Last updated: 4 February, 2013

Protesters demand Israel free fasting Palestinian inmates

Some 200 Arabs demonstrated outside a prison in the central Israeli town of Ramle on Monday, demanding the release of hunger-striking Palestinian inmates.

The protesters, from Israel and Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem who included women and children, demanded the prisoners’ release from detention without trial, an AFP journalist at the scene reported.

Banners in Arabic, Hebrew and English demanded Israel free the men and end the practice of “administrative detention,” under which suspects can be imprisoned without trial by order of a military court. The order can be renewed indefinitely for six months at a time.

Protesters carried Palestinian flags and pictures of inmates Ayman Sharawneh, Samer Assawi and other prisoners who are staging a hunger strike to demand their release.

Sharawneh and Assawi have been fasting the longest of six Palestinians who prisoner support group Adameer says are refusing to eat in Israeli jails, although a spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Service could not say how long that had been.

“Both have been on and off hunger strikes for a very long time, we are not keeping count,” Sivan Weizman told AFP. “They are both under medical supervision and receive all the necessary care and treatment.”