London ♥ Hana Shalabi

Solidarity with Palestinian political prisoner Hana Shalabi

Report by Bruce/Photos by Nancy K.

On Friday evening, 23 March, a vigil was held at Trafalgar Square to express solidarity with 30-year-old Palestinian political prisoner Hana Shalabi who has been on hunger strike since February 16th and is now at “immediate risk of death” after 40 days without food.

Hana, from Burqin near Jenin, spent 25 months in so-called Administrative Detention without being charged or tried and was released in October 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange deal for Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) soldier Gilad Shalit.

Four months later on February 16th, Hana (whose brother Samir was murdered by the IOF) was arrested again by the Israeli military and has been on hunger strike since.

Addameer, a Palestinian prisoner support NGO, reported that Hana was physically abused, threatened, held in solitary confinement, as well as sexually and emotionally humiliated.

Hana’s horrific experiences at the hands of the IOF are shared by the overwhelming majority of Israel’s political prisoners who are routinely arrested and held under ‘Administrative Detention’ by “The Most Moral Army in the World imprisoning detainees indefinitely in brutal conditions without charge or trial.

Outside the National Gallery overlooking Trafalgar Square, over 20 people assembled, some holding large pictures of Hana and others candles. Even though there were no speeches or chants, the vigil drew a great deal of attention and support from curious members of the public. Those present not just expressed concern over Hana’s brutal treatment, but also a desire to show their solidarity with all Palestinian political prisoners.

One banner read: ‘LONDON ♥ HANA SHALABI’ and members of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) also attended and displayed their banner.

“She’s a very brave and amazing lady” said one tourist – which was a sentiment shared by many that evening.

The vigil attracted the attention of the international media.

A member of the public reads the flyer (below) that was distributed.