Below is an English translation of a letter from Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed, on hunger strike for 48 days in a row, demanding the abolition of his administrative detention. Bilal Kayed is currently held in “Barzillai” hospital in Askelan due to the deterioration in his health. (Askelan is a Palestinian city north of Gaza. It was renamed after its occupation and ethnic cleansing in 1948 to Ashkelon.)
Kayed, 34, has been on hunger strike since 15 June. Arrested in 2001, he completed his 14.5-year sentence in Israeli prison on 13 June. Instead of being released as scheduled to meet his family waiting for him at an Israeli occupation military checkpoint, he was ordered to an indefinitely-renewable six months in administrative detention without charge or trial. He launched his hunger strike to demand his immediate release from detention. Dozens of fellow Palestinian prisoners have joined an open hunger strike and a series of protests to demand Kayed’s freedom. His case represents a dangerous precedent for all Palestinian prisoners of indefinite imprisonment without charge or trial after the completion of lengthy sentences.
To the masses of our heroic people,
To all freedom loving people of the world in all corners of Earth,
I currently pass a difficult period on a personal level in a war that I declared against the attempts by the brutal occupation to subjugate me. The occupiers decided to liquidate me only because I was standing next to the prisoners of my people, an advocate for my and their right and the right of our families for minimal humane conditions and dignity. It is no surprise that I found myself with my people all gathering around me raising their voice and standing together in their tireless attempts to remove the injustices suffered by me and by prisoners of war like me.
This is in line with the patriotic consciousness that developed among you and among freedom loving people wherever they are, in the West Bank revolting in the face of oppression, between the Palestinians “Inside”, proud and deep-rooted and adhering to their identity, among our heroic people in victorious Gaza, and all over the world with all the people struggling for freedom from all nationalities and categories.
Today I announce here the end of the first phase in my struggle with this oppressive occupier, and announce the beginning of the second phase, which will focus on the unity with all prisoners from all categories and all parties, to become together the spearhead of the patriotic struggle inside the prisons and outside them.
After the decision came from the military court of occupation (as was expected), ignoring my right to freedom and dignified life, it is essential that there will be a response from me, befitting this brutal decision. For this reason, starting today, August 1, 2016, I will avoid dealing with any medical tests proposed to me by the doctors in the hospital and ask to return immediately to prison, despite the deterioration of my health. I will ask to stand in a row in the cells of the occupation prisons, along with all the prisoners rebelling and raising their voice.
Your decision will not pass easily, especially as the occupation’s decision to put me in administratively detention crossed another, more dangerous, red line. This policy aims to liquidate all the leaders and cadres of the prisoners’ movement, and those raising its banners, and the defenders of the right of prisoners to freedom and to live in dignity.
My heroic people, the hour of struggle has come. I’m full of hope, as I always promised you, that you will be our protecting wall and will support our struggle. What I hear about your struggles, demonstrations the protests gives me more resolve and determination to move forward until victory, either through freedom or martyrdom.
We are inevitably victorious
Detainee Bilal Kayed
Barzillai hospital, “Askelan”
August 1, 2016