Geneva - The Palestinian Authority (PA) must immediately release the six Palestinian prisoners held in its Beitunia jail in southern Ramallah, says the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor. The youth launched a hunger strike August 28 after five months of detention without any charges or trial.

   The court in the West Bank has extended their detention three times since May under the pretext of completing an investigation   


The PA's intelligence agency has held Haitham Siyaj,19; Mohammed Harb, 23; Basil Al-Araj, 23; Saif Al-Iddressi, 26; Mohammed Al-Salameen,19: and Ali Dar-Alsheikh, 21, since April. They are residents of different towns in the West Bank and did not know each other before their detention; the one characteristic they have in common is their opposition to the governing PA. 

The official spokesperson for the PA claimed the authority is holding the young men to “protect” them from Israeli arrest, and added that the security forces are “subject to severe oversight and penalties are imposed on those who violate the laws.” However, the young men have been treated harshly. The youths’ families report the boys have been moved from one detention center to another and have been tortured. Solitary confinement was used to induce forced confessions. Ever since launching their hunger strike, the youth have been kept in inhumane living conditions that are not suitable for humans, including confinement in rooms too small to comfortably sleep; deprived of even a blanket except between midnight and 8 a.m., and prohibited from all family contact.

Several of the youth suffer from heart and other health problems; although the PA intelligence agency is aware of their conditions, the young men have nevertheless received no special care.

“The court in the West Bank has extended their detention three times since May under the pretext of completing an investigation,” says Sandra Owen, spokesperson for the Geneva-based Euro-Med Monitor. "The arrest of Palestinians without charge and without presenting a warrant is a clear violation of international conventions; it also contradicts the Palestinian Authority's obligations under local and human rights law."

The Palestinian basic law stipulates in article 11 that it is "inadmissible to arrest, inspect, detain or restrict anyone's freedom of movement except by judicial order in accordance with the provisions of the law."

The Palestinian authorities must release the young detainees and adhere to the guarantee of a fair trial and humane treatment,” states Owen.