The Colwyn Bay branch of Amnesty International and the Conwy County Peace Group led a discussion on Palestine and the Arab Spring, in July 2011. Contributors to the Event included Professor Suzanne Linton of Bangor University International Law Department, Hilary Browne of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, who spoke about her experiences in the Occupied Territories, and Shimri Zamaret, an Israeli Human Rights campaigner who had spent two years in an Israeli jail for refusing the draft.
The regular monthly meetings of the group have recently included a briefing on the treatment of Palestinian minors, who have been arrested and detained in Israeli jails. This was followed up by a briefing on ‘Children in Military Custody’ a report written by a delegation of British Lawyers on ‘the treatment of Palestinian children under Israeli military law’.
More recently letters have been written to the relevant Israeli authorities and to the Israeli Embassy in London regarding the inhumane and degrading treatment of Hassan Safadi and Samer al-Barq, who have been held without trial at Ramleh prison since June 2011 and May 2010 respectively and have recently resumed their hunger strikes following the renewal of their administrative detention orders. They had previously been on hunger strike, along with many other Palestinian prisoners, in protest at poor prison conditions, being held in solitary confinement and in being detained without charge. Both men have been repeatedly beaten and verbally abused during searches of their room at the IPS Medical Centre in Ramleh prison. This treatment appears to be deliberate harassment and humiliation by IPS guards as a punishment for the resumption of their hunger strikes. We have called for both men to be treated humanely, not to be shackled and not to be punished for going on hunger strike. We have also called for a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the reports of ill-treatment of the two men and for Samer al-Barq, who is reportedly in very poor health, to be provided with appropriate medical treatment by a doctor of his choice or his immediate transfer to a civilian hospital with specialised facilities to provide the required treatment .