On 7 July 2021, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) submitted an urgent appeal to the United Nations (UN) Special Procedures on the imminent threat to the life of hunger-striking administrative detainee Ghadanfar Abu Atwan.
Ghadanfar Abu Atwan, a 28-year-old Palestinian, was arrested in October 2020 and placed under administrative detention for six months, an order that was renewed for an additional six months. In protest, Ghadanfar began an open-ended hunger strike on 5 May 2021 while being held in Ramon prison, whereupon he was transferred to solitary confinement for 14 days, and later subjected to physical assault, beatings, and injuries without any regard to his medical condition. Since then, his medical condition has rapidly deteriorated, requiring urgent medical intervention.
After fifty days on strike, Ghadanfar was transferred to Kaplan Medical Center, where he continues to be held as he falls in and out of consciousness, facing an imminent threat to life. According to medical reports issued on 21 June 2021, doctors confirmed that Ghadanfar’s current condition could lead to three serious possibilities: paralysis, a chronic health condition difficult to treat later, or sudden death. Still, on 4 July 2021, Ghadanfar announced his strike from drinking water in response to the refusal of Israeli military courts to end his arbitrary administrative detention.
Despite the multiple appeals submitted by his lawyers against the administrative detention orders and their renewals, Israeli military courts rejected all appeals, including the most recent appeal hearing on 31 May 2021.
Ghadanfar’s case, who previously served two years in administrative detention, is emblematic of Israel’s broader practice of systematic and arbitrary administrative detention, among which is the targeting of former Palestinian prisoners, who are routinely released, re-arrested, and placed in administrative detention for months on end. The issuance and confirmation of administrative detention orders by the Occupying Power have drastically increased this year, and serve as a key feature of the Israeli repression against Palestinians engaging in their struggle towards their right to self-determination.
Noting, with grave concern, the imminent threat to Ghadanfar’s life, and Israel’s Israel’s ongoing and systematic policy of administrative detention, and ill-treatment, the urgent appeal urged the UN Special Rapporteurs to intervene immediately, and specifically to call on the Occupying Power, Israel, to immediately release Palestinian detainee Ghadanfar Abu Atwan, whose life is under imminent threat, and guarantee his right to liberty and freedom from arbitrary arrests and detention;
Call on Israel and the IPS to ensure and uphold Palestinian detainee Ghadanfar’s right to the highest attainable standard of health and mental health, as well as the right to life, as well as avoid and end all forms of reprisals against the striking prisoners.
Call on Israel to put an end to the systematic and arbitrary use of administrative detention against Palestinians, and demand the release of all Palestinian political prisoners held in administrative detention indefinitely without charge or trial, contrary to international law; and
Call on the international community and all High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations towards protecting human rights and enforcing the implementation of international humanitarian law.