Islamic Jihad woman stages hunger strike over detention

Hana Shalabi’s father calls for further kidnapping of soldiers to secure release of Palestinian prisoners.

February 29, 2012 01:56
2 minute read.
Badeeah Shalabi holds a placard of daughter Hana

Badeeah Shalabi holds a placard of her daughter Hana 390. (photo credit: reuters)


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A Palestinian woman who was arrested by the IDF two weeks ago has since been on hunger strike in protest against her incarceration, her family and Palestinian human rights groups said on Tuesday.

Hana Shalabi, 30, from Burkin, near Jenin, is a member of Islamic Jihad.

She is the second administrative detainee to go on hunger strike in the past two months.

Khader Adnan, another Islamic Jihad activist from Jenin, went on hunger strike for 66 days before he was promised last week that he would be released in April.

Palestinian activists expressed hope that, like Adnan, Shalabi’s case would attract worldwide attention and force Israel to release her. They also voiced hope that other prisoners would join the hunger strike as a way of exerting pressure on Israel to release them.

Political activists see the case of Adnan as a victory in the struggle to force Israel to release Palestinian administrative detainees.

Shalabi was among more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners who were released in October 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange agreement in return for IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.

Shalabi’s parents have also gone on hunger strike, in a tent they set up outside the family home. Her father, Yahya, said his daughter was determined to continue with the hunger strike “until she gains her freedom.”

He also called on Palestinian armed groups to kidnap IDF soldiers to secure the release of his daughter and other Palestinian prisoners.

Shalabi’s brother Ammar said that her health has deteriorated because of her refusal to eat. He added that his mother was also in bad condition because she too was refusing to eat, in solidarity with her daughter.

Shalabi was re-arrested on February 16 by IDF soldiers in her village and ordered held in administrative detention for six months. She has since refused food, the Palestinian Authority Ministry for Prisoners Affairs in Ramallah said.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights voiced concern for Shalabi’s life and urged the international community to pressure Israel to release her.

Fawwaz Shalloudi, a lawyer who visited Shalabi this week, claimed that she had been physically assaulted and subjected to a strip search during her arrest – an allegation that has been strongly denied by the Prisons Service.

Shalloudi also said that his client has been placed in solitary confinement – a claim that has also been denied by the Prisons Service.

Shalabi was first arrested by the IDF in September 2009 and kept in prison under administrative detention until she was released in the Schalit deal.

Israeli security sources said Shalabi was suspected of planning a terrorist attack.

Before she was arrested by the IDF in 2009, Shalabi had been taken into custody by PA security forces in the West Bank. She was kept in Palestinian detention every day from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., when she would be freed to sleep at home.

Also on Tuesday, another Palestinian prisoner, Abdel Sallam Bani-Odeh, who is also from Jenin, said that he was planning to go on hunger strike starting on Thursday, saying that he was not receiving proper medical treatment in prison.

Bani-Odeh has served a third of his 30- year sentence for involvement in terrorist attacks.

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