Date: 5 January 2021
On 4 January 2022, Al-Haq and Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer) sent letters to Third States and European Union High Representatives calling on them to intervene to secure the release of Palestinian detainee Hisham Abu Hawash whose deteriorating health condition meant his life was in immediate danger. He had spent 141 days (over 4 months) on open hunger strike, which he began in early August 2021 in protest of his continued arbitrary and indefinite administrative detention, without charge or trial. During the last few days, he slipped in and out of a coma, and temporarily lost his eyesight and his ability to speak, according to local media reports.
On the same day that letters were sent by Al-Haq and Addameer, an agreement was reached with Israel (4 January 2022) to end Hisham Abu Hawash’s 141-day hunger strike. According to his Attorney Jawad Boulos Hisham, Abu Haswash is expected to remain in an Israeli hospital for medical follow-up until 26 February 2022, after which he will be released to his home.
Hisham Abu Hawash, 40 years old from Dura, Hebron was first arrested by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on 27 October 2020 and placed under a six-month administrative detention order. Since then, his administrative detention order has been arbitrarily renewed to 27 February 2022, placing him under arbitrary administrative detention for a total of 16 consecutive months.
As a direct result of the unlawfulness of the administrative detention orders, Palestinian administrative detainees (more than 500) have launched a boycott of the military court system, by for example, refusing to show up to their court sessions or by going on hunger strike. On 21 October 2021, UN experts strongly expressed "grave fear" for the lives of the hunger-striking Palestinian detainees.
UN experts also condemned Israeli practices of administrative detention in violation of international law, international humanitarian law and internationally recognized principles, such as the right to a fair trial. For example, Israeli occupation authorities continue to place Palestinians under administrative detention indefinitely without charge based on secret material that cannot be disclosed to either the detainees or their lawyers. In addition, the IOF and Israeli 'Shin Bet' Intelligence employ administrative detention as a coercive and retaliatory measure targeting Palestinian activists, civil society members, students, former prisoners, and family members. Israel’s use of the policy has also expanded in recent years to include women, children and elderly people. Further, the Israeli occupation regime's arbitrary, systematic, retaliatory, and often coercive application of administrative detention against Palestinian prisoners gives rise to the crime of torture.
In light of the above, Al-Haq and Addameer urged state representatives to:
- Call on the Occupying Power, Israel, to secure the release of Palestinian detainee Hisham Abu Hawash whose life is under imminent threat, and to revoke in its entirety his administrative detention order;
- Call on Israel and the Israeli Prison Services to ensure and uphold Palestinian detainee Hisham Abu Hawash's right to the highest attainable standard of health and mental health and to protect his right to life;
- Call on Israel to put an end to the systematic and arbitrary use of administrative detention against Palestinians, and demand the release of all Palestinian political prisoners held in administrative detention indefinitely without charge or trial contrary to international law; and
- Call on the international community and all High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations towards protecting human rights and ensuring the implementation of international humanitarian law.
Please find the full letter here.
 Al Jazeera, “Israel agrees to release Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike” (5 January 2022) https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/1/4/israel-agrees-to-release-palestinian-prisoner-on-hunger-strike
 UN OHCHR, “Israel: Release or charge five Palestinian hunger strikers – UN experts” (21 October 2021) <https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=27685&LangID=E>
 Al Jazeera, “Palestinian prisoners launch boycott of Israeli military courts” (4 January 2022) <https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/1/4/palestinian-prisoners-launch-boycott-of-israeli-military-courts>
 Article 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention related to the Protection of Civilians in Times of War (1949) 5 Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 10 December 1984 (Entry into force 26 June 1987)