Detainees announce hunger strike to mark Prisoners’ Day

April 16, 2011

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinians detained in Israeli jails announced that they will commemorate Prisoners’ Day on Sunday by declaring a one-day hunger strike.

The strike was a symbolic action to draw attention to the violations and abuse carried out against Palestinian political prisoners and their families, detainees said.

Prisoners were also planning an open hunger strike,including prisoners from all factions, to address the issues of sick prisoners and those in solitary confinement. Prisoners sought to highlight the suffering of relatives forced to pass military checkpoints to see detained family members, as well as those denied permission to visit imprisoned relatives, letters from detainees said.

They also appealed for an end to the internal Palestinian division between Hamas and Fatah and for the Palestinian homeland to be built on a democratic consensus.

Ahead of Prisoners’ Day, rally was held Saturday in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday, attended by many Palestinian factions. Demonstrators carried Palestinian flags and photos of political prisoners, and called for detainees’ just demands for freedom to be supported.

Fatah Central Committee member Sultan Abu Al-Ei’nein said peace could not be achieved until detainees were freed.

Palestinian Authority Prisoners’ Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqe said peace was meaningless without the freedom of political prisoners.

Qaraqe urged international rights organizations to come to the Palestinian territories to investigate Israel’s crimes against Palestinians and its disregard for international and humanitarian laws.

The minister said the detainees’ suffering must be highlighted so the international community would pressure Israel to comply with laws in place to protect prisoners.

Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, said the message of the prisoners was clear: they wanted an end to the national division.

Hurriyet prisoners’ center called on all Palestinians to unite to work toward the release of all prisoners from Isreal’s jails.

“There are hundreds of long-term prisoners and over 1,000 sick prisoners in Israeli jails, more than 160 of whom are in critical condition and suffering from medical negligence. This is a blunt violation of basic rights yet the Israeli government is still ignoring appeals, demands and international resolutions,” the center said in a statement.

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