Israel planning to force feed hunger striker: Amnesty

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Palestinians hold pictures of prisoner Hana Shalabi, during a protest in support of Shalabi outside Ofer prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah 15 March, 2012. (Photo: Reuters – Mohamad Torokman)

Published Friday, March 23, 2012

Israel may force feed a Palestinian hunger striker in a bid to prevent her from continuing her protest, Amnesty International said on Friday.

The rights group condemned any attempts to force Hana Shalabi, who has been on hunger strike for 37 days in protest of her continued detention without trial, to eat as "cruel" and called on Israel to either charge or release her.

"There are reports that the Israeli authorities may be considering force-feeding her, which could constitute cruel and inhuman treatment. As a general rule, hunger strikers should not be forcibly fed," a statement from the group said.

Force feeding hunger strikers has been condemned by all major rights groups, but the United States repeatedly used the practice when prisoners refused food at Guantanamo Bay.

Israel claims Shalabi, 30, from the village of Burqin in the northern West Bank, is affiliated with the Islamic Jihad movement but has produced no evidence to justify such claims.

She has been on hunger strike since her violent arrest on February 16, with her condition deteriorating rapidly.

She is being held under administrative detention laws, which allows Israel to hold prisoners indefinitely without trial.

A doctor from Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR) who saw her on Monday reported that she was at risk of death because she could suffer from heart failure at any moment, and called for her immediate hospitalization.

According to PHR, she has lost 14kgs since her arrest, and suffers from impaired thyroid functions and severe pain, weakness, and dizziness.

She was transferred to Meir Hospital in the central Israeli town of Kfar Saba on Tuesday night, but remains under Israeli custody and constant armed guard.

“When her lawyers and independent physicians have been given access to her, Hana Shalabi has reported that Israel Prison Service officers have handled her violently while transferring her to hospital or the military court, and consistently pressured her to end her hunger strike,” said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Shalabi's protest comes after the success of the 66-day hunger strike of Khader Adnan, who ended his strike after international pressure forced Israel to make a deal which will see him released next month.

Adnan and Shalabi's strikes have raised international awareness and condemnation of administrative detention.



Rather then going for a Hunger strike and getting herself into a trouble, she should gather people and motivate them towards the movement !

I presume that physicians will be involved in the process of force-feeding Hana Shalabi.

The World Medical Association (WMA) has longstanding clear guidelines for the ethical behavior of physicians in treating hunger strikers. The Israeli Medical Association is an active member in the WMA. It should be emphasized that doctors should not only refrain from such action, but they should object to it even if they are not involved directly in the process as stated clearly in the first principle of the declaration:
“Duty to act ethically. All physicians are bound by medical ethics in their professional contact with vulnerable people, even when not providing therapy. Whatever their role, physicians must try to prevent coercion or maltreatment of detainees and must protest if it occurs.”

Here is the link to the full World Medical Association's Malta Declaration on Hunger strikers in the English language.

Also, an Arabic translation of the declaration appeared today at the following link:

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