A look at the case of Palestinian hunger striker Bilal Kayed, now on hunger strike for more than 66 days, in a cause which has striking parallels with those of Irish republicans. By Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity.
On 13 June, Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed was slated for release after 14 and one-half years in Israeli prison. His family was waiting for him, as were his comrades and friends; however, Bilal never came - because instead of being released, he had been ordered by the Israeli occupation military to six months in administrative detention without charge or trial. He is now on an open hunger strike which he launched the morning of 15 June - demanding his freedom and an end to administrative detention.
Bilal Kayed, 34, is one of approximately 750 Palestinians imprisoned without charge or trial on the basis of secret evidence under administrative detention, and 7,000 Palestinians total in occupation prisons. Administrative detention orders are indefinitely renewable - Palestinians can spend years in administrative detention at a time, never knowing when they will be freed.
Kayed is known as a leader among Palestinian prisoners - as the representative of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine prisoners in Megiddo prison, he was targeted for solitary confinement for one and a half years. His fellow Palestinian prisoners are engaged in a series of protests and actions to demand his release and will be conducting their third two-day hunger strike on 24 and 25 June, returning their meals to demand Kayed’s freedom and and an end to administrative detention.
This is an attempt to impose a precedent for all Palestinian prisoners - that on the date of release, after five, ten, fifteen, or twenty years in prison, rather than being released, Palestinian prisoners be held indefinitely without charge or trial, ordered to administrative detention. The denial of Bilal Kayed’s freedom is a threat to the freedom of all Palestinian prisoners.
The detention of Kayed, a prisoner leader, scheduled for release; Mohammed Abu Sakha, circus performer and teacher; Jerusalemite human rights defender Hasan Safadi; youth organizer Bilal Abu Diab; members of the Palestinian Legislative Council such as Abdel-Jaber Fuquha and Hatem Kufaisha; journalist and union leader Omar Nazzal - amid hundreds more, indicate the level of Israeli state impunity to lock away Palestinian emerging leaders and prominent community figures without charge or trial. Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners have put their bodies and lives on the lines in extended hunger strikes to demand an end to administrative detention.
We raise our voices around the world to join the call to free Bilal Kayed and all of his fellow administrative detainees and bring an end to the practice of administrative detention. We call for the freedom of all Palestinian prisoners - and for the cause for which they struggle, the freedom of Palestine and its people.
We join the call for protests, actions and events around the world in support of the Palestinian prisoners striking for freedom and urge organisations and people of conscience everywhere to join in actions to demand freedom for Bilal Kayed and his fellow prisoners, including building the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign to internationally isolate Israel, its institutions, and the corporations that profit from imprisonment, occupation, racism, colonialism and injustice.
Free Bilal Kayed and all Palestinian prisoners! End administrative detention!