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Palestine seeks UN action on hunger strike

June 11, 2014 8:26 A.M. (Updated: June 14, 2014 6:43 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian leadership is asking the United Nations to urgently intervene on behalf of 130 prisoners who are on hunger strike in Israeli jails.

In an official letter, the PLO's chief negotiator called on members of the UN Security Council to pressure Israel into annulling its policy of administrative detention and to condition deepening bi-lateral ties with Israel on its fulfillment of obligations as an occupying power.

"The hunger strike being carried out by prisoners held in administrative shines a light on one of the most severe injustices of military rule in the occupied State of Palestine," Saeb Erekat wrote in the June 10 letter, which was obtained by Ma'an.

"Palestinian residents are routinely held in administrative detention for many months, sometimes even years, without being informed of the charges against them or when they will be released."

Dozens of Palestinian detainees launched a hunger strike in Israeli jails on April 24.

They are protesting their continuing administrative detention, an Israeli policy which allows Palestinians to be held for months on a renewable basis without being charged with a crime or tried.

Over 400 prisoners have joined the strike in solidarity with the administrative detainees.

In his letter, Erekat wrote that Israel's use of administrative detention "clearly violates international law."

"Israel denies administrative detainees the right to see the evidence against them, the detention is renewable and has no upper limit, prisoners are not informed of their release date and they do not stand any trial. Administrative detainees are simply denied the right or the possibility of a proper defense."

He added: "The psychological war Israel is conducting against hunger strikers has been met with even more determination by the prisoners themselves to continue (their) struggle to end the policy of 'administrative detention' as applied by Israel."
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