Israel: Abnaa elBalad leaders on hunger strike in prison

Yesterday, March 29, we received this statement from the Abnaa elBalad movement in Israel. Their leaders are still in prison “awaiting trial” and have now started a hunger strike to protest at the terrible conditions they are having to suffer. Yesterday, March 29, we received this statement from the Abnaa elBalad movement in Israel. Their leaders are still in prison "awaiting trial" and have now started a hunger strike to protest at the terrible conditions they are having to suffer. Many supporters of In Defence of Marxism from different countries around the world signed a petition of protest and also sent letters directly to the Prime Minister's office in Israel. Although we do not necessarily agree with everything the Abnaa elBalad movement stands for we support them against any measure of repression that the Israeli state inflicts on them, and we demand their right to freely express their views. We are publishing this for the information of our supporters, and we would ask you to write messages of solidarity that can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will forward them to the Abnaa elBalad comrades. [Editor's note, March 30, 2004]

Yesterday, March 28, 2004, the secretary general of Abnaa elBalad movement, the comrade Muhammad Kana'ane, went on a hunger strike to protest against his detention conditions in the Shabak compound in Jalame ("Kishon prison"). Today, March 29, 2004, he was joined by his brother and fellow political prisoner Hussam Kana'ane, a member of the Abnaa elBalad central committee.

In spite of the fact that their investigation has ended and they are now legally classified as "detainees awaiting trial", our comrades are being held in inhuman conditions and denied the most elementary rights granted to them by the law:

1) A small cell of approximately 12 square meters, with a single bunk bed, holds 6 prisoners. There is hardly enough place to sleep on the floor.

2) The cell has no window or ventilation and the atmosphere is suffocating. There is no separation between the cell and the rest rooms. The cell has no shower, table or chairs. The blankets and dirty and stinking.

3) The prisoners are not allowed to hold minimal personal belongings such as books, paper and pencils—not to speak of a radio, kettle, watch and other objects stipulated by the law.

4) The prisoners are kept in the cell 24 hours a day, in spite of the fact that the law stipulates a daily walk of at least an hour in the prison yard.

5) The prisoners are denied the right to be visited by their relatives, write and receive letters, and speak over the phone.

The prisoners are held in these harsh conditions since their arrest on February 7, in direct violation of a number of court decisions stipulating that they should be given all the rights granted to them by the detention law. Clearly the Shabak (the Israeli internal intelligence service) runs the Jalame compound in express violation of the law and the court decisions. It must be emphasized than in this "compound" are held many dozens of Palestinian political prisoners in similar conditions. Yesterday the lawyer Orna Cohen from Adalah, the legal center for Arab minority rights in Israel, petitioned the Haifa district court against these detention conditions.

The inhuman conditions in which the prisoners are held is a further proof that we are in the presence of a police operation mounted to break the spirit of our comrades. The prolonged detention and the charges against our comrades are part of a political persecution campaign against Abnaa elBalad and against the liberty of political expression of the Palestinian people. In that way the racist Zionist regime attempts to prevent us from offering an alternative of freedom, return and shared living to their policy of war, occupation and segregation.

· Freedom to comrades of Abnaa elBalad!

· Freedom to all the Palestinian political prisoners!

www.Abnaa-elbalad.org

March 29, 2004