Inmates at Ofer Prison go on 1-day hunger strike

100s protest changes in detention conditions, according to Prison Service; inmates claim move in solidarity with other strikers.

Palestinians rally to free hunger strikers 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)
Palestinians rally to free hunger strikers 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)
Hundreds of security prisoners at Ofer Prison in the West Bank held a one-day hunger strike on Tuesday, to protest changes in their detention conditions, the Prisons Service reported on Tuesday.
Sivan Weitzman, spokeswoman for the Prisons Service, said that the 550 prisoners are protesting changes in the prison wings they are assigned to, mainly in terms of the prisoners’ party affiliations. Weitzman denied reports that the protest is being held out of solidarity with the handful of hunger-striking prisoners at the Prisons Service’s medical facility.
“What the prisoners at the scene have told us is this protest is about the conditions of their detention and changes in who is housed with who,” she said, “despite what outside organizations are trying to say about the protest.”
As of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, the striking prisoners had began eating again, according to the Prisons Service.
Abdullah Zeghari, executive director of the Palestinian Prisoner Society, said the one-day protest on Tuesday was called to show solidarity with Palestinian security prisoners who have been rearrested since their release under the November 2011 exchange deal to free IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.
One of these, Iman Sharwana, was arrested in February 2012 three months after the Schalit deal. Sharwana had been serving a life sentence for attempted murder when he was released in the deal.
Zeghari said the arrests are being carried out because the prisoners were political leaders in the West Bank. He added that last Friday, a number of prisoners were holding a prayer service and speaking of the “victory of the resistance in Gaza,” and as a result security at the prison moved a number of the prayer leaders to Hadarim Prison, leading to a one-day hunger strike by prisoners at Ofer Prison on Saturday.