detention with trial.

The lawyers said that the Palestinian prisoners who have been on strike one month and a half are being sent to Israeli hospitals constantly, are in pain, have lost a lot of weight and are showing signs of exhaustion, fatigue and faintness.

"Israeli prison services are treating the hunger-striking prisoners with spite, brutality and barbarity on official orders from Israeli leadership to pressure prisoners," the lawyers alleged.

Ministry lawyer Mutaz Shuqeirat said that he visited Ayalon prison in Ramle where he said that the prisoners' conditions are "worrying," especially the ones in solitary confinement.

Ministry lawyer Karim Ajwa said that he visited Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, where six prisoners are currently being held, but was only able to see three of them.

Ajwa said that all of the prisoners he saw had their hands and legs cuffed as they were in the hospital beds.

On Friday, UN chief Ban Ki-moon expressed concern over the fate of the hunger-strikers, saying that the administrative detainees should either be released or charged, in line with strikers' demands.

Administrative detention refers to the tactic of keeping a prisoner without charge or trial for extended periods of time, often due to "security" concerns.

Israel routinely uses this tactic on detained Palestinians, even though international law stipulates it only be used in exceptional circumstances.

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