Israel to Barghouti’s Lawyer: You Can See Him if You Don’t Represent Other Palestinians

Attorney Abeer Baker says Israel Prison Service is afraid co-leader of hunger strike in Israeli jails will use her to pass messages to other prisoners

Demonstrators protesting outside Kishon Prison, near Haifa, where Marwan Barghouti is being held, April 2017.
Rami Shllush

The Israel Prison Service will only allow the lawyer of Palestinian prisoner Marwan Barghouti to meet her client if she agrees not to represent any other prisoners participating in the current hunger strike. Abeer Baker says the IPS is afraid Barghouti will try to send messages to other prisoners through her.

Barghouti is one of the leaders of the hunger strike by some 1,200 Palestinian security prisoners, mostly Fatah members, which began on April 17. They are demanding additional privileges, including more public telephones on prison cellblocks and more family visits.

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Baker requested a visit with Barghouti, based on the agreement reached in the High Court of Justice on Wednesday, when the government agreed to reinstate lawyer-visitation rights to hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners.

Baker asked to see Barghouti in Kishon Prison, near Haifa, where he has been held in solitary confinement for over two weeks. She was surprised by the IPS demand that made the visit conditional on her not representing any other hunger-striking prisoners.

Baker called it “a sweeping decision that violates the freedom of occupation of the lawyer, without any legal authorization.”

Another leader of the strike, Kareem Younis, said Thursday that no serious negotiations were held with the hunger strikers until this week. He was speaking through his lawyer and brother, Tamim Younis.

The hunger strikers expect more developments in the next few days when the hunger strike intensifies. Tamim Younis said the prisoners are extremely interested in Palestinian public opinion and to what extent it will lead to pressure being put on the Israeli authorities.

Lawyer Abeer Baker in 2011.
Abdullah Shama

“Kareem promised that the prisoners will not end the strike until their demands are met,” Tamim Younis added.

Also Thursday, a number of Palestinian security prisoners who are not members of Fatah joined the strike, including the secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Sa’adat, and a number of senior Hamas prisoners, including Hassan Salameh.