Monday, September 27, 2010

Prisoners' Families in Gaza Hold a Sit-In to Support Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Jails

The sit-in was held at the Unknown Soldier memorial site location in Gaza and was attended by Palestinian prisoners' families and hundreds of people.

Report by Ashraf Shanon
Press TV - Gaza

Detainees in Israeli jails announce hunger strike
Published Saturday 25/09/2010 (updated) 27/09/2010 09:03

Source: Maan News Agency

HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli jails announced a hunger strike on Saturday to protest prison conditions.

The strike was in response to abuse by Israeli guards and the escalation of arbitrary procedures carried out by the Israeli prison administration, a statement from the Prisoners' Society said.

Head of the society's Hebron branch Amjad An-Najjar said events would be organized in solidarity with detainees. Prisoners' relatives would hold a sit-in outside the Red Cross office in Hebron on Sunday, he said, which Minister for Detainees' Affairs Issa Qaraqe and national head of the prisoners' society Qadura Fares would attend.

"We are looking forward to a wide range of participation in Sunday’s events held in solidarity with prisoners," An-Najjar said, adding that activities would continue until prisoners were released.

The Ministry of Detainees' Affairs said that as of September Israel was detaining almost 7,000 Palestinian prisoners in 22 prisons and interrogation centers.

The ministry's report said 103 prisoners had died inside Israeli jails due to medical negligence, torture, and assaults by Israeli guards, who in some instances fired live ammunition at detainees.

The report said 4,847 prisoners had been sentenced, 792 to life imprisonment, while 806 detainees were awaiting trial. The Israeli intelligence service is detaining a further 164 prisoners in interrogation centers, the report added.

According to the ministry, Israel is holding 199 Palestinians in administrative detention, a procedure established under Israeli military order 1591 that allows the Israeli military to hold detainees indefinitely on secret evidence without charging them or allowing them to stand trial.

Under the provision, individuals can be held for a period of up to six months without charge. The term is indefinitely renewable. Hasan Zahi As'ad As-Safadi, 32, from Nablus, has been held in administrative detention since June 2007, and two minors are currently being administratively detained, the ministry said.

Israeli peace group B'Tselem has said Israel's use of administrative detention "blatantly violates" international law and is "carried out under the thick cover of privilege."

The rights group called on the Israeli government "to release all administrative detainees or prosecute them, in accordance with due process, for the offenses they allegedly committed.

"As long as Israel continues to use administrative detention, it must do so in a way that comports with international law – only in the most exceptional cases, when there is no other alternative, and in a proportionate manner."

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