Amneh Mounah, Political Prisoner in
8th Day of Hunger Strike in Israel
by Sam Hamod
November 6, 2003
Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association is gravely concerned for the health of Palestinian female prisoner Amneh Mounah, who has begun her eighth day of open ended hunger strike, protesting against physical attacks against her and her continued isolation. Addameer's lawyer, Adv. Mahmoud Hassan, was able to take a full account of the attack against Mounah during a visit on Thursday 30 October 2003, and able to see the physical effects of the attack. Mounah is suffering from extreme pain in her lower back, left hand, and eyes as a result of injuries sustained from the attack. She has to date not received adequate medical attention.
On the morning of Saturday 25 October 2003, Mounah was transferred from her cell at Ramleh Prison to an isolation cell within the same prison. After an hour of being in isolation, a number of prison guards came to her cell and told her to strip in order for them to search her. According to testimony given by Mounah, the prison guards gave her a choice, either she removed her clothes of her own free will, or they would bring a large force of guards to strip her. She refused to strip, particularly as there were male prison guards in the cell. The prison guard told her that they would make the male guards stand behind the door while she stripped, but she again refused.
The prison guards then left, but after an hour returned with a larger force of soldiers and prison guards, headed by "Asher", and began to physically assault Mounah, also forcing her to strip and attacking her with tear gas in the isolation cell. She suffered forceful blows to the waist, back and hands. According to Mounah's testimony, one of the guards, "Shabi", grabbed her by the throat and began to strangle her, at the same time screaming at her "You are a terrorist!" She began to lose consciousness, and also began to bleed from her mouth. At that point, Mounah felt someone pull "Shabi" away from her.
Three hours later, she was transferred to another isolation cell and given a sedative. She received no other medical attention. The prison director visited her in the isolation cell, informing her that she was to remain in isolation for 7 days, charging her that she had attacked 3 prison guards. On Sunday 26 October, Mounah began an open-ended hunger strike in protest of the attack and the conditions of her detention in isolation. On Monday 27 October, she was transferred to another isolation cell at the Ramleh Hospital, where she has also not received medical attention, and on Tuesday 28 October, she began refusing water.
The isolation cell in which she is being held at Ramleh hospital does not have a toilet, and in order for her to use the toilet or to bathe she must be taken out of the isolation cell in shackles. Mounah has refused to bathe while shackled, and was not allowed to bathe without the shackles until Wednesday 29 October.
In her testimony, Mounah also noted that 40 of the female prisoners held with her began a solidarity hunger strike in protest of the attack on Monday 27 October. Six women were subsequently placed in isolation, including 'Aishah 'Abeyat, 'Umayah Dammaj, Ra'eda Jadallah, Wasfiyeh Abu 'Ajamiyeh, Samar Bader and Su'ad Ghazal. Prison guards also attacked two of the female prisoners, 'Aishah' Abeyat and Su'ad Ghazal. As punishment, the prison administration confiscated television sets from the cell, mattresses and refused all 40 women canteen privileges in order to acquire basic necessities.
Addameer is gravely concerned for the well being of Amneh Mounah, particularly as she has not received medical treatment for her injuries and the fact that she remains in isolation despite her health conditions. Addameer strongly urges the international community to protest these conditions. Letters of protest and enquiries regarding the well being of Amneh Mounah may be addressed to:
Israel Prison Service
Fax: +972 8 921 0649
Attorney-General/Legal Advisor to the Government
Ministry of Justice
29 Salah al-Din Street
Jerusalem 91010, Israel
Fax: +972 2 6285438
(Department for International Agreements and International Litigation)
Fax: +972 3 6899792/758,
To query the Israeli Prison Service directly, contact:
Tel: +972 8 9776806
Professor Sam Hamod is an expert on the Middle East and Islam and has written widely on these areas. He is also the former Director of The Islamic Center of Washington, DC. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.