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Israel continues to hold Palestinian lawyer Shirin Issawi in solitary confinement

July 13, 2017 3:03 P.M. (Updated: July 16, 2017 6:26 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- The Israel Prison Service (IPS) has been holding imprisoned Palestinian lawyer Shirin Tariq Issawi in solitary confinement for more than three weeks, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said on Thursday.

Issawi, who was detained in March 2014, was sentenced to four years in prison last year alongside her brother Medhat for allegedly being in contact with, and providing funds to, Palestinian prisoners.

Committee lawyer Hanan al-Khatib said that Issawi has been held in solitary confinement in Jalama prison since June 22, after she reportedly confronted IPS officials carrying out a raid in Damon prison.

Al-Khatib said that the IPS forces violently assaulted Issawi during the Damon raid, leaving her bleeding and with bruises, before transferring her and three other prisoners -- Dalal Abu al-Hawa, Sabah Faroun, and Ataiya Abu Eisha -- to solitary confinement in Jalama.

She added that the three other female prisoners had since been released from isolation, whereas Issawi has remained in solitary confinement for 22 consecutive days as of Thursday.

A spokesperson for IPS confirmed to Ma’an that Issawi was being held in solitary confinement, adding that the measure had been taken for “administrative reasons.”

Issawi told al-Khatib that following the violent Damon raid, she had been fined 700 shekels ($198), banned from family visitations and purchasing from the prison commissary for a month, and sentenced to seven days in solitary confinement, while all the other Palestinians detained in Damon had been barred access to the prison yard for three days.

Issawi described the imprisonment conditions in Jalama as terrible, telling al-Khatib that three surveillance cameras were installed in her dirty cell, invading her privacy at all times, while the cell’s window was obscured with plastic sheeting, and prison guards shouted racist epithets at the prisoners.

Shirin Issawi, who is also the sister of prominent prisoner Samer Issawi, threatened to launch a hunger strike should Israel continue to hold her in solitary confinement.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, of the 6,200 Palestinians held in Israeli prisoners as of May, 56 were women or girls.

Addameer has reported on the mistreatment of Palestinian women by Israeli prison authorities, stating that the majority of Palestinian women detainees were subjected to "psychological torture" and "ill-treatment" by Israeli authorities, including "various forms of sexual violence that occur such as beatings, insults, threats, body searches, and sexually explicit harassment.”
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