June 10, 2012
Prime Minister of the State of Israel
Office of the Prime Minister
3 Kaplan Street, P O Box 187
Jerusalem 91919, Israel
Fax: +972 2 6521599
Re: Israel:Mahmoud Sarsak at risk of death’: Free him immediately
Dear Prime Minister of the State of Israel,
I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com.
I am writing to express my serious concern over Mahmoud Sarsak who at risk of death in Israeli prison.
Mahmoud, 25 years old and a member of the Palestinian national football team, has been detained for nearly three years under Israel’s “Unlawful Combatants Law,” which allows for Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to be detained for an unlimited amount of time without charge or trial. Those detained under the Statute have little or no legal protections, even less than those detained under administrative detention orders in the West Bank.
According to the information received Mahmoud Sarsak is currently on his 87th day of hunger strike, resulting in an imminent threat to his life. Despite the urgency of his condition, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has denied Mahmoud access to independent doctors from PHR-Israel until today.
According to PHR-Israel, The IPS also refuses to transfer him to a civilian hospital for proper treatment. Following today’s visit, the PHR-Israel doctor reported that Mahmoud has experienced extreme loss of muscle tissue and drastic weight loss. He has lost 33 percent of his body weight, from an original weight of 76 kilos down to his present weight of 51 kilos. He also suffers from frequent incidents of fainting and loss of consciousness, in addition to lapses in memory. The doctor further reported that Mahmoud is in danger of pulse disruptions (arrhythmias) that are endangering his life.
PHR-Israel’s independent doctor strongly recommended that Mahmoud should be immediately transferred to a hospital, as they are at immediate risk of death. These recommendations were given directly to the IPS doctor .It should be emphasized that contrary to medical ethic and professional standards, the IPS refused the request of the independent doctor to go over the full medical files of Mahmoud.
Israel’s practice of jailing West Bank Palestinians inside Israel violates the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit an occupying power from detaining members of the occupied population outside the occupied territory. I want remind you that administrative detention is allowed under international humanitarian law, it must be used only under exceptional circumstances as it infringes upon basic human rights, including the right to a fair trial. Indeed, the denial of a fair trial constitutes a ‘grave breach’ of the Fourth Geneva Convention, one of the most serious forms of war crimes. This form of arbitrary arrest also contravenes Articles 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
I also want to remind you the European Parliament called on Israel in a September 2008 resolution to “guarantee that minimum standards on detention be respected, to bring to trial all detainees, [and] to put an end to the use of ‘administrative detention orders’.”
Also the United Nations Human Rights Committee has stated several times that prolonged administrative detention is likely to result in the exposure of detainees to “torture, ill-treatment and other violations of human rights.”
I will also urge you Israel should immediately charge or release people jailed without charge or trial under so-called administrative detention. And Stop Jailing People Without Charge or Trial.
Israel’s international legal obligations require it to inform those arrested of the reasons for the arrest at the time, to promptly inform them of any charges against them, and to bring them before a judge, and in criminal cases, to provide a fair and public trial in which the defendant may challenge any witnesses against them. In its concluding observations on Israel in 2010, the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which monitors states’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, criticized Israel’s “frequent and extensive use of administrative detention,” and called on Israel to “refrain from using [it]” and to “complete as soon as possible” a review of relevant legislation.
Given the critical health condition of the hunger strikers and the fact that Mahmoud Sarsak face imminent death:
• I demand that Mahmoud Sarsak should in advanced stage should move immediately to civilian hospitals where they can receive the standard of care necessary;
• I call for immediate intervention for the IPS to provide Mahmoud Sarsak with unrestricted access to independent doctors;
• I demand that Mahmoud Sarsak should allowed family visits;
Please note I have writtena separate letter to UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention asking urgent intervention on the case of Mahmoud Sarsak.
Please note that I have written a separate letter to the Member States of the United Nations to urgently put pressure on Israel to end its policy of arbitrary detention and to abide by the standard rules for the treatment of prisoners adopted in 1955, which set out what is generally accepted as being decent principle and practice in the treatment of prisoners.
I have also communicated with the European Parliament to activate the parliamentary fact-finding mission that includes members of its Subcommittee on Human Rights to investigate the conditions of detention of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons;specifically on the case of Mahmoud Sarsak. I have emphasized that the parliamentary fact-finding mission must include an investigation into Israel’s illegal practice of administrative detention and the use of the “Unlawful Combatant Law”;
I have draw urgent attention of the members of the European Parliament to bring the case of Mahmoud Sarsak attention of relevant Israeli authorities without delay.
I request your urgent intervention.
William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com
P.O. Box 5238
Salem, Oregon 97304