Nafha prison, hunger strike, solitary confinement: a Palestinian reality

PNN/Bethlehem

Palestinian prisoners in Nafha prison have been forbidden from Friday prayers on 15 April following a violent attack by Israeli prison guards and special forces on several units inside the prison on Wednesday, 13 April.

According to Palestinian sources, Israeli armed units stormed section 14 in the prison on Wednesday, an area where 80 Palestinian prisoners affiliated with the PFLP, Islamic Jihad and Fateh are held, with tear gas and pepper spray.

Ahmed al-Khatib, Prisoners’ representative in Nafha jail, was isolated after being attacked; four Palestinian prisoners were transferred to solitary confinement in Ramon prison.

The entire prison has been placed under lockdown by the Israeli prison administration.

On Wednesday morning they also stormed the prison’s sections 13 and 11.

Al-Muhja Foundation reported that prisoners in section 14 began protesting after over two months of strict security conditions, including repeated denials of family visits.

The attack on the section continued for six hours, in which the attacking forces deliberately poured out food supplies, oil and cola, ransacked and destroyed books, and flooded the cells with large amounts of water, including mattresses.

The PA committee for prisoners and ex-prisoners confirmed the attack.

Section 14 consists of 10 rooms, including three rooms of prisoners of the Popular Front, two rooms of prisoners of Islamic Jihad, and five rooms of Fateh prisoners.

Several prisoners were hospitalized due to pepper spray injuries and injuries from beatings; at least one was critically injured.

The following Thursday, it was announced prisoners in section 14 would be banned from joining Friday prayers in the prison yard.

Prisoners in the other sections responded by with locking themselves inside their cells in solidarity.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies, collective Friday prayers have never been prohibited in Nafha before.

Following these week attacks, there is a movement for a general one-day hunger strike from prisoners at the Ktziot, Ramon, Eshel, Ofer, and Nafha prisons on 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, in protest and solidarity of the attack on Nafha prison.

 

Meanwhile, on Friday the Israeli prison authority has transferred administrative detainee Adeeb Mafarja from Negev jail to an isolation cell in Ela prison in Beersheba to pressure him into ending his hunger strike.

Mafarja, who has been on hunger strike for about 13 days, suffers from very poor incarceration conditions, according to his wife.

The wife told the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies that her husband is deprived of having any piece of clothing other than the ones he was wearing when his lawyer recently visited him, and provided in his isolation cell with a very slim mattress and two dirty tattered blankets.

She affirmed that despite his declining health condition, her husband is determined to go on with his hunger strike until he obtains his freedom.