Today Ola Al-Qaradawi turns 56 years old. Instead of celebrating another milestone in her life with friends,family, and her grandchildren, Ola is being held in isolation for 24 hours a day. She is forcibly disconnected from the outside world and from her loved ones. What should be a joyous occasion has now become another reminder of Ola’s unjust suffering and abuse.
Ola and her husband, Hosam Khalaf, have been arbitrarily detained for 167 days since their arrest on June 30th 2017. They are both detained in extremely poor prison conditions. Prison authorities placed Ola in a small cell, the size of a broom closet, approximately 5 feet by 5 feet in size, that lacks sufficient ventilation and lighting. Her cell does not contain a bed nor a toilet. Prison guards allow her only five minutes every morning to use an external toilet. She finds herself compelled to reduce her food intake to avoid the need to go to the toilet. Unlike other inmates, she is denied time outside her cell.
“It breaks my heart that my mom is in such horrific conditions in violation of her most basic human rights, particularly on her birthday. I try not to think about this and to focus on fighting for her freedom, speaking out, and bringing her home to me and the kids,” says Aayah Khalaf, her eldest daughter based in Seattle, Washington.
According to the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Mandela Rules), prolonged solitary confinement can amount to torture or other ill-treatment and must not be imposed under any circumstances.
Ola and Hosam’s family continue to pray for her safety and health. They call on the international community to intervene and demand their immediate release.
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