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Israeli forces raid PFLP section in Ramon prison, impose total closure

July 17, 2016 11:18 A.M. (Updated: July 18, 2016 6:36 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Prisoner's Society said on Sunday morning that Israel Prison Service (IPS) forces raided section 5 of Israel's Ramon prison, where they searched Cell 72 and imposed a total closure on the section, which holds exclusively prisoners affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The group added in a statement that the acts of the prison administration and its forces were part of its collective punishment of PFLP prisoners across all Israeli prisons in response to their support of fellow prisoner Bilal Kayid, who has been on a hunger strike since June 14 in protest of his administrative detention order.

Kayid, a member of the PFLP, has been on hunger strike in protest of being placed in administrative detention -- the controversial Israeli policy internment without trial or charges under undisclosed evidence -- by Israel on the day he was scheduled to be released from serving more than 14 years in prison.

The native of the town of Asira al-Shamaliya in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus was originally detained in 2002 for alleged involvement in the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades -- the armed wing of the PFLP.

In the weeks since Kayid's hunger strike began, several Palestinian prisoners began hunger strikes in solidarity with him. Following the strikes, Israel's prison authorities cracked down on PFLP prisoners by raiding their prison cells, transferring several prisoners including Kayid to disrupt the protest, placing several others in solitary confinement, and confiscating electronic devices.

According to Addameer, the prisoner rights group representing Kayid, an appeal was sent to the IPS requesting Kayid's immediate release last week, and is expected to receive a response from the courts in the coming days.

The group added that when the appeal was submitted, the court asked if Kayid would consider being deported from the occupied West Bank for "a few years" as had previously been suggested as a condition of his release from administrative detention.

Rights groups have claimed that Israel's administrative detention policy has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, and journalists.

Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.

Israel considers the majority of Palestinian political parties to be “terrorist organizations." As a result, most Palestinians who participate in the political arena in the occupied Palestinian territory risk being imprisoned by Israeli authorities.

According to Addameer, there are currently 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, 715 of whom are held under Israel’s policy of administrative detention.

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