New Punishments Issued against Ahmad Sa'adat for his defense of prisoners' rights
A new set of punishments have been issued against Ahmad Sa’adat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, following a nine-day hunger strike against the occupation’s denial of prisoners rights, won through long struggle, and the policy of solitary confinement.
The Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights sent an attorney to visit with Sa’adat on June 15, 2009, who reported that the administration of Asqelan prison held a hearing following the hunger strike, which Sa’adat refused to attend, according to his principled position of rejecting all of the mock justice of the Israeli military courts.
The hearing resulted in a severe set of sanctions directed at Sa’adat, extending his denial of family visits, denial of visits to the prison cateen, and a 200 shekel fine, as well as a week extension of solitary confinement. These punishments come in addition to an earlier set of draconian sanctions directed at Sa’adat as a result of his leadership in the prisoners’ movement.
On May 7, 2009, the occupation forces issued a series of punishments against Sa’adat, including denying him messages from his family for a month, prevention of family visits until September 5, 2009, the extension of his solitary confinement until June 28, 2009 and the removal of all electrical appliances, newspapers and magazines.
The attorney noted that Sa’adat was kidnapped from the Palestinian Authority prison in Jericho in March 2006, where he had been held under PA, British and US guard, and after a mockery of justice, sentenced him to 30 years in prison.
The Al-Mezan center condemned the policy of isolation and solitary confinement, noting that this practice violates international standards and is classified as a form of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The center called for the international community to work to the utmost to gain immediate protection for the rights of Palestinian prisoners, won through long struggle, and for the release of all Palestinian prisoners from the jails of the occupation.
Khalida Jarrar, member of the Political Bureau of the PFLP and chair of the Palestinian Legislative Council Prisoners’ Committee spoke on Sunday, June 14, 2009, summing up Sa’adat’s nine-day hunger strike and detailing the methods of isolation used by the occupier, noting that there are 30 prisoners held in solitary confinement and that these men are held in single cells 23 out of 24 hours in the day. She noted that Sa’adat has been held in isolation since his transfer by the occupation authorities from Hadarim to Asqelan prison several months ago, and that his family has been barred from visiting him.
Abla Sa’adat, Ahmad Sa’adat’s wife, spoke about how she has not been able to visit her husband for three months and that her children have been barred from visiting him for the past three years. She demanded that human rights institutions act upon the issue of solitary confinement and isolation.