Al-Mezan: Bodies should not be used as bargaining chips

[ 07/07/2011 – 09:35 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)– Palestinian organizations have criticized Israel for backing out of handing over 86 corpses of Palestinian martyrs, saying the corpses must not be used as bargaining chips.

Israeli military minister Ehud Barak stopped the transfer after realizing that the corpses could be used to bargain for the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit.

Israel has been holding some 334 bodies of Palestinian combatants in graveyards known as the Cemeteries of Numbers, because the simple graves are only marked by numbers which correspond to files the Israeli occupation holds on those martyrs.

Al-Mezan center for human rights in Gaza said the holding of the bodies was a breach in international law and human rights standards, and added the Fourth Geneva Convention provides that prisoners of war should be buried according to their religious rites.

The group added that, as soon as conditions allow, adequate data must be provided on the deceased, and their graves must be protected and access must be granted to the families who wish to visit, and the remains and personal belongings should be returned to their homelands.

Al-Mezan center has been active in seeking the bodies of the return of Gaza Strip’s martyrs and has filed petitions for that at the Israeli Supreme Court.

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