Egypt: Hunger Strikes Against Mass Arbitrary Arrests

156 people are now on hunger strike in Egypt, 82 inside Egyptian prisons and 74 outside, in solidarity with all those who have been arrested by the Egyptian military and police forces. Estimates say around 41,000 people have been arrested in Egypt since the ousting of Mohammed Morsi in July 2013. Human rights groups report at least 25,000 people have been arrested this year and many have died while in custody. Reports indicate that torture is still widely used on prisoners. While many in Egypt and abroad are elated with today’s news of the Shura Council detainees being released on bail, there are still way too many people locked up in deplorable conditions for ridiculous reasons in Egypt. It is difficult to keep track of who exactly is in Egyptian jail but here’s a list of some recent arrests.

Continue reading

Human Rights Defender’s Hunger Strike Against Arrests, Detentions

01 September 2014 – 8th day hunger strike – Updates

Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja is now in his 8th day of his hunger strike, and his health is in extreme danger. The family visited Adbulhadi Al-Khawaja this morning, and reported that he is very weak. Last night, doctors feared for his life after his blood sugar level would stubbornly not rise above 2.0, despite providing him with glucose in drinking water. They begged him to be transferred to a hospital, but he refused to be taken to any medical clinic. However, Abdulhadi consented to receiving an IV, and after this his blood sugar level rose to 11; it has stabilised this morning at 6. His blood pressure is at 80/55. He is suffering from a urinary track infection because of dehydration, and he has very little energy. The family requested an independent medical report from an Irish expert on these issues, and the full report can be found here.

30 August 2014 – 6th day hunger strike – Updates

AlKhawaja has called his wife today. His blood sugar dropped to 2 and his blood pressure reached 90/55. He took water with glucose and his blood sugar increased to 3.1. He was visited by an official from the ombudsman for not more than five minutes. The official asked AlKhawaja about the reason of his hunger strike and if he knows it’s dangerous on his life. Alkhawaja passed a request through his wife to all NGOs to support the case of the prisoners who are currently on hunger strike at the dry dock detention center in Bahrain.

Continue reading

Bangladesh Police Fire Tear Gas At Striking Garmet Workers

Bangladesh police have fired tear gas and stormed a garment factory where workers were staging a hunger strike over pay, a union official says.

The police, armed with batons, forced 400 workers to flee the factory in the capital Dhaka where they had been holding a 10-day strike to demand back pay and a holiday bonus, the official said.

Bangladesh’s garment industry, the world’s second largest, which supplies top Western retailers such as Wal-Mart and H&M, has a woeful history of poor pay and conditions for its four million workers.

“Police fired tear gas and baton charged us, they forced us out of the factory, where we were staging the hunger strike,” said Moshrefa Mishu, head of Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee, which represents 15 garment unions.

An AFP reporter at the scene saw workers running out of the factory crying due to the tear gas, while others were bleeding from head injuries.

Angry at the police action, the workers then took to the streets, vandalising cars and buses and prompting officers to fire more rounds of tear gas, the reporter said.

The workers have been on a hunger strike on behalf of 1,500 employees who stitch clothes in five factories belonging to the Tuba Group in Dhaka’s Badda district.

Continue reading

First Nation Protester Ends Hunger Strike

Steve Fobister Sr., an elder at Grassy Narrows First Nation suffering from mercury poisoning, ended his hunger strike on Wednesday morning.

Fobister announced the hunger strike at a news conference on Monday, in Toronto, stating that he hoped his protest would help to draw attention to the issue of mercury contamination in his community. The news conference called on the Ontario and Canadian governments to acknowledge that Grassy Narrows residents continue to suffer from mercury poisoning four decades after a Dryden paper mill dumped the toxin into the Wabigoon-English River system.

On Tuesday, Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs David Zimmer issued a statement expressing concern about Fobister’s health and promising to “champion a review of the Mercury Disability Board, to determine how best to help those with mercury-related health issues.” Grassy Narrows has said many mercury poisoning victims have been denied compensation, partly because the board is using 30-year-old science to determine who is affected and eligible for a claim.

Zimmer also said he “agreed the government would explore the options for more on-site treatment for Grassy Narrows First Nation residents” and that he would visit the community on August 6.

In a statement posted Wednesday on, a Grassy Narrows’ advocacy website, Fobister said he ended his hunger strike so he could “live and continue to fight for Grassy Narrows, for all aboriginal people, and for environmental justice.”

Continue reading

Dozens Of Palestinian Detainees On Hunger Strike Are Hospitalized

Sixty-eight Palestinians detained in Israel have been hospitalized after refusing food for almost five weeks, a spokeswoman for the Israel Prison Service said on Wednesday.

Participants in what has now grown into a mass hunger strike, they are protesting Israel’s practice of detention without charge or trial; at least 160 such administrative detainees are currently being held in Israeli prisons.

The spokeswoman, Sivan Weizman, said that the condition of the hunger strikers was not life-threatening at this point and that those who had been striking the longest had been put under supervision in nine hospitals around the country.

But the minister of prisoner affairs for the Palestinian Authority, Issa Qaraqe, described the situation as “very dangerous” and said the health of many prisoners was deteriorating.

“Most are vomiting blood and fainting,” Mr. Qaraqe told the official radio station Voice of Palestine on Wednesday. “They cannot walk, they are in terrible pain. We are afraid some will die if the situation continues.”

Up to 350 prisoners have by now joined the hunger strike, according to Palestinian representatives, and the number is expected to rise in the coming days.

Continue reading

Guantanamo Detainee Reveals Brutal Punishment Of Hunger Strikers

A prisoner in Guantánamo Bay has revealed to his lawyers the increasingly brutal punishment meted out to detainees peacefully protesting their indefinite detention via hunger strike.

Emad Hassan wrote in a letter to his lawyers:

“One Yemeni is 80 pounds and he was brought to his feeding by the Forced Cell Extraction (FCE) team, Guantánamo’s official riot police. Yesterday the F.C.E team beat him when they came into and out of his cell. He is 80 pounds with one broken arm. He cannot walk, just crawl from his bed to the faucet or toilet once he needs to use it! How can someone with this condition fight 8 armoured guards?”

Emad, himself a Yemeni who has been on hunger strike since 2007 and cleared for release from the prison since 2007, has never been charged with a crime. He said in another letter:

“As I write now, [a detainee] is vomiting on the torture chair, having been brought there by the Forced Cell Extraction (FCE) team. The nurse and corpsman have refused to stop the feed, or to slow the acceleration of the liquids.”

Continue reading

Guantánamo Protest at Korea Law Center Conference

Advocating “No War Criminals On Campus!” and “Shut Down Guantanamo, End U.S. Torture,” activists will demonstrate at the Korea Law Center’s Inaugural Conference, where John Yoo is among a day of speakers including high level Korean government officials and business representatives. As the Guantanamo prison camp remains open into its 13th year – and Obama’s promises to shutter it remain unkept — 154 men remain imprisoned there. Most of them have never been charged with a crime. 76 were cleared for release by the US government years ago, 56 of them Yemeni. Since the prisoner’s hunger strike of over one year ago which thrust Guantanamo back into world headlines, approximately 40 men continue this strike.

Continue reading

Immigration Hunger Strike Leader Deported In Middle Of Night

Yesterday I got a call from Manuel Martinez-Arambula, one of the leaders of the hunger strike inside the Joe Corley Detention center, from Mexico. Without his family’s or his community’s knowledge, he had been deported in the middle of the night, as retaliation for his leadership in the hunger strike. That night was also Manuel’s 50th birthday.

While Manuel was being forced into a deportation van, immigration officers lied to us, and told us he was only being moved to another detention center.

Manuel had spent his life in the U.S., having lived here since he was 8 years old. His wife is a legal permanent resident and he has a 13 year old daughter who is a US citizen. He is a civil rights leader who had been on hunger strike for 10 days, protesting the conditions inside the detention center. He is one more of over a dozen organizers who have already been deported.

Continue reading

Immigration Hunger Strikes Spread To Texas

After a massive hunger strike inside the Tacoma Detention Center reached its 11th day, detainees found their effort spreading to other facilities inspired by their demands. Last night at midnight, immigrants held at the Joe Corley Detention Center in Conroe, TX initiated their own fast in protest of their treatment at the facility run by the same company, the GEO Group, and as part of the nation-wide call for an end to deportations.

Immigrant rights activist Maru Mora Villalpando sees momentum building for reforms but expressed concern over the reaction of ICE and the GEO Group: “The hunger strikers are civil rights leaders taking a brave stand against inhumane treatment. At the Northwest Detention Center, GEO Group and ICE have retaliated by putting leaders in solitary confinement and threatening to force-feed others. With the strike spreading to Texas, it’s time for ICE and GEO Group to recognize the detainees’ demands instead of engaging in retaliation.”

Continue reading

Guantánamo Prisoner Launches Historic Legal Challenge to Force-Feeding Abuse

Until now, no court has been able to assess the legality of the methods used by the military to force-feed detainees at Guantánamo Bay. This case presents the first, historic opportunity for this to occur, following the federal court of appeals ruling last month recognizing the need for such a hearing.

Imad Abdullah Hasan v Barack Obama highlights the increasing brutality of the Guantánamo Bay force-feeding process, which the military has amended step-by-step to make it so painful that only the most courageous peaceful protester can continue. It will be the first case requiring a US judge to review a Guantánamo prisoner’s detailed testimony describing his treatment – and will force the military to respond.

Continue reading

Hundreds of Immigration Detainees On Hunger Strike in Washington State

The detainees, who have been refusing to eat since Friday, are demanding better food, saferworking conditions and for President Barack Obama to sign an executive order ending deportations, according to Maru Mora Villalpando, founder of Latino Advocacy.

The hunger strikers, Villalpando said, are part of a growing, nationwide campaign against the U.S. immigration policy. Villalpando put the number of hunger strikers at 1,200, more than twice what ICE reported to Al Jazeera.

The strike is expected to last through Tuesday, Villalpando said.

The center, which is run by the private correctional services company GEO Group, currently houses 1,300 people being investigated for possible deportation.

ICE told Al Jazeera that hunger strikers are under continuous observation by detention center staff and medical personnel: “ICE fully respects the rights of all people to express their opinion without interference.”

Continue reading

Hunger Strikes Continue At Guantanamo

Benjamin: We have been in touch with the families in Yemen, in fact we went and visited with some of them in June of last year and heard the agonizing stories of these families and the way that they would get their hopes up when their lawyers would give them news of things like they have been put on a list of cleared for release. But then their hopes have constantly been dashed.

And just like we talked about Shaker Aamer having a child that he has never met, so we met with a 12-year old girl who had never seen her father. She has been born while her father was in prison and she said that her father at that time was on a hunger strike and that he was so weak when he had a chance through the Red Cross to have a video conference with him, he could not even pick up his head.

Continue reading

Pelican Bay Prisoners Write UN Special Torture Rapporteur, Juan Méndez

Over 3500 prisoners remain isolated in California’s SHUs with almost no human interaction, little opportunity to exercise or even see the sun, and forbidden from contact visits or telephone calls with their families. They join thousands of others who are held in different forms of solitary confinement throughout the system. Prisoners are revalidated for indefinite terms on the basis of unconfirmed rumors, anonymous misinformation from debriefers and informants, and possession of criminalized books, articles, and art work. The only sure way out is to debrief and expose yourself to shame, further exploitation by prison officials, condemnation and violence.

Mr. Mendez, we ask that you join in our struggle. We would like you to testify at one of the upcoming Legislative hearings. We would like you to consider becoming an expert witness in our lawsuit

Continue reading

My Friend Todd Ashker: History Of A One-Sided Dialogue

The statement called on young people to “take the same mentality and skills we have used to hustle drugs, bang our hoods and promote our crews to unite in a powerful movement to demand dignity, respect and equality for all our people.”

Todd Ashker is a major mover in the movement for peaceful change in California’s prisons and on its streets. I think one could say the same of the other three men who develop and sign statements from the Short Corridor Collective, as well as many others who support them. There are similar people who are locked up in solitary confinement all across the United States. It is not just a violation of the Eighth Amendment to keep them there. It is a waste that we do not find a way to utilize and encourage the talents and energies of men like Todd Ashker. We as a people are poorer for it.

Continue reading