Friday 28th July 2017, 3-5pm
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, Parliament Square, Little George St, London SW1P 3BD (behind Nelson Mandela statue, Westminster tube)
27th July 2017, www.inminds.com
On Friday 28th July 2017, Inminds humans rights group will hold a vigil outside the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, in solidarity with renowned Palestinian human rights lawyer Shireen Issawi who has been caged by Israel for over 3 years.
Inminds chair Abbas Ali said "Shireen Issawi's only crime is to provide a legal defence to Palestinians under illegal Israeli occupation. For this crime the Israeli occupation has punished her.. Today Shireen Issawi is languishing in solitary confinement in a tiny cell at Israel's notorious Al Jalame dungeon infamous for its torture of young Palestinian children. Her family is not permitted any contact or communication with her and the last time her lawyer was allowed to see her she was covered in bruises - the guards had attacked the Palestinian women prisoners - raiding their cells, firing tear gas into the small cells choking them, then savagely clubbing the women with batons. Apparently the prison director himself personally lead the attack, tied them up with their hands behind their backs and beat them a baton. Shireen was left bleeding with her entire body covered in bruises. We are here symbolically outside the highest court in the land to demand justice and freedom for Shireen Issawi. We have a message from Shireen's mother especially written to be read out at the vigil, we hope some in the legal profession in this country will show their solidarity for a fellow lawyer who has been targeted for her profession by a regime that has total contempt for the law."
Palestinian human rights lawyer Shireen Issawi has been imprisoned by Israel for defending Palestinian political prisoners and supporting their families.
Shireen lives in the village of Issawiyeh in occupied East Jerusalem. On 6th March 2014 Israeli forces surrounded her home. With helicopter circling above they attacked, breaking the front door, they terrorising her elderly parents. But she wasn't in, they tracked her to a nearby checkpoint and abducted her. She was dragged to Israel's infamous torture den at Jerusalem Prison called the 'Russian Compound'. For two months she endured their endless interrogation sessions, forced into torturous stress positions for hours, which has left her with permanent joint and back pain. She was caged in solitary confinement, and denied family visits. Her weight dropped to just 39Kgs. Despite the abuse she did not break, and in May they moved her to HaSharon womens' prison near Haifa.
Five other lawyers were arrested at the same time as Shireen, including her brother Medhat and Amjad Safadi. Sadafi suffered 50 days of torture at the Russian Compound. Five days after his release he was found hanged.
HaSharon is a filthy prison infested with rats and cockroaches where women prisoners have to endure beatings, insults, threats, sexually explicit harassment and sexual violence, and humiliation at the hands of Israeli guards. They are often forced to undergo degrading strip searches during the middle of the night - forced to squat naked and subjected to intrusive internal body searches, for no reason other than as a punitive measure. On 3rd May 2015 the prison guards at HaSharon savagely beat Shireen right across her entire body before taking her into isolation in Ramleh for several months. Her tiny cell was completely sealed with plastic so there was no room for air until she choked and lost consciousness then the prison administration removed the plastic from the door. In June 2015 Shireen went on hunger strike to protest the poor conditions, she says "the cell lacked the minimum requirements for life. I was forced to sleep on the floor without even a mattress. The guards confiscated my personal belongings.." The cell had no amenities like water, and she was not allowed to buy any food.
The Law Society of England and Wales, representing 145,000 solicitors, demanded that Israel immediately release Shireen or conduct her trial in accordance with international human rights standards (17 Apr 2015) . The Israeli military court, with its Palestinian conviction rate of 99.7%, ignored this petition and on 7th May 2016 sentenced Shireen to 4 years imprisonment and her brother Medhat to 8 years.
Shireen Issawi has always worked for prisoners rights and in 2014 she won the Swiss based Alkarama Award for Human Rights Defenders for her work for Palestinian prisoners. Her parents received the award in Geneva on her behalf.
On 22nd June 2017 the Palestinian women prisoners were attacked for protesting the poor conditions at Damon prison which even the Israel Prison Service Director admitted was 'unfit' for human habitation. The guards fired tear gas into the small sealed cells choking the women as they stormed in, savagely beating them with batons. The director of Damon prison personally lead the attack, tied the women up with their hands behind their backs and beating them with a baton. Shireen was left bleeding with her entire body covered in bruises as testified by her lawyer who has only been permitted to see her once in nearly 2 months. Shireen was moved to Israel's notorious Al Jalame prison, and has been kept in solitary confinement ever since. She is not permitted any family visits or any communication. She is not permitted to buy any food. She has not been provided with any change of cloths and she is not permitted to buy any cloths. She cannot have a shower as cameras have strategically been placed to ensure she has no privacy even in the shower. Shireen Issawi cannot survive in these condition and so is threatening to go on another hunger strike.
Shireen Issawi has been put in solitary confinement five times so far this year, and each time on a rolling 15 day solitary confinement order with no indication of how long it will last.
LAST PROTEST FOR SHIREEN ISSAWI:
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Inminds Palestinian Prisoners Campaign