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UF students stand in solidarity with Samer Issawi!

By Skye Schmelzer

Palestine solidarity activists create a line to obstruct the flow of foot traffi

Gainesville, FL – On March 21, Palestine solidarity activists came together on the University of Florida campus to protest inhumane Israeli prison conditions and the mistreatment of political prisoner Samer Issawi. In the middle of a 24-hour solidarity hunger strike, students sat in the center of Turlington plaza with blindfolds over their eyes and duct tape over their mouths.

“We are here in solidarity with Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi to demand an end to his unjust confinement in Israeli prison,” stated Farah Khan, an organizer with the University of Florida chapter of Students for a Democratic Society and UF Students for Justice in Palestine. Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi has been on a protracted hunger strike. Two weeks ago, he began refusing water.

Rami Okasha, vice president of UF Students for Justice in Palestine noted, “Samer Issawi is not just protesting his own treatment. Both his brother and his sister have been detained before. He, like other strikers past and present, is on hunger strike for all Palestinian political prisoners. Rather than people – especially here in the United States – criticizing Palestinians for violence, while ignoring Israel’s acts of aggression, they should start recognizing these extreme acts of non-violence and courage.”

In violation of international law, Issawi has experienced psychological torture and up to 22 hours per day of interrogation. He has also been denied a lawyer for many days at a time. No evidence has come to light justifying Issawi’s imprisonment. Evidence of abuse and torture, however, can be seen from the bruises on his body.

Students for a Democratic Society organizer Conor Munro stated, “Political prisoners like Samer Issawi are making huge sacrifices for the Palestinian cause. We need to stand in solidarity with them and with those targeted by repression in our own country.”

As of March 21, Samer Issawi remains in confinement under Israeli jurisdiction.

The UF chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine organized this action as one of many during their “Palestine Solidarity Month.” For more information about UF SJP, please visit their facebook page at:

Students hold signs stating that the, "Number of Palestinian Political Prisoners

The University of Florida stands in solidarity with Samer Issawi.

SJP member Eric Brown holds a sign in solidarity with Samer Issawi.

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