Comrade Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh called upon prisoners’ organizations and human rights organizations to launch an international and legal campaign to end isolation and solitary confinement, which he said was akin to execution. Comrade Abu Ghoulmeh was abducted along with General Secretary Comrade Ahmad Sa’adat from Jericho prison in 2006, and is currently in isolation inside the occupation prisons.
Comrade Abu Ghoulmeh said that the Israeli prison management reneged on its promises to the prisoners in October 2011, when it promised to end isolation in exchange for the prisoners ending their open-ended hunger strike, which had lasted for twenty days at that point. The prisoners’ main demand was an end to the policy of isolation and solitary confinement; however, immediately after the strike had been ended, the prison administration officially renewed the isolation of Comrade Sa’adat, Hassan Salameh, and others.
Abu Ghoulmeh emphasized that this action exemplifies the complete lack of any commitment by the government of Israel to any agreements with the prisoners, including those stated to be included in the prisoner exchange. For example, the occupation stated its commitment to end arbitrary punitive measures against Palestinian prisoners that had been used during the holding of occupation soldier Gilad Shalit as a prisoner of war; however, those measures have not only continued, but have escalated. Comrade Abu Ghoulmeh is in isolation in Asqelan prison; he has been sentenced to life imprisonment following his kidnapping and has been denied family visits, books and newspapers.
Comrade Khalida Jarrar, member of the Political Bureau of the PFLP, also called upon Palestinian lawyers to take up legal challenges against isolation within all courts of law, and to take legal steps to protest this policy which is contrary to international human rights standards. Jarrar’s statement came during a visit with the family of Comrade Abu Ghoulmeh, including Wafa Abu Ghoulmeh, Ahed’s wife and prisoners’ rights activist, in Ramallah, in a delegation including Comrade Bashir al-Khairie, Nael Khalil, Fuad Hadli, and PA Minister of Prisoners Issa Qaraqe.
Qaraqe concurred that the policy of isolation is one of the most serious violations of prisoners’ rights, and is a policy of slow death, as it has been termed by the prisoners. There are currently 16 Palestinian prisoners in isolation; some have served nearly ten years. They are: Comrade Ahmad Sa’adat; Comrade Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh; Jamal Abu al-Hija; Walid Khalid; Hassan Salameh; Mansour Shahatit; Bajis Nakhleh; Dirar al-Sisi; Mohammed Jibran; Abdullah Barghouti; Mohammad Al-Arman, Ahmad al-Maghrabi; Mahmoud al-Arda; Mahmoud Issa; Ibrahim Hamad; and Abbas al-Sayyed.