March 15, 2012.
A Palestinian woman holds a placard (bottom left) depicting Hana Shalabi during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Mohamad Torokman/Reuters)
March 16, 2012 marks one month of Hana al-Shalabi’s hunger strike. Hana al-Shalabi has been held under administrative detention without charge or trial since her re-arrest on February 16, 2012 and has maintained a continuous hunger strike since that date, inspiring international solidarity and action.
March 14, 2012 also marks the sixth anniversary of the Israeli military raid on the Palestinian Authority’s Jericho prison, in which Ahmad Sa’adat, General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and renowned national leader, was abducted after a lengthy siege along with five of his comrades who had been held under PA, US and British guard at the prison. Click here to send a letter demanding freedom for Hana al-Shalabi and Ahmad Sa’adat.
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Sa’adat has now been in isolation and solitary confinement for three years, isolated in March 2009 following his public comments saluting Palestinian struggle and resistance in the face of Operation Cast Lead’s murderous assault on Gaza. Hana Shalabi has joined him in solitary confinement, alongside 30 other of the nearly 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners confined to isolation cells.
Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur, has saluted Hana Shalabi’s courage and denounced the silence of official international institutions, including the United Nations. “To engage in an open ended hunger strike…requires a deep and abiding dedication to right a perceived wrong of the greatest gravity,” said Falk.
Sa’adat’s own resilience and steadfastness has been legendary; a veteran of prisoner organizing and hunger strikes within occupation prisons, Sa’adat both inspired and led the September-October 2011 prisoner hunger strikes demanding an end to isolation and abuse, which galvanized support for Palestinian prisoners throughout occupied Palestine and internationally, a support movement that has been strengthened by the courage of first Khader Adnan and now Hana Shalabi to challenge administrative detention with their bodies and their hunger.
Ahmad Sa’adat and Hana Shalabi stand together as symbols of Palestinian resistance, steadfastness, unity and strength – in the face of the occupier, continuing to resist despite all obstacles and means of oppression.
Four additional administrative detainees have declared hunger strikes, as reported by Addameer, and many others have refused to attend court. These struggles only expand as threats to Hana Shalabi’s health and life grow. As Physicians for Human Rights reported after their medical examination, “The second doctor’s second examination on 12 March indicated an additional deterioration in Ms. Shalabi’s condition, shown mainly in advanced muscle atrophy and wasting, additional weight loss, a significant reduction in blood sugar, severe dizziness and severe muscle pain, especially in her chest and back.”
See Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Project for more information.
ISRAEL FREE HANA AL-SHALABI AND AHMAD SA'ADAT