Monday, 15 June 2015

Israel cabinet approves bill to force feed prisoners


JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli ministers approved a bill Sunday that would allow prisoners on hunger strike to be force fed if their life is in danger, sparking criticism from health experts and rights groups.

The cabinet's endorsement of the controversial bill was led by Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who said that prisoners observing a hunger strike, namely Palestinians, pose a "threat" to Israel.

"Alongside attempts to boycott and delegitimize Israel, hunger strikes of terrorists in prisons have become a means to threaten Israel," Erdan said on his Facebook page.

The same bill was approved by the Israeli government last year and sent to parliament for debate but the Knesset was dissolved before it could start deliberating.

The bill was initially approved in June 2014 at the height of a mass hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners during which 80 were hospitalized.

Chairman of the Israeli Medical Association, Leonid Eidelman, slammed the bill, saying force feeding prisoners against their will is "unethical".

In a letter addressed to Erdan and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Eidelman also insisted that the IMA would "order doctors to act solely according to the rules of ethics, and not feed or nourish hunger strikers against their will." The Association for Civil Rights in Israel stressed that force feeding was forbidden. more

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