Palestinian Prisoners Day

April 17th marks the Palestinian Prisoners Day, a day in commemoration of the Palestinians who are currently held in Israeli prisons. No less than 221 of them are children and 798 of them are serving life sentences.

Israel receives huge global publicity for Gilad Shalit, the sole Israeli prisoner that is currently held in Palestine, while the world remains largely silent about thousands of Palestinians that are incarcerated in Israel everyday. They and their families remain anonymous and lifeless in the Western media and political circles, despite the huge number of people affected.

Because Gazan prisoners are denied family visits, they also have restricted access to basic necessities in detention facilities – such as clothing and money. Lawyers are prohibited from transferring money to a prisoner and the Israeli Prisoners’ Service insists that only relatives may transfer money, which is obviously impossible. One former Palestinian prisoner had this to say to Press TV:

Palestinian rights groups have long insisted that the prisoners are subjected to mistreatment and torture in Israeli detention facilities and that almost half of those arrested before the 1993 Oslo Agreement have been in Israeli jails for more than 20 years.

There are also some prisoners kept in solitary confinement. Palestinian sources also say some of them have been subjected to solitary confinement for more than five years.

Currently there are at least 8000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails according to the prisoner advocacy groups, many without being charged or facing trial, and in stark violation of the Geneva Convention.

Ashraf Shannon

Press TV, Gaza

March 30, 2011

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