Thursday, April 21, 2011

Journalist Yousef Al Helou speaks at Palestinian Prisoners' Day - Dublin 17th April 2011

Journalist Yousef Al Helou speaks at Palestinian Prisoners' Day - Dublin 17th April 2011:

"IrelandPSC on Apr 17, 2011

On Sunday April 17th at 2pm the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) marked Palestinian Prisoners Day with a demonstration at the Spire in O'Connell St, Dublin.

The demonstration called for the release of all Palestinian political prisoners imprisoned by the Israeli State - those 'convicted' in Israeli Military courts and those interned without trial under the 'Administrative Detention' regime. This year there was a special focus on the issue of child prisoners - of which there are currently 216 (45 under the age of 16) being held in Israeli jails.[1]

The IPSC called this demonstration - as part of the international activities taking place on Palestinian Prisoners Day 2010 - as we believe that all Palestinian political prisoners are victims of Israeli colonialism and apartheid. We therefore demand the release of all political prisoners held by the Israeli state.

Some facts from 'Defence For Children International - Palestine'

* Israel currently hold 216 Palestinian children in prison. Of these, 45 are under the age of 16.

* Each year, approx 700 Palestinian children (some as young as 12) are arrested, interrogated and prosecuted by Israeli military courts

* Children are frequently threatened and physically assaulted during interrogation often resulting in coerced confessions. According to Amnesty, 'torture and other ill-treatment continue to be [widely] carried out' in Israeli prisons.

*Child prisoners are held in inhumane conditions of detention either made to live in overcrowded and filthy cells or placed in small solitary confinement cells

* Since 2000, some 7,000 Palestinian children have been detained and prosecuted by Israel

* In the past decade, 1,452 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli occupation forces.

Palestinian Prisoners - The Grim Reality

According to ADDAMEER, the Palestinian Prisoners' Rights NGO, at present over 5,770 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by the Israeli state for resisting Israeli colonialism, Apartheid and oppression. Of those, 216 are children, 37 are women, 12 are elected Palestinian representatives and over 200 are 'Administrative Detainees' - that is they have been interned without trial not having been charged with any crime or seeing the secret evidence against them. Those 'convicted' prisoners were jailed by non-jury Israeli Military Courts (all Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are subject to Israeli military law, while Israel's colonial settlers are ruled by Israeli civil law - yet another example Israel's Apartheid system). These courts, biased from the outset, do not meet international fair trial standards.[2]

Over four decades of illegal Israeli military occupation, Palestinians from all walks of life have been illegally detained by Israel. Since the beginning of the occupation in 1967, over 650,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel. This forms approximately 20% of the total Palestinian population in the OPT. Considering the fact that the majority of those detained are male, the number of Palestinians detained forms approximately 40% of the total male Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

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