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MEMORANDUM PREPARED BY THE OFFICE OF THE PERMANENT OBSERVER FOR THE PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION AT THE UNITED NATIONS OFFICE AT GENEVA
[31 October 1986]
Since the beginning of September 1986, the Palestinian prisoners in Kfar Youna prison, as well as in the Janeed, Nafha, Hebron, Ashkelon and Fara'a prisons, have gone on a hunger-strike to protest against the inhuman conditions of their detention and to claim the improvement of these conditions. Among others, the Palestinian prisoners demand the following:
Less prisoners per cell, usually over-crowded;
The removal of the metal nets in the visiting areas;
The removal of the sheet-iron from doors and windows, which limits air circulation and increases humidity in winter and heat in summer;
Enough time for the daily walk outside the cells, which is currently of only some minutes only.
To all these inhuman conditions, one has to add the systematic use of torture by the Israeli authorities against the prisoners, indeed, many witnesses have reported concrete cases of torture and ill-treatment against the Palestinian prisoners inside the Israeli prisons.
Moreover, witnesses reported on 16 September that many prisoners from Fara'a prison (Nablus area) had disappeared and did not meet their relatives during visits, due to their critical physical condition as a result of torture and ill-treatment inside the prison.
Besides, tens of prisoners have been victims of food poisoning in the Israeli prisons.
As an answer to these recent hunger-strikes and to the demonstrations of prisoners, the Israeli occupation authorities, after some days' illusive concessions, went back to their usual practices. Moreover, in many of these prisons, the detainees were attacked by the Israeli authorities inside their cells: on 21 October 1986, the Palestinian prisoners in the Fara'a prison were attacked in their cells, with live ammunition and tear gas, 53 of them were injured, among them 3 very seriously. Besides, the Israeli authorities isolated and tortured 11 prisoners supposed to be the leaders of the strike. It has to be underlined that in Fara'a prison, more than 300 detainees are under 16 years of age.
On 23 October, fire broke out in Ashkelon prison, seriously injuring six prisoners. The causes of the fire remain unknown, and the Israeli authorities prohibited any investigation of this incident.
Some days later, the Israeli authorities raided the cells of administrative detainees in Janeed prison, using the same means as in Fara'a prison. At the same time, some of the prisoners were transferred from Janeed to Nafha prison, and their family visits forbidden.
In view of these grave violations of the most elementary human rights of the Palestinian prisoners detained in the Israeli prisons, we wish to request you to take the necessary steps in order that this information is brought before the next session of the Commission on Human Rights.