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Female Palestinian inmates begin hunger strike to protest ‘israeli’ maltreatment

At least three Palestinian female prisoners in solitary confinement at an Israeli jail have gone on an open-ended hunger strike in protest at their mistreatment.

The Palestinian Asra Media Office, which focuses on prisoner affairs, reported that the rest of the female inmates at the notorious Damon prison will join the hunger strike in stages.

The hunger strikers were identified as Mona Qaadan, Marah Bakir and Shurouq Duwaikat from the occupied Palestinian territories.

The report said the situation in Israeli prisons is escalating, with the Israel Prison Service (IPS) refusing to meet the demands of the prisoners.

Their decision came amid reports of the abuse and mistreatment of female prisoners at the prison.

The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), in a recent statement, said Israeli forces had violently raided the cells of the female Palestinian detainees and severely beaten them, injuring some of them.

One of the prisoners lost consciousness during repeated attacks by Israeli forces who removed the headscarves of the prisoners and grabbed them by neck and pulled their hair.

The escalation came amid new restrictions depriving the prisoners of family visits and preventing them from purchasing items from the canteen, as well as  imposition of fines on them.

Female prisoners have been allowed to see only one adult member of their family since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak and the suspension of family visits for Palestinian prisoners.

According to the PPS, dozens of Palestinian women have currently been languishing behind bars at Israel’s notorious Damon prison. They are subjected to very harsh conditions and constantly monitored through surveillance cameras.

The female Palestinian prisoners have to spend most of their days in damp and humid rooms, particularly in the winter, the PPS said.

In September, 26-year-old Anhar al-Deek, in her ninth month of pregnancy, was released from Damon prison to house arrest in the village of Kafr Nai’ma in the West Bank after paying a bond of more than $12,000.

A number of rights advocacy groups earlier this year reported on the occasion of International Mother’s Day that Israel was holding several Palestinian mothers in jail, adding that they are subject to various kinds of torture and not allowed to meet with their relatives.

Since 2015, the number of Palestinian women who have been arrested has reached more than 900, among them mothers of prisoners, martyrs and minor girls, according to a report by the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC) and the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.

More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, with dozens of them serving multiple life sentences.

Hundreds of detainees, including women and minors, are being held under the so-called administrative detention in various Israeli prisons, with some of them being held in that condition for up to 11 years without any charges.

The detention takes place on orders from a military commander and on the basis of what the Israeli regime describes as “secret” evidence. Israeli jail authorities also keep Palestinian prisoners under deplorable conditions.

Multiple Palestinian factions have called for a “day of rage” on Friday in support of the prisoners.

Hamas officials have warned that crossing the “red lines” in treatment of prisoners would have “repercussions on the region.”

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